Tortured by Technology #CNMAC13


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But 10 minutes to discuss cyber-bullying at the Christian New Media Awards 2013 - a challenge, but this is how I think it will go:

Headlines: 2 minutes
The Bullied: 4 minutes
The Bully: 2 minutes
The Bystander: 2 minutes

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  • Examples of cyber-bullying and trolling have abounded over the past year. But what are we to make of this phenomenon?
  • Click from one to the next without saying anything.. .
  • could go on. It’s Terrorising, huh? Range of approaches – the red tops clearly the most hysterical … ban this website … but isn’t this just going to pop up elsewhere…? Is it not about our culture, rather than the technology … which yes, allows us to do new things or in a new way, but it doesn’t have to control our behavior… So do we just ring our hands, feel hopeless, say it’s all bad, give up on the technology or do our voices need to raised (together) to make a difference …
  • That’s the choice Jamie Oliver has made … maybe it’s a legitimate choice, maybe he’s a special case … but does his decision need a little more thought? // Children likely to face more physical bullying at school?
  • Well, there’s plenty of material online…
  • … and there’s been a HUGE number of books over the past few years…
  • I have to admit that mine is one of them … and so I’ve read many of those books .. Quite an overwhelming amount of information … which I spent many hours seeking to digest into smaller chunks … and now = even smaller! (Cyber) bullying = affects all ages, but my research has been particularly into children…
  • So, for the rest of this presentation, I want to pull some of the material from my book to look at the 3 main groups involved in bullying situations…
  • Don’t want to use term victim, as are not powerless…. But this is the group that we are most concerned about as every individual case is a tragedy … but is it as bad as we fear?
  • ASK: Anybody any ideas what these numbers reflect? Research = those affected from 5.5% to 71% (obviously press = worst figures), but these figures can cause their own problems. Nancy Willard = makes people think that it’s a ‘rite of passage’ – put up with it // not really causing harm… = means more get involved – whereas if we can show that most behave positively online, inspired to copy that instead…Policies by government, schools and parents are also dictated by a belief in the height of stats … the higher the stats – the more likely we are to limit access, want more surveillance – and call for bans on technology!
  • Cyber-bullying can come in various guises… e.g. receiving hurtful messages, being the subject of hurtful messages, stolen phones used to damage other relations, reputational damage, isolation..
  • We may be familiar with the signs of bullying (Unexplained headaches, Nausea,Bedwetting , Mood swings,Aggression,Night terrors,Fall behind on school-work,Avoid going to school or leaving the house,Become anti-social) and these may be present … though could also be signs of being teenage .. But particular to cyber-bullying …
  • Previously, bullying would typically stop at the school gates, or at least once the child got home, although there was always the potential for phone calls, notes falling out of homework books, bricks through the window, or events replaying themselves in the head. Others pile in and the information – 1/0 never forget – can resurface at any time…
  • Note that may be worth taking time away from online for a while to take a breath and think about how you are going to deal with things when you go back online … come back to some of that with bystanders in a minute…
  • Be aware a persistent bully may have multiple IDs so need to keep vigilant…If decide to talk to parent, write down facts/keep calm … people are always going to protect their own and may find it hard to believe that their child is a bully… or don’t want to! Remove info = legal obligation to do so, but can take time… esp e.g. YouTube where multiple copies can be made … best to think BEFORE posting (unlike post first, ask forgiveness later)
  • Kids = strong resiliency… 2 often particualrly successful…
  • So, let’s have a brief look at who/why bullies partake…
  • Feels disconnected from impact of bullying (like WW2 bombers), and can find ways to justify it, often dehumanising the victim … it’s that danger of seeing the screen rather than the person behind the screen!
  • The stats seem to support that (though we don’t know enough this report)… Online = human nature amplified… ‘Web trolls preying on children’, ITV,, 22/02/13
  • Need help not banishment.Need to learn from their mistakes.If feel abandoned will seek others who will support how they feel. Shaheen, S. & Churchill, A.H., Truths and Myths of Cyber-bullying: International Perspectives on Stakeholder Responsibility and Children’s Safety, Peter Lang Publishing, 2009, p7
  • For many, it won’t be as simple as this. Your child won’t necessarily want to sit and listen, and may be actively looking for opportunities to bully once more, waiting until late at night to access the Internet, shutting down their devices as soon as their parents enter. This may be good time to monitor what your children are doing online, and restrict their access to technology…
  • If we refuse to engage – what is that doing .. Can be scary, but this phrase is powerful..
  • Things move fast, so others can pile in – but can also use this to your advantage to get other friends, etc. to support you as well…
  • … to bring it back to Biblical thinking … am I misusing this Bible verse, but it seems worth holding onto – the same as in offline life … think about what we are doing online!
  • A final encouraging thought to leave with…
  • Final word – remember – there is always a human being at the other end of the keyboard… think before you type…Questions?
  • Tortured by Technology #CNMAC13

    1. 1. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. TORTURED THROUGH TECHNOLOGY Dr Bex Lewis, CODEC, Durham University; Social Media Director, Digital Fingerprint
    2. 2. nsStory.php
    3. 3. w-teenager-bullying/
    4. 4.
    5. 5. en-suicide-viral-photo/
    6. 6. 06/caroline-craido-perez-deletes-twitter-account
    7. 7.
    8. 8.
    9. 9. Image source: SXC.Hu
    10. 10.
    11. 11.
    12. 12.
    13. 13. Bex Lewis Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst Lion Hudson 21st February 2014
    14. 14. •The Bullied •The Bully •The Bystander
    15. 15. THE BULLIED Image Source: Stockfresh
    16. 16. 5.5  71
    17. 17. Cyber-Bullying: • • • • • • Threatening or hateful text, email or chat messages Pictures or video clips, including ‘happy slapping’ Silent or abusive phone calls Stealing a phone, and using it to harass others Nasty comments posted on websites or social media Blogging to damage the reputation of privacy of others, including sharing personal data. • Creating Internet polls such as “who’s hot” • Forcing users to share messages, threatening ‘social isolation’ for non-compliance.
    18. 18. Signs specific to cyber-bullying? • • • • • Long hours on the computer Secretive Internet use Screen minimization Refusing to log on or answer phone Extreme possessiveness of phone, to which constant nervous looks are given.
    19. 19. Nature of Online Bullying • • • • • Constant Location-independent Feeling of no escape Fast: others get involved Permanency of the information
    20. 20. Emotionally: • No shame: not their fault • Don’t threaten their online access • Spend extra time together: time for communication • Nurture self-confidence
    21. 21. Practically: • • • • • • • Don’t respond Keep copies of messages as ‘proof’ Understand how to ‘block’ accounts Talk to child re contacting school Think hard before talking to parents of bully Request webhost to remove Get phone number blocked
    22. 22. MediaSmart 2012 1)Ignore 2)Defriend/Block 3)Confront face-to-face 4)If fails, call parents
    23. 23. THE BULLY Image Source: Stockfresh
    24. 24. Disinhibition The bully doesn’t see the distress that they cause, feels safe from capture, and protected by the technology, able to say things that they would never say offline.
    25. 25. ITV, February 2005 • One in five think sending a message in cyberspace is less damaging than face to face insults • Half the teenagers polled believe it is ok to say things online that you would not in person • A third of youths say they troll because their friends do so too.
    26. 26. Zero-Tolerance?
    27. 27. Is it this simple? • Remove their Internet and mobile privileges (for a fixed period) • Get them to write an essay on the dangers of cyberbullying • Assign him/her a book to read about cyberbullying • Assign him/her to community service or other time-consuming activity. • Encourage them to apologise and take responsibility
    28. 28. THE BYSTANDER(S) Image Source: Stockfresh
    29. 29. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing • Quote commonly (and probably erroneously) attributed to Edmund Burke
    30. 30. Digital Allies Image Source: Stockfresh
    31. 31. Matthew 25:40 Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did for me.
    32. 32. Some useful sites for those needing help • (preventing young suicide) • (suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth) • (confidential helpline for those under 19) • (advice about cyberbullying, and opportunities to report your own situation, or someone else’s) • (US based site for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts) • (MTV site for those suffering digital abuse) • (for those suffering LGBT abuse)
    33. 33. • Ferguson, a professor from Texas A&M who researches technologies’ effects on human behaviour: “Youth today are the least aggressive, most civically involved, and mentally well in several generations .” • ‘Imagining the Internet: Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives’, Pew Research Center, _Internet_2012_Young_brains_PDF.pdf, 29/2/12
    34. 34. @drbexl @digitalfprint @bigbible drbexl/tortur ed-bytechnologycnmac13