Teens, Technology and Cyber Bullying

Home Teens, Technology and Cyber Bullying

December 7, 2017

After an incident involving students behaving inappropriately through electronic devices, Sonoran Trails Middle School principal Bill Dolezal decided to tackle the problem that faces many schools today.

Cyberbullying and sexting is growing problem. According to the CDC, about 15 percent of high school students say that they have been cyberbullied within the past year. The percentage increases to 20 percent with the number of students that have been involved with sexting, a form of explicit messaging of a sexual nature.

With the number of students being sent to his office for technology violations, Dolezal decided to use this opportunity to teach the students about the good and bad side of technology. The school worked with a local psychologist and developed an entire curriculum on the subject. 

Dr. Lisa Strohman, founder of what’s now known as the Digital Citizens Academy said this on the subject, “We talk about inappropriate posting. We talk about digital reputation, plagiarism and then cyberbullying,"

"What I'm really proud of is the diversion program," Strohman said. "Which is really a program of when they make a mistake, because they will online, how do we compassionately and responsibly give them options and help them find their way back to center."

Based out of Scottsdale, Strohman said that although teens have not necessarily changed, technology has.

"When I was in school I may have had 1,500 or 2,000 kids in my high school that I was either known or not known. Kids today now are competing with 3 million users online at any given time," she said.

Sonoran Trails Middle School is part of a growing number of schools that are adding digital responsibility and awareness programs to the curriculum. Dolezal has seen a drastic 70 percent decrease in the number of technology referrals being sent his way. However, just as technology changes, schools must adapt to the different ways that students may learn to use new technology 

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