The Flash animation intro of the Stopcyberbullying.org website is sobering. The final statement is thought provoking and challenging:

Cyberbullying is only limited by the imaginations and bandwidth of kids.

I’d change the world “kids” in this statement to “people.” Sadly, some people continue to demonstrate bullying behaviors into adulthood.

Technology is a tool, which can be used for good, neutral, or evil purposes. This reminds me of Doug Johnson’s post “Rules for Pod People and a Proposal for Banning Pencils” from 2005. A sharp number 2 pencil can be a very dangerous and disruptive tool in the hands of a learner who wants to make bad choices. So can an Internet-connected computer.

Are we striving to help our students in schools learn ethical decision-making skills, so they can and will BECOME THE FILTERS for themselves online in their lives? Are we talking to learners of all ages about digital citizenship and responsible online behavior? We need to be proactive on these issues, not merely reactive. We typically send our young people through a driver’s education class in which they actually practice driving on the roads and highways of the REAL WORLD before we give them a driver’s license. Similarly, we need to be helping our students learn to safely, appropriately, and powerfully navigate the virtual pathways of the information superhighway. Conversations about the issues and challenges we face there are likely our most powerful educational strategies for changing perceptions and behavior.

We need more digital dialog.

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7 Responses to Imagination used for good and evil

  1. The link to digital dialog at wikispaces is blocked via our filtering program at school.

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    🙁

    Unfortunately I’ve noticed that some schools here in Oklahoma are not only blocking all blogs, but also all wikis on wikispaces.com.

    Miguel Guhlin’s post from last summer, “Imprisoning Lightning: The Challenge of Social Networking in K-16 Education” is thought provoking in this regard. Sorry you can’t pull that up from school! 🙁

  3. Wesley Fryer says:

    Good list of resources Don, thanks!

  4. ahf says:

    Cyberbullying may have a cousin, “flaming” or “online disinhibition effect.”

    See the NY Times article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/20/health/psychology/20essa.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&ref=technology&adxnnlx=1172011851-9aamHEE5T09KZeNGIeopeA

    HT to Kim Komando.

  5. Andrew Pass says:

    So, here’s a question: How do we teach ethical decision making skills? If we let our students use any and all technology how do we teach them to use it well?

    Perhaps one of the things that we need to help our students understand is that they matter. Our students are important. They have the power to use technology to produce incredible results. When they use technology positively the results are far more fulfilling than when they use technology for negative purposes. If we don’t let our students use technology they won’t be able to learn that they can do incrediblly positive things with it.

    Andrew Pass
    http://www.pass-ed.com/Living-Textbook.html

  6. Shonu says:

    Perhaps one of the things that we need to help our students understand is that they matter. Our students are important. They have the power to use technology to produce incredible results. When they use technology positively the results are far more fulfilling than when they use technology for negative purposes. If we don’t let our students use technology they won’t be able to learn that they can do incrediblly positive things with it.

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