I’ve been sharing out some of the data from a grade-level survey that I did with my students around their perceptions and use of technology and digital media. I’ve talked about how much time and what they do with that time, and also, I’ve shared out how many of my students use Facebook and Instagram. Today, I want to share out their views and experiences around online safety and cyberbullying. All of these topics will be part of our class discussions this week as part of our work around Digital Learning Day.
This topic of safety is one that often falls below many of our radar screens until something has gone too far for the kids to deal with. I was curious if adults in their lives have talked about the issue of how to be safe when in an online space and what to do if the tone turns negative and maybe even threatening. I was pleased to see that about three-quarters of the students reported that they have had those kinds of conversations before with a teacher or parent.
In looking at their narrative experiences, you can see that the line between other just being annoying and being threatening is very vague for my students (and, let’s be honest, for many adults). When a student says that another person writing in Spanish or “liking” a picture on a site that encourages that, they may be reading more into the activity than is there. But when a student says that there are too many incidents to even count, that is a cause for concern, I think.
I also wanted to know if they had experienced this negativity in online spaces, and about one-third said they had.
Next, I asked, if they said “yes” to that last question, what was the incident, and was it resolved? Here are some of their answers:
- Some creep “liked” my pictures and I blocked him.
- People being mean.
- Someone didn’t care about the Newtown ct. shooting so a big fight broke out on Instagram and the person who didn’t care had so many people against him, he just stopped typing. The guy was swearing a lot.
- It is not really a problem people post pictures that say this girl died and if you don’t re-post you will be next.
- Cyberbullying. I resolved it by going to a counselor.
- People swear at you and it has not resolved.
- I re-posted some of a girl’s pictures (what you are supposed to do and she said that I was “taking all her pics”) so I unfollowed her and yes it did work.
- A rude message was left for me in Minecraft and it did not get fixed.
- It was not resolved but someone kept calling me really bad things.
- Someone was talking Spanish, asked to stop, and they said something in Spanish.
- On fantage.com while I was playing (virtual world) and someone said those clothes you are wearing (on my character) are ugly. What I just did is clicked on them and then I reported them.
- Well, I don’t know how many negative experiences I’ve had online. There are too many to count.
- The people swear at you.
- Teenagers on Xbox live mocking my gaming abilities.
- People call me names on Xbox Live.
- Me and a person got into a really big fight. We have really never talk ever again.
- I saw an inappropriate and got it blocked from YouTube.
One of the areas I will be addressing this week is privacy settings and letting them know there are ways to report bad behavior of other users to most online sites. I’ll also be reminding them that they have supportive adults at home and in school who they can turn to for help in situations that seem to be careening out of control.
Peace (in the sharing),