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Tuesday 19 June 2018
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Tobago

Roxborough students warned about cyber-bullying

Students of Forms Three and Four of the Roxborough Secondary School were on Tuesday warned against using social media to send threats to and post negative comments on others.

At a Round Table discussion on Tuesday morning with some 30 students in attendance, Guidance Counsellor Leslie-ann Davidson described cyber- bullying as damaging to students and their school’s reputation.

The students were also urged to think about each other’s feelings as every action on social media has consequences.

Davidson reminded the students about the damage caused by posting images of school violence on social media and urges them to understand that bullying was not a normal act.

“Something is going on with that bully and we as the peers might not be able to identify what it is but what you can do to assist is draw the situation to the attention of the teacher, guidance counsellor, safety officer or social worker.

“They should be able to go into the background of that person, conduct interviews with that person and their parents and find out what is going on. More often than not, the attention that person is seeking is not fame; it’s just for someone to love them. Don’t encourage the bullies and take out your phone and give them that kind of attention to post on social media to defame your school and your character,” she said.

She added:

“The whole purpose as a student is to build a foundation in school so that when you get older you can be constructive and successful. We don’t know where we will end up, but we want to try to make an effort to think through the choices we were presented with. We want to make sure that we are making the choices that have the best consequences.

“This type of violence is causing disturbances in the school between teacher and student, teachers and teacher and sometimes on the way to school and returning home. I understand a lot of people are saying cyber-bullying cannot stop, but if we all think how we would feel if someone defames us or our relatives on social media, we have to start to care.

“Let’s not promote it, in that way if we start to care and empathise with each other, then we can fix the problem.”

Davidson also cautioned the students to be careful about the personal information they were posting on social media and the effect it may have on their chances for future success.

“When you use these electronic devices, whatever you put out there, it is always there, even if you delete it, and that can be used as evidence against you.

You have to be mindful that whatever you put out there is traceable and can be brought right back to haunt you. When you apply for a job, your employers will see if you were posing naked 10 years ago and that’s it for your opportunity,” she warned.

The discussion also touched on sexual and emotional violence in schools.

WPC Nicola Sampson from the Community Policing Unit called on the students to become a champion against violence.

She said, “if you make bad choices you will lose track of your goal, what we do is train children to plan their goals and work assiduously towards getting them.”

Sampson also advised students to separate themselves from violent situations and seek advice and help from those in authority to prevent school violence.

The Round Table discussion was one in a series taking place at four secondary schools this month, and which is focussing on the theme, “Violence and the Impact on Youths.”

The initiative was established in 2008 by the Division of Sports and Youth Affairs and is intended to raise awareness of issues affecting young people at secondary schools and proposed on solutions.

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