In today’s society, technology is everywhere. We rely so heavily on technology to ‘get through’ our day that we often feel helpless without it when it’s gone for any reason. The relationship between our students and technology can practically be described as symbiotic. They use their cell phones unconsciously regardless of environment, school or home, public or private.
While passing out lunch passes to students in the morning, one student was recording herself singing to create a video. She behaved how you would expect from someone crafting a music video. She didn’t seem concerned that other people were around her. Her videography was occurring while she was in line surrounded by roughly 30 people. When I asked her a question, she surfaced from her focused video-making as if I’d just interrupted her from a nap.
Seamless, constant interaction with technology is a way of life for my middle school students. While they might have some idea of what is appropriate use of technology, they don’t understand why they’re prohibited from using it at certain times. If the moment strikes them to text, tweet, video, or snap, they feel entitled to do so. When challenged to refrain, they’re often confused as to why.
Sadly, Shea Shawhan, a former, special needs high school student of Plano West Senior High School in Plano was the recipient of hurtful and inappropriate texts. Unwarranted, ruthless texts were sent to the teen attacking her fashion sense and encouraging her to die. Fortunately, her family and community rallied around her and started a positive campaign entitled, “I’m With Shea“, to combat the cyber attacks. Sadly, the students responsible for the texts targeted Shea for no apparent reason. Re-routing software that hides the identity of the sender made investigations particularly difficult in the case and make cyberbullying easier.