Last week I was the moderator of a panel about Cyberbullying in Cork. Organised by Sean Kelly (MEP) and featuring a range of experts including Patricia Cartes (Facebook), Aisling Parkes (UCC), Avril Ronan (Trend Micro), Padraig Cotter (NUI Maynooth), Anthony Whelan (European Commission) and Sean Fallon (AntiBullyingCampaign), it was one of the most interesting events I’ve been to in a very long time.
The panel talked for almost four hours. The questions could easily have lasted the same again. My brief bullets don’t even begin to do it justice;
-The European Commission and EU seem to be focused mostly on the issue of user verification
-There is an ongoing debate about what the division of responsibility is between teachers, parents and even government
-Facebook’s User Ops team and associated tools have a strong focus on connecting people directly with other humans to resolve bullying issues (rather than trying to process internally)
-There has been a structural change in technology over the last five years: The knowledge gap between parents and kids is now bigger than it’s ever been before (although it will probably start to improve).
-Up to 35% of people in society may have been bullied at some point. And almost a quarter of those who are bullied never tell anyone
There is a lot of misinformation and general bandwagon-jumping that happens when the topic of cyberbullying is discussed. None of that happened here. If you’ve the time to research the names I mentioned above, you’ll find some really interesting material.