Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would be making a million pound grant to a programme designed to tackle cyberbullying in UK schools. The strategy will involve a peer-to-peer approach, in which schools will appoint an individual student who will be trained as their ‘digital safety ambassador’. A million pounds sounds like a lot of money, although it won’t go very far once it’s spread across 4,500 secondary schools.
Facebook has come in for a good deal of bad press recently, and one might be forgiven for asking why it is offering a few peanuts from its massive corporate profits (perhaps it might be better if they were to just pay their taxes…). As I’ve argued elsewhere on this blog, such companies have a lot to lose if they recognize they are accountable for the content that is published on their platforms: making users responsible for their own safety is a smart commercial strategy.
Of course, cyberbullying is an important issue – assuming, that is, we can agree on what counts as ‘bullying’ in the first place. Unfortunately, this is no straightforward matter. Evidence suggests that young people find ‘cyberbullying’ difficult to define, and don’t necessarily find the term helpful. The boundary between ‘bullying’ and ‘banter’, or being ‘picked on’, is far from clear. Most agree that internet companies are providing inadequate support when it comes to reporting and preventing such behaviour, and that the available guidelines are far from helpful.
- : https://davidbuckingham.net/2017/10/19/the-problem-with-teaching-internet-safety/
- : David Buckingham
- : David Buckingham blog