Last night I was shown a clip of Australia’s number 1 cyber bully, Tristan Barker. This story featured heavily in the New Zealand press where he is currently living with his father.
I suppose what brought this to home was that I coached this young person in a Saturday afternoon basketball competition at Sandringham Stadium. He, along with a few others including my son, played for 2 seasons and while I can recall Tristan showing a certain bravado and “look at me” attitude nothing prepared me for the shock of this episode.
So what you may ask. Well I’m paid as a Principal to know young people – and yet didn’t see this as his coach. So what must parents think when they are confronted with this about their child? I would hope horror although by one story I saw this didn’t seem to be the case with Tristan’s dad.
What can we learn …. I would hope that nothing replaces parent conversations (not lectures) with their young ones and nothing replaces the parent support of constant internet supervision in the home.
There are times when I feel that society (expectations of its institutions e.g courts and schools) goes too far in support of the rights of the individual verses the rights of the community but here clearly is one example where the community is saying enough is enough. My feelings go to the victims of the cyber bullying before we as a community (in this case the police) make that call. I know as I have been called in my local community as a Principal to make a similar stand like that of the police in this case. It’s not easy to face people (victims) knowing that you have to build a case but that’s the process the community expects – just in case we get it wrong. Yes we are fallible.
What’s your call?