Article on cyberbullying in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post

Yesterday’s Sunday Business Post had two articles (1, 2) by Adrian Weckler relating to cyberbullying on social networking sites (SNSs) such as Bebo.

One interesting statistic was from a recent survey of nearly 3000 Irish children by researchers in Trinity College Dublin where one in seven of them stated that they had experienced bullying online. Of these, one in five were girls (and according to the originating survey for the Irish Independent (article) and RTÉ Prime Time (video), one in eight were boys). Furthermore, one in ten (or 11?) children said they had participated in some form of cyberbullying.

Aside: I had to play around with these figures a little bit (males / 8 + females / 5 = 2790 / 7; males + females = 2790), but they seem to imply that the ratio of males to females surveyed (2125 to 665) was over three, so in fact this would suggest that if a closer ratio of males to females was surveyed, then the actual ratio of those bullied is one in six, which is even worse…

Adrian also linked to some recommended software tools for monitoring SNS and/or IM activity such as System Surveillance Pro (€35), (free, but provides MySpace monitoring only), and (€13).

The article also mentions the proactive steps being taken by schools where policies against cyberbullying have been introduced. But the introduction of secondary school course content (for the Junior Certificate SPHE module) on stuff like acceptable (internet) usage policies is even more proactive – I am just not sure if these courses are compulsory yet or not. See the Webwise site, Damien’s article and this useful cyberbullying guide for more information. Adding further material on what not to put on your SNS profile, and the potential legal (criminal) ramifications of online abuse could help too…


Social media can make you happy…

I posted a message on Twitter about half an hour ago saying that I was feeling down. I refrained from saying I was depressed as I really didn’t want to alarm anyone and I knew it wasn’t serious, but almost immediately I had four messages asking what was up (both publicly and privately on Twitter and one via Skype).

Sometimes very small annoyances can build up to something that feels greater and can lead to you just “feeling down”. Some idiot cut down the bushes behind our house at lunchtime (violating our privacy and savaging the ivy from our side of the wall in the process) without asking or thinking about the effect; I got a rejection letter for something I had applied for; I’m despairing at further attempts to have our Wikipedia article deleted by disgruntled users; I have a few too many things “to do” at work; and, yes, it is a bit drizzly today. But anyway, I was amazed at the rapid response to my cry, and realised (once again) the power of social media to get support (via something like microblogs) and to get stuff off your chest (by using this blog post). Yay for social media!