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Saturday, June 15, 2024
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EditorialsUp Front 03/10

Up Front 03/10

Whilst having my car fixed recently the mechanic showed me how a part that was originally a technological bonus, simply made it harder for him to fix something that once would have been relatively easy. As most of us are realising, the same can be said for the internet. It has revolutionised much of how we live and communicate, but many people have been victims of identity theft, had their bank accounts rifled or even made online payments to non-existent businesses. During the recent publicity about bullying in the workplace, the issue of cyberbullying has also been highlighted. It occurs when computers or mobile phones are used to harass or bully somebody. Cyberbullying can be more serious than conventional bullying. The bully often uses SMS, e-mail, chat-rooms or Facebook to spread bile about their victim, and unlike conventional bullying at school, the child isn’t left alone on evenings and weekends. Worse still, in some cases it can be hard to identify the perpetrator and whatever is said spreads very quickly and may be difficult to remove from the internet – in fact, in most cases, it will be impossible. There are various websites offering advice on how children should deal with the problem and most suggest talking to a trusted adult as the first option. Which makes the dialogue in the current public debate about what is and what isn’t bullying, very important. Once upon a time youngsters didn’t get much access to public debate but these days many of the websites they visit offer them plenty of detail on current affairs, including political and corporate comment. Debating the difference then, between bullying in the workplace and ‘spirited management’, needs careful handling, if victims of cyberbullying are going to feel comfortable discussing their problem with an adult.

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