“VICTORIA has banned student access to video-sharing websites such as YouTube in the 1600 state schools, in a bid to tackle the growing problem of cyber bullying.”
Wow. I think I’ve done over 30 cyberbullying presentations for the university, schools, law enforcement and teacher associations. I have spoken to affected parties, parents, bullies and victims. Sometimes, the cases were severe. Yet, with all that I know about this topic, and with my knowledge of Web 2.0 and social technologies, I could never stand behind a decision to ban these media forms and technologies from our schools. It’s blind decision-making that is clearly not getting to the heart of the problem.
One of my students recently pointed out that cyberbullying is simply an imitated form of mass media. Take Britney’s recent breakdown and all of the media coverage that it has provoked. You can already purchase “Rehab Britney” on eBay. If we are going to ban Youtube, why not ban mass media while we are at it. Or let’s just continue to pretend that both grassroots and mainstream forms of media don’t exist once a student leaves the sheltered walls of school.
How about a little critical media literacy for these administrative folks.
Update: I noticed that Joan Vinall-Cox made almost this same point a couple of weeks ago. Her post is worth a read.