IntroductionWhile researching my original topic (family norms and religion) I became very uninspired by my assignment as I did not feel passionate about my proposed issues. I had originally planned on presenting a family from the UnitedStates called the Duggars who are unusual in that they have 19children and have heavy Christian beliefs. They have a popular reality TV series about their lives. (www.duggarfamily.com)
Introduction (cont.) While conducting my research on YouTube I noticed a lot of feedback left through comments of peoples opinions on theDuggars. I noticed that while much of the feedback was verypositive, a very high proportion of the feedback was negative, judgmental, hateful and insulting.
Introduction (cont.) While I find the Duggar family highly interesting and thought thatstudents in the middle years would also, I felt the issue was not of particular relevance and this was when I had my “ahah” moment and decided to go from a slightly different angle. So now I will introduce you to my new and improved topic...
Hate and Anonymity on the InternetWhile the internet is an endless source of information there is a darkerside, it has also let open the flood gates for anyone with an opinion toshare that with the world, anonymously, from the comfort of their home oroffice. Unfortunately, without fear of consequence this has led to manypeople saying things that they would probably not say if they knew theycould be held accountable for their actions.In fact, recently in Arizona in the United States of America, a bill wasintroduced (and later stopped due to breech of freedom of speech laws)to censor internet trolls. (Hendley, M. 2012)
Hate and Anonymity on the InternetBy way of example here are some comments from YouTube made about theDuggar family:“God isnt responsible for all those pregnancies. Jim Bob & Michelle are. Itspathetic how Christians use their ignorance to keep making such foolishdecisions. The last pregnancy should NEVER have taken place. They are selfishpeople.” (Paula120906, Retrieved from YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roOMA-_-HTk&feature=related)“Despite the the obvious waste of resources these parents have caused byhaving more then 2 children, I actually kinda feel sorry for these kids, seeing howthey are schooled and brainwashed with religion (dancing is bad), the real world isgoing to eat them alive once they leave the home. These parents focused onreligion, not at all on independence or thinking for themselves.” (Chibicat13,Retrieved from YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4mDkKH0_OA&feature=related)
st Bullying in the 21 CenturyThere are two main kinds of internet hate, flamers and trolls. Flamers are mainly intent on instigating arguments or flame wars with other internet users whereas trolls are more concerned with proving their superiority. Both kinds of haters are almost always anonymous or acting under a pseudonym.Flamers: Wikipedia explains “flaming” as:“Flaming, also known as bashing, is hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users, often involving the use of profanity. Flaming usually occurs in the social context of an Internet forum, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Usenet, by e-mail, game servers such as Xbox Live or Playstation Network, and on video-sharing websites. It is frequently the result of the discussion of heated real-world issues such as politics, religion, and philosophy, or of issues that polarise subpopulations, but can also be provoked by seemingly trivial differences.” (Flaming (Internet), Wikipedia, Para 1)
st Bullying in the 21 CenturyTrollsWikipedia explains “trolls” as:“In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: "That was an excellent troll you posted."” (Troll (Internet), Wikipedia, Para 1)
Connecting to differenceDifference is when we look beyond our Self out along the lines of the axes of identity and see the things that we are not. The things that are not absolute, that is, the things that are not the same but no absolutely different, are placed in the space between our Self and the axes of identity in the zone of difference. (Austin, Undated)The internet allows an anonymous forum for anyone with a different opinion to bully, harass, flame and troll without consequence.
Social Experiment: Part 1Provide a two pieces of paper and two letter boxes.Ask students to anonymously answer the questions:1. Would you or have you ever said hurtful things to someone totheir face?2. Would you or have you ever said hurtful things about someonebehind their back. Tally answers and give results to the class at the end of the lesson. Doing this at the start of thelesson will hopefully result in more honest answers.
Social Experiment Part 2 Establish DifferenceIntroduce the students to the idea of difference by showing them part of the video below about the Duggar family. The Duggars are a Christian family with 19 children. Having 19children their family life is quite different to normal sized families. The Duggars also have some strong religious beliefs that many students might find strange. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4mDkKH0_OA&feature=related
Social Experiment Part 3 Connecting Difference to Identity and SelfConduct a survey: Ask the students about their home andfamily life, some relevant questions could be: Are your parents married? How many children are in your family? Do your parents work full time? What is the division of labour around the house (e.g.housework)?Have the students compare their answers.
Social Experiment Part 4 Anonymous Survey Give the students “agree” and “disagree”cards. Ask the students to anonymously ratenegative comments from YouTube in relation to the Duggar family. Tabulate the scores while the students complete group work for part 5.
Social Experiment Part 5 Group Discussion Group students into groups of 3-4 and give them negativecomments from YouTube used in part 4 about the Duggar family. Ask them to discuss and present their opinions about those comments to the class. Within their peer groups students will probably try to present themselves in a more favourable light.
ConclusionCompare results from the anonymous vote in part 4 of theexperiment to the group discussion in part 5 and the results of thevote at the start of the lesson. How were they different? Wasthere any difference between what a student would sayanonymously or if they knew the person they were talking aboutwas listening?This social experiment aims at teaching children throughcomparing their own family lives and family lives of their peers withthat of the Duggar family to establish realisation of difference andhow they react to the difference based on various scenarios wherethey can be held accountable for their voiced agreement ordisagreement.
ReferencesAustin. J, (Undated) Slides 4-5, Lecture 8 (Video) University of South Queensland Study Desk, EDC1200Duggar Family Website, At Home With The Duggars. Retrieved from: www.duggarfamily.comHendley. M, (2012, 3 April) Re: Internet Trolls Can Breathe Easy for a Minute -- HB 2549 Has Been Stopped[Web log post]. Retrieved from:http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2012/04/internet_trolls_can_breathe_ea.phpWikipedia: Flaming (Internet). Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flaming_%28Internet%29Wikipedia: Troll (Internet). Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll