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THE IMPACT OF CYBER BULLYING ON YOUTH

Cyberbullying Teachers

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Cyberbullying of teachers by students

While I believe that CYBER BULLYING may not be the correct term here, an evolving area, which seems to have its roots in the UK (at least with respect to the media), is the "cyber bullying" of teachers by students.  Essentially, students who do not like a teacher or who are angry at a teacher for disciple or a bad grade, makes an online attack of a teacher. 

To be quite honest, this is the tip of the iceberg, not just for teachers but for all people.  The ripe opportunity to attack someone online is so untapped, that unless some sort of law or self policing of the internet evolves, the internet is going to become irrelevant with respect to its treatment of people's names.

We are going to see this grow and flourish, and while the majority of web sites treat cyber bullying of children with some degree of seriousness, almost no websites treat online attacks of adults quite so seriously unless it is actual defamation.

Which leads to the issue of online defamation itself, really, as attacks on teachers would tend to fall more into this category (or perhaps cyber stalking) rather than cyber bullying. 

No matter what you call it, the ability of students to manipulate and terrorize a teacher online will have devastating consequences to our educational system, the degree to which we don't quite understand yet.   Many good teachers challenge their students to the very core, often creating some temporary anger in the child.  In my own high school years, I came head to head with an English teacher who was very tough, so much so that she gave me a D on a paper once.  Although English was my worst subject, I was still accustomed to a B- at the worst.  I was so angry with this teacher that, given the chance to go online and attack her in some way, I probably would have (but at that time the internet was only a dream by some computer geeks in Universities), but instead I was challenged to bring my grade back up.  I spent many days after school in her office, doing exercises and rewriting paragraphs (as she blew cigarette smoke in my face!) until eventually my writing became so polished, I worked my way to an A- in that same class.

An interesting side note to this, is allegations by some students (mostly in some online blogs) that teachers will start writing things about them online.   I do not believe that this will ever be an issue, for several reasons.  Most importantly, it betrays the viewpoint of a student that teachers are "out to get them" something that I just do not see as true, having been an educator myself.  I suppose there are probably a few immature teachers who somehow may desire personal revenge against a student for a student being extremely and unusually difficult to handle.  But with the professional knowledge that teachers have as to how fragile children's egos are and the risk of losing one's job over being discovered, the chances of this becoming a widespread problem is very remote.

This story is replayed thousands of times as good teachers challenge hard working students to become better at something.  But with the easy outlet of the internet, those feelings could quite easily be channeled elsewhere.  Time will tell how this will evolve but don't be surprised if we start seeing this everywhere, not just with teachers.  Furthermore, the youth of today who have found their outlet for attack on the internet, will be the adults of tomorrow. 

Maybe its safe to say that Cyber Bullying isn't just for children anymore.