More on cyber bullying….
Early this year ABC Radio National did a ‘Street Stories’ production titled “We’re Watching You”. For those of you who’ve read Destroying Avalon you’ll know that is one of the text messages Avalon is sent. For those of you who’ve heard me publicly speak you’ll know it is also the title my publisher suggested for Destroying Avalon– back when it was A Person of Interest (that’s another post!!). Anywho- the ABC story is about cyber bullying and went to air on the 18th February 2007. It was produced by Annie Thomson and it is a fantastic resource for a discussion on cyberbullying.
I was listening to it again, I have it as a podcast- ahhh the wonders of technology (if only it was used for good- not evil) and Annie Thomson has created an amazing documentary. She interviewed me, a school teacher, a victim of cyber bullying and her mother, and two girls who were caught cyber bullying. We were all interviewed separately, and, as is the producer’s job, Annie pieced the stories together, linked with some lovely readings from Destroying Avalon.
What struck me as I listened to it was the ‘sameness’ of what we all said. Remember we were interviewed separately. But Annie used one person to lead into the next, if I stated something I’d researched, the victim of cyber bullying was later heard illustrating that point. I guess the sad thing is research reflects true stories- this kid (whose name was changed to protect her) is a living example of how damaging cyber bullying is. And coupled with that we hear the voices of the perpetrators. For me it was interesting to hear the dynamic between them. The ‘minion’ was remorseful and in a way it was heartening to hear her breakdown- she cried when she told of how she was punished for her part- mostly by the other girls at her school. She even showed evolution when she stated how she’d learnt from the experience. But the ringleader! Shudder- she was remorseless. Her attitude was still “So what?” But then underneath it you heard a very lonely and rejected kid- she made reference several times to the fact she was a boarder and ‘wasn’t close to her parents’.
I think the success of this production lay in the clever juxtapositioning of victim and bullies. Even the fact it was one against two- symbolic of the nature of bullying. Even though these kids weren’t linked (the 2 girls weren’t this particular victim’s bullies) the similarity of their stories was chilling! To hear the voice behind nastiness and then the deeply affected voice of the victim is something I think all kids should hear.
Maybe it will teach them empathy? At the least understanding?
It’s a fantastic resource that should be used in schools.
Congratulations Annie Thomson.
(If you look in My Pages- I’ve created a page with links to this story- but I don’t know if the audio is still available via the Net. You may have to contact ABC directly. It’s worth it though, promise!!)
I was sent this address-
try it, they seem to carry quite an archive of Street Stories- scroll down to 2/17/2007 We’re Watching You and download for your listening pleasure!!!