Youtube Banned In Victoria (AU) To Halt Cyberbullying

Youtube Ban Comic

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.

10 thoughts on “Youtube Banned In Victoria (AU) To Halt Cyberbullying

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  2. When I think of all the online video services:

    This is just one list…how will they feel about an audio recording of this event….what about photos….

    Typical chainsaw for surgery analogy. We’re in the process of developing some content filtering standards, I’ve already made my feelings known to administrators.

    Isn’t there some old saying about baby and bathwater? I always thought of Australia as fairly progressive, this makes me wonder.

  3. Once again, an overreaction to something that is not the problem of the medium being used. Having said that, we can’t use YouTube in our schools because of all the “bad” things on it, so my kids go to various sites that have almost naked people on them instead of completely naked people.
    We are missing the whole point in schools. We should be using this stuff, discussing the videos, examining what is being done and providing education about how to deal with such things. Instead, we ban, ban, ban. I’m having a hard time getting the “book” video for my staff meeting because of the block.
    Never mind the baby, the tub and all is going out.
    Hear that, that’s another mind that just slammed shut without really knowing what they were doing. Maybe it’s time for some of the top administrators to step aside if they aren’t ready to work at creating workable solutions instead of just banning eveything.

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  6. The latest bans on cellphones in schools raise the same questions. Sure, I don’t want to feel like I am always being filmed or photoed while teaching, but students will find a way. Are we just adding to the endless list of contraband in the classroom. If I was able to sneak a walkman into class (back in the day), students will have no trouble with cellphones.
    Instead think about the huge advantage of having a class of 30, all with internet access at their fingertips. Check out . I am talking about the recent ban of cellphones at Usher to a media studies 20 class (at a different school) and I’ve created a site with abstracts of articles and links to what others have said about this issue. There is even a forum for student comments. I know this works well for a media studies class, but I think there is a lot of potential here.

  7. I totally agree with your observations and conclusions. I had just published the post or my ramblings below, when I came across your blog.

    There are so many that would disagree, I and others have found incredible resistance within a professional online community we have been a part of for years. There is an obvious unwillingness to even consider the potential benefits to learners, through the engagement of social networking tools in learning environments.

    Having encountered resistance to anything ‘e’ when I was a flexible learning leader – and then in the years after when I would try every method I could think of, sought advice from others, to find the right way, to at least interest many of those I worked alongside, only to hit my head on a brick wall over and over again and in 2006, I had a staff member come up to me and say, ‘Why didn’t you tell me that I could send an email to more than one person at a time’. I have had to accept that change for many educators, is just to much to deal with – the old ways have worked just fine for them, so why would they consider changing????

    My personal experiences within educational settings, have given rise to my belief, that the resistance to change, many discuss, is in fact sheer laziness and arrogance in their belief that education is still teacher centred, as they can not entertain the thought of not being in total control. Somewhere along the way many have blocked the idea of education being ‘learner centred’.

    Most states in Australia, through the education departments and with their endorsement or dare I say ‘mandate’, are now blocking all social networking tools at levels of education, due to the belief and the propaganda to make others, especially parents believe that ‘all social networking tools are dangerous.

    When is someone in power going to realise it as you say is not the tools that are dangerous, it is some of the users and with safe use, dangers can be minimised.

    Thank you for standing up for the needs and rights of learners, the future of education and the critical importance of access to social networking tools within educational environments and not ‘blocking’ them, in the hope that they will just vanish into the ether.


    Enterprise networking, Advances: Australian education:Negligence???

  8. I think maybe we miss the point if we simply ban YouTube. It’s some of the content that is the problem. The lowest of the low are on there, screaming about free speech as they then slander people or groups and post lude and indecent material that most folks don’t need or want to see, much less want children to be assaulted with. But it doesn’t stop there, if only it did! You get crime and people bragging about it, you get hate groups, blacklists, violate of people’s rights to privacy and the pursuit of happiness. Too many people are crying about ‘rights’. Free speech does not include the right to interfere with the rights of others. You get the spread of destructive lies and the promotion of cruel behavior. We sit back and watch, amazed and horrified. NO one presses the “remove” button.

    The message our kids (and our adults) get is that it is cool or witty to rip someone else apart or ruin someone else’s life or livelihood, reputation or family. That it’s cool to do bad things to bodies and to intentionally hurt others. Here we have a lawless place where rumors are passed off as truth, where opinion matters more than fact, where the 10 commandments are a joke, and where committing crimes on video is okay and “totally interesting” as long as you are anonymous and are not caught. Our young learn that the “enemy” is a faceless, nameless, unapologetic avatar who thinks he has some right to scam you or trash your loved ones, and this is backed up by getting lots of other insane people to say “hey, cool”. And finally, our young learn that there is NOTHING anyone can do about it, and that no one WILL do anything about it. Because these guys have “rights”. Well how will that shape the world?
    Blaming the medium is like saying that no one should ever have a TV because Jerry Springer is on there. The problem is the lack of any social control on what is done there. The medium needs to be FIXED. It is the lack of any law to insist on limits. And ultimately, it is the low level that some members of our race have sunk to, and those sub-humans find their haven to run wild on the internet. We all watch, amazed and horrified at the same time. How many of us click “remove”? Why do we give the subhuman crap a voice? Those posting slander and commiting crimes should be held accountable. We should be able to TRACE the emails that come from some scammer from Nigeria trying to steal our bank accounts, TRACE it back to a person, an address, a picture. Internet criminals should have no safe place to go where they won’t be found… not in Russia, not anywhere.

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