Dis-CONNECTIVITY: (“dis” to be rude, to criticize, to show disrespect)
For centuries bullying has been present in the workplace, in families, in schools: in society in general, and often it takes the form of physical abuse. Such problems can often be easily identified by compassionate others: parents, friends, partners—anyone who cares enough to relate to others who are vulnerable to such injury.
Today, while we are all connected and making use of electronic devices continuously, the age-old problem of bullying persists, in a modern context as cyber-bullying. Social media platforms that allow us to keep in touch, the phones that everyone carries, the emails that have taken over for snail mail—all of these instruments have, like all tools, the potential for misuse.
You deserve personal privacy; it’s a basic right everyone should enjoy, so avoid posting anything that may be used to discredit you. Recently teens in the U.S. and Canada have been bullied into situations that ended in fatalities. So, be discreet; be as careful in e-contexts as you would be if you were with older people, your parents, or older relatives, for instance.
As for the possible misuse of the devices, it is a criminal offense to slander others, to intimidate others, to post images that can demean or endanger the lives of anyone, and such crimes are treated by authorities in the same way what personal attacks are. Report such abuses to authorities such as teachers, the police, or parents. If friends are suffering such attacks, support, and encourage these victims. Encourage them to seek the help we’ve mentioned.
In terms of our online school, VHS is a leader in preventing cyberbullying. We make students aware of bullying and its impact, we maintain high levels of security in our courses, this security making the courses free of spam which can contain harmful messages. We also have a Character Building feature which changes on a monthly basis. Because we operate virtually, the concepts we treat in Character Building relate to the safe and conscientious use of technologies. Our teachers carefully monitor discussion posts in their courses to ensure that all students and their ideas are treated in a respectful, constructive manner. As an online school, our credibility rests on such protection for our students.
Our devices should connect us in positive ways. Educating ourselves on the proper use of such tools is a first step to eliminating the new take on an old problem—bullying.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing bullying of any type, please visit Bullying Canada for assistance.