For the last few days, a very sad story about educator Kathy Sierra has been moving across the blogosphere. A heinous story about threats made on her life, scary enough to cause her to cancel a keynote speech at a tech conference in California. In support and response, Andy Carvin has requested that today, March 30, all bloggers address cyberbullying in their posts.
It is because of cyberbullying that we need to fight poorly thought through legislation such as DOPA. It is unlikely that many parents are aware of or prepared to help their children understand the depth, breadth, and danger of cyberbullying. In fact, the definition of “digital divide” has changed. It’s not about low income schools not having access to computers and technology anymore. The new “digital divide” is the gulf between how parents think their children are using computers and the reality of how they actually are. More than ever, we need iSafety and Cyberethics to be part of the school curriculum.
Fortunately, there is a growing bank of good resources for educators and parents. I really like the selection available at Netzsmarts, complete with accompanying classroom activities. I also like Bill Beasley’s Cyberbullying.org and Nancy Willard’s Cyberbully.org – along with Nancy’s very complete white paper: An Educator’s Guide of Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats.
Posts this week by Eric Hoefler, Andy Carvin, and Vicki Davis offer insightful thoughts and resources, including the newly created Stop Cyberbullying social network, annotated guidelines for stoppying cyberbullying, and cyberbullying badges. It’s a sad to think that one voice has been silenced, but also encouraging to see how quickly the Web 2.0 community is rallying to lend support and find solutions.
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