Social media has entered Los Gatos classrooms. These apps let kids have intra-classroom and intra-school communication in a safe, secure environment. The teacher provides feedback to the student if the content is considered inappropriate.
What disturbs me about the app. at my kids’ school (its legal team has asked me to remove its name from the article.) is that the layout, color palette and user interface mimic Facebook’s. Unwittingly, this tool trains the kids to use Facebook. Once children get their own Facebook accounts, the learning curve is almost nonexistent, thanks to the classroom tool.
Once on Facebook, kids will have access to the EnemyGraph app. Bullies can create lists of people they hate, and invite others to comment. Here’s what the app includes:
- Ability to declare an archenemy
- Ability to create an enemy list (specific people, institutions, concepts)
- Ability to invite friends and random users to comment on your hate list
- Ability to publish EnemyGraph list across Facebook
Most cyber bullying happens on Facebook. According toAmanda Lehnhart of Pew Internet and American Life Project, 39% percent of kids using social networking sites experience harassment. Facebook’s EnemyGraph is an additional tool in bullying arsenal.
EnemyGraph creator Dean Terry, views his work as a conduit to communication. Terry states, “This app opens the door to wondering if there’s a way to draw people together against something that in turn results in positive social change, or at least brings [people] together in new ways.” Seriously?!
Even though cyber bullying happens off campus, it’s a problem that needs to be addressed by a school’s administration: since it creates an inhospitable learning environment. However, many districts are reluctant to take action.
If your child is bullied, working with the school administration is not the only remediation. Cyber bullying is a criminal offense (a Class C felony) and legal decisions are already of the books. Punishments include jail time, probation, restraining orders, and a criminal record.
Is there an upside to EnemyGraph?
Yes there is. Bullies have a difficult time backing away from their actions, since Facebook provides excellent documentation of what was said, who said it, and who participated.
We can hope that bullies develop a sense of empathy and halt their behavior. Short of that, they may stop to avoid steep legal fees prosecution.