Cyber-bullying Just Got Help From Technology
I promised myself I wouldn’t get too preachy on this blog. Who am I, anyway? I don’t pretend to be an expert but I am, just like you, navigating my way through and discovering some amazing things. Those I want to share.
Sometimes, however, I find some not-so-amazing things. This morning I read about the Secret App. No, it has nothing to do with The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, which I love, by the way. I’m talking about a new smart phone app that allows people to essentially tweet anonymously. Can you imagine?
That’s one secret cyber-bullying tool that should remain a secret.
As parents and adults who care about children and bullying, this app has, in my opinion, horrible potential for cowards to now post whatever they feel with total anonymity. It’s a ready made tool for cyber-bullying and as a parent I don’t like this at all. OK, I actually feel my blood begin to boil.
Here’s the story I read today.
Let’s all agree that the English language is tough enough to decipher when you are face to face with someone, let alone when you are typing. The meaning can change depending on your perspective. Also, there’s so much slang, both cultural and common that it wouldn’t take much imagination to picture some very hurtful, if not tragic results from an app like this.
For example, bad could mean bad at something, bad could mean good at something, and bad could mean naughty. Slip words like that in an anonymous tweet and it could be a problem for someone on the other end of that tweet. Also, there’s no way to backtrack and confront someone to rectify the situation. Now that’s bad.
Also, confusing phrases like, “you can’t put too much air in that balloon”. Does that mean you can put as much as you want or you shouldn’t put too much air in? Silly English-isms, I know, but my point is that our language, maybe like all languages, can be misinterpreted.
Here’s the main reason I really hate this app (and you can ask my kids. I rarely use the word, ‘hate’). The kids that are affected most my cyber-bulling, and that’s exactly what this app lends itself to, are the ones who tend to internalize feelings and not talk about them. We just don’t know how damaging words can be to some because everyone handles them differently. Why,then, should we make it easier for this potentially hurtful scenario to play out?
I wrote a song called, ‘Sticky Words” about this very subject. Whether you treat someone kind or not so kind, they will remember that. Words, both good and bad, stick to us by our very nature. I think they should be positive, uplifting, and kind words. Where’s the app for that?
I wrote another, this one a cyber-bullying song called “Think Before You Type It”.I truly hope kids learn to do this. Cyber-bullying is escalating and technology is helping!
I’m happy to donate these songs to your school. Simply email me your request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sticky Words by Tommy Gardner https://soundcloud.com/unclebrothers/sticky-words
Think Before You Type It by Tommy Gardner https://soundcloud.com/unclebrothers/think-before-you-type-it-1