So many people are doing good work to address cyberbullying. And, they rarely talk to each other. Each solution works from that stakeholder's perspective. Law enforcement approaches work for law enforcement. Alternative justice programs work for social workers. Educational programs work for schools, etc. The list goes on and on.
But for solutions to cyberbullying to be effective, they must work across all digital technologies, they must address at least one of the types of cyberbullying and motivations behind cyberbullying and they have to include the feedback of kids and teens.
There are two big problems we have seen - no one thinks about other perspectives and no one includes the voices of youth. Unless this changes, all solutions will fail.
In Prince Edward Island, people know their neighbors. They know people from across the Island. They have strong, but similar opinions about cyberbullying, kindness and self-respect. They are creating wonderful initiatives within their industry/silo, as well.
At @youthsummitpei on Nov 9th, we will be bringing all stakeholders together to explore cross-perspective solutions. And the young students (from 4th - 12th grade) will help us do that.
Not all experts can talk to kids. Some "dumb it down" too much and the kids tune them out.Others talk to them exactly the same way they talk to adult professionals in the field, and put them to sleep. These experts will be opening kids' eyes to new approaches and viewpoints. They will empower, inspire and inform them. They will see connections and help youth see them too. And they will be able to answer hard questions posed by the students in clear ways. No easy. Not for the faint of heart. But crucial if we are going to forge solutions to an ever-changing cyberbullying climate.
I have included the leaders in this issue, worldwide. I have included law enforcement officers who "get it" and are comfortable working with youth. We have educational experts, local and international, who understand about engaging youth and project learning. We have industry leaders and policymakers, who understand the scope of the issue and what hasn't worked in the past and what shows promise. We have health and wellness professionals who understand the emotional and physical costs of cyberbullying. I have brought them to the table to help them cross-boundaries.Their ideas need cross-fertilization. They need a shot of those most familiar with the problem - kids themselves.
Cross your fingers. Fasten your seatbelts. We are in for a rocky but thrilling ride. To learn more about the international stopcyberbullying youth summit in Prince Edward Island, Canada on Nov 9th, visit stopcyberbullying.org.