"Campus" is a professional seminar for all New York City public school teachers that will be held this Saturday, May 4th, with the aim of allowing experts on a diverse range of topics to share perspectives with educators on recent developments in their spheres.
The traumatizing effects of cyber bullying on the emotional wellbeing of teenagers are becoming increasingly clear in our society. It leaves its victims wounded in ways that are impossible to see and difficult to heal.
Today I watched as 20 seventh grade students looked at themselves in a bright yellow hand mirror and told themselves that they were worthy. Beautiful. Handsome. Smart. Strong. An amazing basketball player, dancer, video game player, friend, son, daughter.
How many of us have handed over a mobile device that gives our children complete access to the world, with all of its lures and dangers? Many of us feel helpless when faced with youthful demands for technology and our own inability to understand how it can be used -- or misused.
It's pretty safe to say that it's harder to hide from the bullies than it may have been 20 or 30 years ago. Some kids have to face it not only for seven hours at school, but also every hour beyond that because of the constant contact that can be made via text message or social media.
The discourse in this country relies on personal attacks instead of discussing the issues. No one -- not our elected officials, not our pundits, not even us -- can seem to have a civil conversation about the issues. It just turns into bullying.
I worry whether our well meaning desire to combat bullying could lead to an even bigger problem by branding children who misbehave as criminals instead of using other methods to create a more civil and compassionate environment for our children.
We are building the norms of our new net society. It can go either way; there's nothing, absolutely nothing to say that technology will lead to a better or worse world. It only provides us choices and the opportunity to show our own nature in what we choose.
In order to stop the bullying pandemic, we've got to focus on the victim AND the bully. Pain is a tough place to recover from, but with as many hands on deck as we can get, we can begin to chip away at this incredible intolerance invading our schools.
Today, our kids face a new form of bullying through the use of social media. Simply search "Facebook bullying" on Google and the horrors of what is happening in cyberspace to kids around the world is instantly revealed.