A regional manual to tackle cyber bullying is being developed by agencies across the Caribbean. A meeting with regional stakeholders was held today in Belize which encompassed effective ways how to deal with cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is when someone is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, or otherwise targeted by another person using the digital technology. Examples of cyber bullying include unpleasant text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. There is plenty of it going on at the moment but the data to formulate way how to combat these types of attack is hard to come by as explained by Ministry of Education representative, Brenda Armstrong.
“Unfortunately we do not have the cumulative data for the country, in fact there are many instances when cases will arise that do not come to the attention to the ministry at all. Sometimes I know about the cases because of my own use of social media or my contact with other persons but I think we have to undertake a more consistent monitoring and reporting of such cases and it’s the responsibility of every one of us not just the schools; we need the cooperation of parents, members of the society , in fact I would make a public appeal to every member of the community that if you ever receive any video material anything that is detrimental to the emotional health of a young person that you don’t actively participate in the disseminating that.”
“Anecdotally from what you’ve seen how much of a problem is cyber bullying within the school system?”
“I would venture to say that responsible use of internet, the internet and digital devices is a major concern. Our teenagers and adults have not yet fully embraced the reality that what you put in digital form and make available becomes the property of everyone and that is therefore a major concern for us. Even without the documentation or the statistics on the reports the case is we do know that the problem is critical.”
The meeting continues tomorrow.