Whew! It seems that the last few weeks, if not last few months have been saturated with the discussion of proper language and the fundamentals of being a "good citizen" on and off line, through the many technological venues that our society has created for the "good" and "growth" of our culture. Cyber-bullying is proving to be more common and threatening than the average school-bully pushing you down on the playground, stealing your lunch money and spreading hateful rumors. The difference is that they are doing all of this and more on a public platform, where they don't even have to look the victim in the eyes and everyone in the universe can be jump on the bandwagon to choose sides.
The topic was first broached and brought to the forefront of my mind in this fall's issue of Instructor magazine, an article by Caralee Adams, and then pointed to and discussed again in my NWP Journal Writing Seminar, through St. Ambrose University, a couple of weeks ago, where I shared my own personal encounter with this phenomenon, and now this week in my Integrating Technology class, through AAU.
I have to agree that there is a problem and that not all educators acknowledge the problem within their realms of education, let alone know how deal with it or to add it to the discussion in their curriculum without adding a heavy load to their already busy schedule of meeting state standards.
There is a more urgent call to educators to step up their game and remain in constant focus of the cultural climate of their classrooms and school grounds, now more than ever. This seems to be another avenue where it all comes down to educating social values and good citizenry and including it into the current curriculum. Until we can find a way to help our students relieve the boredom that they feel, therefore lashing out their frustrations on the rest of their student population, we must make a difference in their lives by setting an example as good citizens ourselves.
The problem is that technology has lent itself to a much more impersonal state of being for many born-natives of the era and coping mechanisms have not yet been fostered for our youth to acclimate to the force that is present. They are still our youth, and still need to have their hands held in the proper functions of communicating within a public setting, which the Internet has proven to be. For instance, to point out that they would not cuss out their mother in church on Sunday, in front of the whole congregation, would make a beautiful point that is to say that doing it online is the same thing.
Basically we need to make an effort reinvent the "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" philosophy. The world will thank us later.