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Cyber Bullying is a hot topic right now.  Hardly a day goes by without a news story involving someone ending their own life  due to the effects of being bullied, quite often using cellphones and the internet. Some states have already passed anti-cyber bullying laws. The federal government is considering making it a federal crime to harass or bully someone using the internet.

Bullying is not a new social ill. It has been around as long as there has been human civilization. Using cellphones or the internet to harass takes on a whole new element, though.  To begin with, it is often very difficult to identify the bully because of the ambiguity of screen names.  Secondly, because the audience that witnesses the attack can grow exponentially through the use of the internet, the victim feels the effects of the bullying more.

One factor to consider when discussing cyber bullying is the development of the human brain.  According to http://www.examiner.com, the human brain is not fully developed until the age of 25.  Teenagers are therefore participating in activities they are not equipped to deal with. The article goes on to say:

“Prior to full brain development children exhibit the following behaviors more coincidentally vs. consistently:
•    Decision making
•    Use of appropriate judgment
•    Rational thinking
•    Integration of emotion & critical thinking
•    Ability to think clearly about long-term outcomes that stem from behaviors
•    Global thinking vs. self-centered thinking”

So, what is a parent and teacher to do.  We must make our children and students aware of the dangers and temptations they will face when using the internet. That will require talking to them, and talking to them often. That will require monitoring their cellphone and online activity.

Students will watch the Garfield cartoon on cyberbullying in the e Safety LiveBinder under the Student tab called Bouncy-A.  They will then go to their own computer and complete Garfield Cyberbullying 2 or Garfield Cyberbullying 3 in the same tab.

The students will then log in to Moodle and complete the Digital Conduct Quiz. You can log in as a guest to view the lesson. The guest user name is woteacher and the password is woteacher. You will find my course under Enhancements: Technology with Mrs. Peery.

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