Students Take on Cyberbullying (8 min)
Speaking and Listening
Nov 1, 2011
For the students that attend watching hill's high school, these hallways, classrooms, and sports fields are the hub of their daily activities, and their social world. But there is another social world that is hidden from view. A sometimes perilous online world where interactions are public, but commons can be anonymous. One 6th grade, there was this really in a tip like bad rumor going around about me. And this was before like cyberbullying, it was like such a big deal. It was like no one really knew the consequences. No one really realized is like even like a little since they did, they hurt me so bad. I actually I stayed home that day from school. I was so scared. I was like crying the whole day. Before a cyber bullying, the victims of bullying would be able to go home and they would have that safety in their homes. Now they go home and it starts all over again when they're on instant messaging or even if they have their phone and someone's texting them and it never stops them and that's why it's so serious. Well, people stand up for those people that are being made fun of on Facebook or other people don't people don't comment to stick up for the person that's being denigrated in some way. Interesting. Why do you think that is? If it's online, why doesn't anybody say, hey, what's wrong with you? You're writing something that's killing someone inside. Our Friends are Facebook aren't really our closest friends. They're like acquaintances so you don't always have that safety in numbers because although your friends just say a hundred people probably only like 5 of them are actually your closest friends that would stand up with you. On the Internet, the words are forever. You can't take them back. So if you stand up, you're always going to be known as the person who's stood up. It's almost more intimidating to stand up because everybody can see it. What I found really interesting was the discussion. They were willing to stand up and stand up in a group of people to confront one on one, but then once it became online, it became more anonymous that they were afraid to say something because once you put it in writing, it's out there for everyone to see it. There's almost two separate worlds that they're participating. One week earlier, this class, along with most of the watching hill student body, attended a presentation given by Monmouth county detective Dave D'amico I'm a police officer. Responsible for the investigation of bias incidents and biased crimes. I also have the awesome opportunity to go and publicly speak about how to reduce biosensing crimes so that young adults don't find themselves in trouble and they understand the consequences that that behavior. This presentation is going to be real. Let's not sugarcoat it. Let's talk about it. Let's talk about what's happening when it comes to bias based bullying on the Internet. Now I got to tell you this, I went on Facebook and I infiltrated your Facebook last night. And some of you trusted me, some of you friended me. And the ones that did, I got to see everything about you. But there was something else going on on Facebook last night. The kind of disturbed me, one male, commented on another male's picture, and the comments they said, oh, you are so gay, you're such a fag. Is that on Facebook? Girls, one girl posted on another girl's picture. You look like such a slut, you're such a Ho. Is that how Facebook? Aha. Detective D'amico, he talked about how comments like that are thrown around so lightly by friends too, but nobody knows the magnitude that those words have. And he really tried to emphasize that he said hate groups start by finding people who have those types of comments on their facebooks. So you really have to think about it at a higher level. The way that he said it, people were like, I friended that person last night. I friended that person. I could be at risk for saying something stupid that I don't even mean to one of my friends. And I could be at risk of joining a hate group. And people, people look at that and they're like, I don't want that to define me. I don't want people to know me like that. I know we're all guilty of saying something we shouldn't have said, or not saying anything. If you don't have enough courage to say to someone, to their face, to say it and mean it, then you really have no right at all to say it. You have to be willing to accept the consequences. If you're anonymous, it means that you're terrified of being known as the person who said that. Recently, actually one of my pictures, someone else tagged with derogatory names of two of my friends, and it was obviously supposed to be joking, but you don't put that kind of stuff online. So I untagged those tags and I defriended that person on Facebook and I don't want those kind of people having access to my information and sometimes you just have to make the decision to not allow those people into your life. My table came up with the idea to really implement the usage of social networking and Facebook and the Internet to get our point across about accepting everybody and all getting along. The revolution in Egypt started over YouTube and Twitter and Facebook. So I think if everybody works together to kind of want to eradicate the intolerance going on in our own school, I think that it can really be accomplished. I think it's a great idea what you're saying 'cause even if only two people post it like I'm always said, I mean, they probably have some mutual friends, but they've also have a wide variety of Friends too. So they might have friends in California who might post it, which then starts to chain reaction in California, then it could spread to all these states. Another idea is just to actually create a watch on hills tolerance group on Facebook. And you can invite other people to see it. Is that something you could see yourself starting with a challenge for you is who is going to be the individual or the people within the group that take that next step. I think it relates back to the idea of how do you move a bystander to become an upstander. It's great. We can talk about all of this. It's like, how are you going to make a change? And I think they agreed to, you challenge them on it today to take the first step and we'll post it. Students took to their Facebook pages that evening, posting positive status updates and creating a new tolerance group for their school. I'm really really optimistic about this. It's amazing how much a simple tweet, a simple text message, a simple status update. You can do to help change the world. You're talking about like a ripple effect and if every student is just a drop of water in a pool, one drop makes a ripple. Thank you very much. The most important idea when we talk proactively about biosynthesis and bias crimes is don't let it happen in front of it. And if it does happen in front of them, do something to stop it. Don't be a bystander. Don't walk away ignore it. Face this challenge head on.