These are my notes from a presentation by Terri Pulley of Putnam City Schools at OTA 2008 titled “Cyberbullying: How to Deal with Hi-Tech Harrassment.” MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

“happy slapping” are videos of student fights
– used to be very common to find on YouTube, now these are being blocked out of YouTube

google yourself from time to time and check what is out there

what’s the big deal?
– it’s here because we interact digitally so much more
– we have to teach our kids what is appropriate

How cyberbullying works
– it is all about power, the imbalance and abuse of power
– it is not a personality conflict, it is ABUSE

3 criteria for cyberbullying
– harm: the bully intends physical or emotional harm to the victim
– unfair match: the victim cannot fairly defend him/herself
– repeated: the incident occurs more than once

MY QUESTION: IS THIS THE CRITERIA UNDER OKLAHOMA STATE LAW? TERRI PULLEY WAS NOT SURE

we don’t have a cyberbullying law here in Oklahoma

27% of teenagers are cyberbullies
– poor relationships with parents
– 6% bully or harass online frequently
– important for parents to be involved
– 30% of teens being cyberbullyied will not tell an adult

Reference given was: (I don’t think this will resolve correctly)
www.govetech.com/gt/print_article

we need to offer courses on cyberbullying for our parents and kids
– this needs to start at a young age

Cox Communications and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and John Walsh
– 85% of incidents occur when youth at at home
– 44% of cases, children are harassed by their peers

What has changed
– new methods of cyberbullying
– high tech tools provide easy access
– cell phones, webcams, video hosting sites, virtual worlds, and, and online video games consoles

video hosting sites: kids will make these videos
– it is unimaginable the things kids can do with these video hosting sites

the abuse may start up when our kids are playing interactive online games

social networking sits: younger users using sites such as Bebo and Piczo

a lot of gang activity is out there on Bebo
– in Putnam City schools: we’ve had cases where Warr Acres policy and Putnum City police have found info on Bebo and that has led to some prosecutions
– had a situation with some kids in a gang, Putnam City police found a photo of six students in the distict, well known in the district for being in a gang, posing with semi-automatic weapons

21st Century Tools
– WebKinz
– Club Penguin
– YouTube
– VoiceThread
– MySpace and Facebook

NO MENTION OF THINK.COM, IMBEE.COM OR MOODLE USED IN A WALLED-GARDEN SOCIAL NETWORKING CONTEXT

I’ve talked to several parents who have learned a lot with their kids using WebKinz

Is a TeacherTube

Kids seem to have moved out of Xanga and moved into MySpace

Blogs: can put comments and pictures on social-networking sites, an dsetting up fake profiles on others
– as of March 2007, 71% of teens have created online profiles, 47% are public profiles
– this is up 61% in 2006

NO MENTION OF HOW BLOGS CAN BE USED FOR POSITIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE PURPOSES. AS IN OTHER PRESENTATIONS, “BLOG” IS PRESENTED AS AN EVIL 4 LETTER WORD. THIS IS INACCURATE AND UNFORTUNATE.

netsmartz.org
– video example of Netsmartz video “Think Before You Post”

THAT IS A GREAT VIDEO, I NEED TO GET A COPY OF THAT

that is a controversial video, but the kids often don’t think about that

If you go look out on MySpace, you are going to get an eyeful

Online Usage Information
– From Cox Communications Teen Internet Safety Survey Wave II
– 93% of surveyed students had personal email address
– other questions: IM screename, cellphone or texting device, public profile on networking site, private profile, have console game that permis texting

Why do kids cyberbully?
– they think it’s funny
– they don’t think it is a big deal
– they are encouraged by friends
– they think they won’t get caught
– “Everybody does it”

I THINK THIS GOES TO THE HEART OF HUMAN NATURE- MANY PEOPLE DON’T HAVE POWER AND WANT TO HAVE POWER, AND USE THAT POWER TO HURT OTHERS FOR INTRINSIC AS WELL AS INSTRUMENTAL PURPOSES.

movie “Mean Girls” is good example of cyberbullying and bullying

Direct attacks
– posing as others: Kids create screen names that are very similar to others. using this name, they post inappropriate or threatening things
– text wars: kids gang up on the victim and send thousands of text messages to the victim’s cell phone (this is done to people who just have a finite number of permitted text messages. Kids will say “at 2 pm Friday, send a text message to so and so, and send this to all of your contacts. If that kid is on a set payment plan, then they are going to have a huge cell phone bill.”

question from the audience: is there a way to setup text messaging so you can block messages only if you accept them
– audience member answer: no

that is the reason we have unlimited text messaging
– as more kids hear about this, more kids are probably going to try this

audience member: you can send a text message from a computer, and sometimes kids will use computer macros to send hundreds of text messages

kids often don’t realize that text messages are recorded on a server
– you can call the ISP and give approx date and time of the messages, and the ISP can find and print you copies
– those are permanent records

sharing personal information is another direct attack: posing as the victim and giving out personal info
– sending out photos

SchoolYard vs. CyberBullying
– more invasive: not bound by time or geography
– increases your audience of humiliation, virtually unlimited
– lengthens the duration of the torment
– lends itself to greater cruelty

story of kids talking with their backs to the camera
– talking about “whose hot, who’s not”

advice:
– don’t reply to abusive messages
– protect the evidence (save it)
– more….

If you know the bully, go and talk to them
– talk to the students’ parents
– once it comes back into the school
— bruises vs emotional damage
— schools can become effective brokers in working with parents to stop and remedy cyberbulying situations
— AUP makes it a contractual, not constitutional issue
— if your AUP addresses cyberbullying, you as a district are covered if the cyberbullying moves over into the school

Putnam City Schools actions:
– added line in AUP stating that if any electronic bullying act has taken place using any electronic technologies, then the school will deal with it
– internet safety committee has been set up district curriculum to educate all students in Internet Ethics
– we have 18,000 students in our district
– we turned off the Internet district-wide at the start of the year
– we didn’t turn it back on until we had 85% of those forms back from parents
– we have been challenged on this a couple of times, but because the students and parents signed this form it is now cut and dry
– counselors and advisory time teachers share resources with their classes
– we DID have parents resign the form

We feel like that protects us when a constitutional free speech question comes up

I REALLY WANT TO LOOK INTO THIS. IT DOESN’T SEEM REASONABLE THAT A SCHOOL DISTRICT AND REVOKE STUDENT FREE SPEECH RIGHTS (WHICH ARE CONSTITUTIONAL, OF COURSE) WITH A AUP POLICY AND A SIGNATURE THAT IS ESSENTIALLY CO-ERCECD. (WITHOUT SIGNING THE AUP, STUDENTS CAN’T USE ANY INTERNET OR OTHER DISTRICT TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES AT SCHOOL)

audience member question: how does that work with parentis en loco?

we don’t encourage cell phones at school, but we don’t prohibit them
– it is a general rule across the district that cell phones are not supposed to be out during class times
– if the cell phone disrupts the educational process, then it becomes a disciplinary issue

we have 25 different learning communities setup on our district server for teacher use
– student use of learning communities are “in the works”
– students do not currently have district email addresses

Putnam City AUP
– prohibits non-educational chat rooms, social networking websites, blogs, and instant messaging programs at school on district hardware
– use of mobile communications devices or other technologies to engage in cyberbullying at school
– use of mobile communications devices that disrupt the instructional process

I do like voicethread and think that can be used to support instruction

we are going wireless now across our district
– how many kid have blackberries now?

Facing the consequences:
– cyberbullying: both victim and the perpetrator must be underage (17 and below)
– cyberstalking or harassment: ADULTS (18 and older)
– flaming is usually considered a term of service violation
– document the kind, frequency, source, and the nature of the threats

What everyone MUST do
– suprvise the internet use
– disallow the use of cell phones in school as a general rule
– educate our students in using the internet ethicaly, and act when a victim reports an incident
aduls: realize teh threat cyberbullying poses to their kids and supervise what they do, who they talk to, and what they see
– victims: it is ok to report

In 10-20 years, we will repat what we are sowing in our clases today, we must be teaching internet ethics today

THIS STATEMENT ASSUMES THAT BY TELLING KIDS THE RULES THEY WILL LEARN ETHICS. I AM NOT SURE THIS POSITION IS SUPPORTED BY RESEARCH OR EXPERIENCE.

Google Terry Aftab?
– program about “teen angels” on the INternet

totallywired.ypulse.com/archives/education

start Internet safety classes in elementary
– need to address information, media and marketing literacy

plagiarism, cheating and the internet should be a lesson taught in our schools

types of things to change the mind of the studetn
– sponsor awareness events
– proactively collaborate
– advanced action team planning
– hot spot surveys
– class meetings
– provide anonymous dropboxes
– provide “walled garden” environments

I AM SO GLAD TO SEE “WALLED GARDEN ENVIRONMENTS” ON TERRY’S SLIDE, BUT SHE DIDN’T MENTION THIS ALOUD OR EXPLAIN TO THE AUDIENCE WHAT THAT MEANS

contact info:

tpelley [at] putnamcityschools [dot] org
405-495-5200 x1248

MY QUESTION: HOW ARE YOU ALL AS A DISTRICT ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO PUBLICLY USE DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES IN CONSTRUCTIVE WAYS, TO COUNTERBALANCE ALL THESE NEGATIVE HEADLINES AND DEMONSTRATE THE POSITIVE WAYS TECHNOLOGIES CAN BE USED?

Putnam City Now is an online newspaper
– Steve Lindley is our communications person with the media
– have a digital storytelling project, using VoiceThread
– get calls from Channnel 9 and Channel 5 all the time, and Steve will come to me and we’ll share
– I also share at PTA meetings

Ratemyteacher.com is blocked in our school district

when kids violate AUP, they can lose internet rights for a month or the rest of the year

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4 Responses to Cyberbullying: How to Deal with Hi-Tech Harrassment by Terri Pulley

  1. Amy Strecker says:

    Looks like a great presentation you attended. One of the biggest issues about cyberbullying in my experience is just awareness — kids don’t really know what it means or what it is. What they are doing “for a laugh” they don’t identify as abusive behavior. I presented for a group of kids a few weeks ago and here’s some of the information I shared with them. http://mindoh.wordpress.com/2008/02/04/4-steps-to-combat-cyberbullying/

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks for sharing the link and your recommendations, Amy. I agree awareness is key, but I also think it’s important to share a balanced perspective that isn’t just dominated by the negative aspects of technology use. I am also concerned about the use of an AUP by the district to nullify student first amendment rights. This is something I’m going to look into with greater depth.

  3. Amy Strecker says:

    Yes, you’re right. There is so much media coverage and publicity about the bad things going on online, that it isn’t balanced by the fantastic content and meaningful relationships kids are also building using technology. Sadly, the fewer negative circumstances are enough for most school to start building walls to “protect” kids; in my experience there also wasn’t a wall that my kids couldn’t figure out a way around.

  4. Lori A says:

    Wes,
    I use the Netsmartzkids activities for my younger students http://www.netsmartzkids.org/indexFL.htm, the videos you want are linked off http://www.netsmartz.org/ or at http://www.netsmartz.org/resources/reallife.htm . I also use some of the isafe materials http://www.isafe.org.
    I recently started using http://www.digizen.org/cyberbullying/fullFilm.aspx a movie called “Let’s fight it Together”.

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