Friday, February 21, 2014

The Role of Technology Educators in Addressing Cyberbullying

Many cases of cyberbullying result from a lack of technology skills or Internet literacy skills. Students either fail to, or don’t know how to, use security tools and practices, protect their personal information, and accounts or understand the consequences of their tech actions.

They think that they are anonymous online. They don’t realize how long what they post online stays online. Caching and archiving are beyond their understanding. And without knowing how Google and other search tools find and digest things online, they can’t appreciate what damage they can do with a few careless clicks of the mouse.

Who will teach these skills? Technology educators, that’s who!

Students are sitting ducks for cyberbullies and everything else that can go wrong online if they don’t know how to use some cyber self-defense. Their passwords are easy to guess or hard to remember. They share them with anyone who asks, except their parents. They rely on unreliable information, found on whacky websites. 

They download spyware, malware, and malicious code. They give away their and their parents’ information to anyone who promises to give them an iPod for catching the jumping frog. They share information with someone who seems nice online, and believe that cute 14-year-olds really are what and who they say they are.

Eighteen percent believe that they have closer friends online than off. 

Thirty-four percent believe that an online friend can be as good a friend as someone they know in real life. 

Seventeen percent are meeting people in real life that they had only known online. 

Eighty-five percent have reported being cyberbullied and 70% have reported cyberbullying others.

They are often gullible, careless, and clueless. The technology teacher coupled with the librarian and library media specialist have to set them straight.

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