Friday, November 8, 2019

When Lessons About Digital Citizenship, Online Safety, & Cyberbullying Fall Short



Recently I came across the following articles that made me stop and reflect on how we as school librarians and educators teach and address issues with digital citizenship, online safety, and cyberbullying with our students, yet fall short of the most insidious influences to which our children are increasingly falling prey.

Dvorak, Petula. “Perspective | White Supremacists Are Recruiting White Teens Online. Parents Must Stop Them.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 Aug. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/local/white-supremacists-are-recruiting-white-teens-online-parents-must-stop-them/2019/08/15/5169c192-bf69-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html.

Gibson, Caitlin. “'Do You Have White Teenage Sons? Listen up.' How White Supremacists Are Recruiting Boys Online.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 17 Sept. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/do-you-have-white-teenage-sons-listen-up-how-white-supremacists-are-recruiting-boys-online/2019/09/17/f081e806-d3d5-11e9-9343-40db57cf6abd_story.html.
Written by Anonymous | Published on May 5, 2. (2019, May 14). What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/05/05/what-happened-after-my-13-year-old-son-joined-the-alt-right/

These three articles recount the ways in which extremist groups are targeting vulnerable kids, playing on their frustrations and feelings of isolation to gradually grooming them by providing online acceptance, building friendships based on common topics of anger, and desensitizing through gradually more and more exposure to extremist memes and other tactics. When the kid being groomed by these extremist groups, specifically white supremacists, is already dealing with emotional instability the end result can sadly continue to add to the staggering statistics of “white men (and boys) committing more mass shooting than any other group” (Kruzel, 2017).



One platform popular with extremist groups are sites like Reddit, specifically the use of memes, and multiplayer online games. The use of images to desensitize people to racist views is not new. Disney, Warner Brothers, and Dr. Seuss are among some of the most well-known creators of cringe-worthy examples of conditioning deep discrimination and hatred towards particular groups of people through images and film.


I don’t have the answers to how we start addressing these issues in our schools and libraries, but I do know that we need to start having some serious conversations. Our children's lives are literally at stake.



References

Anonymous | Published on May 5, 2. (2019, May 14). What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son    
     alt-right/#M-O-A-R-

Disney's Big Bad Wolf was dressed as a Jewish peddler stereotype (video). (n.d.). Retrieved from
     http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/08/disneys-big-bad-wolf-was-dressed-as.html

Dvorak, Petula. “Perspective | White Supremacists Are Recruiting White Teens Online. Parents Must      Stop Them.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 Aug. 2019,
    www.washingtonpost.com/local/white-supremacists-are-recruiting-white-teens-online-parents-mu
    st-stop-them/2019/08/15/5169c192-bf69-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html.

Gibson, Caitlin. “'Do You Have White Teenage Sons? Listen up.' How White Supremacists Are    
     Recruiting Boys Online.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 17 Sept. 2019,
     www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/do-you-have-white-teenage-sons-listen-up-how-
     white-supremacists-are-recruiting-boys-online/2019/09/17/f081e806-d3d5-11e9-9343-40db57cf6
     abd_story.html.

Kamenetz, A. (2018, November 05). Right-Wing Hate Groups Are Recruiting Video Gamers.
     Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2018/11/05/660642531/right-wing-hate-groups-are-recruiting-
     video-gamers

Kruzel, J. (2017, October 06). Do white males account for a majority of mass shootings? Newsweek
     Weekly. Retrieved from 
     https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2017/oct/06/newsweek/are-white-males-responsi
     ble-more-mass-shootings-an/

McCann, E. (n.d.). Horribly Racist Moments From Looney Tunes You Missed Growing Up.    
     page=2

Seuss, Dr. (1941). Adolf the Wolf. PM Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.snopes.com/fact-
     check/dr-seuss-adolf-wolf/
 
Strom, A. (2019, September 25). Understanding Dr. Seuss' Depictions of the 'Other' in his Political
     Cartoons - Re-imagining Migration. Retrieved from https://reimaginingmigration.org/dr-seuss-

Zara, C. (2019, April 20). Columbine 20 years later: This map shows every school shooting since.
     Retrieved from 

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