Author Trudy Ludwig is passionate about teaching young people ways to stand up for themselves and one another when bullying occurs. When Ms. Ludwig talked recently to elementary and middle school students in a Portland area school district about cyberbullying, she emphasized two words: public and permanent. Texts, pictures, and online posts feel very of-the-moment to kids. Each day there is new information coming their way, and yesterday’s status update is old news. However, Ms. Ludwig made it clear that even when you delete unkind texts or inappropriate pics, they are never completely gone. There is a record in cyberspace and the information is indeed permanent. She also discussed the idea of public vs. private. She told kids, you may think you are only texting your BFF, but you have no way of knowing who else it may be forwarded to or shared with. Whether using a smartphone, laptop, or other device, information sent online is public and permanent.

PBIS Tip: These days, more students have access to technology than ever before, but too often little instruction occurs with how to use these tools appropriately. Ms. Ludwig compared it to handing over the keys to your car. We have a system for teaching young people how to drive; shouldn’t we offer guidelines and education when we give kids a cell phone? This week, consider taking time to talk to your students about appropriate use of technology. While they may know more than you do about the latest social networking site or what LOL and ILY stand for, you know best when it comes to teaching kids about their behavior. Look for teachable moments to discuss this with your students. Emphasize two words: public and permanent.

TTYL (talk to you later)

Courtesy of Danielle Triplett
PBIS Coordinator for Gresham-Barlow School District

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