Valère Awouters

Ethics and cyberbullying

Posted on Posted in Ethics

Valère AwoutersValère Awouters (right) from Belgium recounted the sad story this morning in Katowice of a teacher who was videoed by a pupil with his camera phone while losing control of a class and breaking down in tears. The video was then posted on youtube to the further humiliation of the teacher. Who was to blame? Was it entirely the fault of the pupil? It’s hard to argue that the phone manufacturer was at fault and youtube can hardly be held responsible though they did make it possible in the first place. The most shocking thing for Valère is that the confronted pupil could not see that he had done anything wrong.

I asked Valère if it was too late to tackle this issue? Can/should we attempt to control the online learning experiences of young people when they are increasingly connected at home and engaging in all sorts of online activities? His robust answer was that we need to teach ethical behaviour to schoolchildren so that this kind of incident is less likely to occur. With a third of 12-15 year olds in the UK already being “cyberbullied” (BBC News, 21st Sept 2007) his suggestion is probably not a moment too soon.