Here’s the manifesto made by the students after the two-day event. They, likewise, brought the same advocacy to their respective schools and even lobbied the local government to support the advocacy.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Salesians of Don Bosco, and Child Protection Network joined forces and held a youth conference on cyberbullying called Shift-CTRL-Del: Cyber Teens Responsible Leaders last October 17 – 18 at Bayfront Hotel in Cebu City.
Over 340 students, educators, and guidance counselors from about 100 public and private schools of the cities of Mandaue, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, and Dalisay attended the said cyberbullying conference.
It is both a pleasure and honor to be the main speaker of the two-day cyberbullying learning event, capping the 1st day with a session for teachers and guidance counselors.
My talk for the youth revolves around social media as a double-edged sword. Emphasizing the need to be mindful of their behavior. The internet is a neutral tool, but their behavior will determine if the outcome of the online experience will make or break them and their families. Reminding them too, that neither the democratic space they enjoy and their inclination for fun should not be used as a license to commit cyberbullying and other forms of online abuse.
My time with the educators, on the other hand, is more of facilitation to get the best practices that will help address the difficulties of both teachers and guidance counselors.
Admittedly, the majority of those in attendance admit they lack the competency to handle online abuses and laments that the anti-bullying law is not properly implemented. Add to that, since not all public schools have guidance counselors, a teacher doubles up to that role.
The most important issue that was raised, is the lack of policy or mechanism that will also protect educators from abusive kids (and sometimes parents) who also bully them online (cyber baiting) and offline.
Here are some of the suggestions noted during the session.
- Those in attendance can start networking amongst themselves and share best practices
- Lobby school officials to incorporate cyber wellness in the faculty development program to bridge the digital divide and train them to handle cyber abuses.
- Lobby school officials to strictly follow the provision of the anti-bullying law, especially on educating students and parents, and the restoration/counseling requirements.
- Lobby to Dep Ed to formulate a policy that will also protect the teachers from student and parent bullies
- Tap the available resources, both online and offline, to help them enhance their competence to handle cyberbullying and other forms of cyber abuses.
- Child Protection Network will launch a website specifically to help educators and youth alike to combat cyberbullying.
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