Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cyber harassment is not a patch problem.

By Abigail Clarke: Contributing Content Blogger

I've always been of the mind it's a mistake to approach the fixing of any problem from the outside in.  How many times have we seen the patch method applied to anything from relationships to government policy? We do this time and again even though we know truly solving any problem is to deal with it at its root! The same concept applies to that of cyber harassment. General beliefs of legislators are to handle the issue by passing new laws and laws are beginning to pop up everywhere. Having good laws in place restricting or at least discouraging the criminal actions of those who harm others on the Internet is a proper and necessary thing to do. A framework and structure is quite necessary but this is merely a step toward the solution. 

A complete solution can only occur when in conjunction with laws cyber harassment is addressed in the home. It starts firstly with the parents and should be reinforced by those adults managing young people in educational systems. The real solution to this problem requires an overhaul in the thinking of young people or what you might say a reprogramming of human interaction. It's here where the consistent teaching and encouragement of empathy for others comes in.  It's also important to keep communication open assuring young people they are safe to tell about what is going on. 

I shouldn't have to tell parents or other adults to demonstrate by example!  It's well known that young people from all cultures observe adults in the home and use these observations as the framework for their own beliefs and behaviours. This is not a patch fix,so let’s not get caught in the mind trap of thinking it is.