Windsor’s “Bullying Awareness Week” to focus on cyberbullying next year

The University of Windsor Student Alliance (UWSA), in collaboration with Windsor Pride, has concluded their “Bullying Awareness Week” after much success, and UWSA president Rob Crawford is already thinking about next year’s event.

Darko Milenkovic

Special to the Lance

The University of Windsor Student Alliance (UWSA), in collaboration with Windsor Pride, has concluded their “Bullying Awareness Week” after much success, and UWSA president Rob Crawford is already thinking about next year’s event.

Crawford said that cyberbullying is a very real concern, and that the UWSA will focus on it during the next annual Bullying Awareness Week.

“It would be a good recommendation for next year’s anti-bullying event to focus on cyberbullying,” said Crawford.

According to Kaye Johnson, Director of the Office of Human Rights, Equality, and Accessibility (OHREA) at the University of Windsor, there were issues on campus with cyberbullying the previous year. Someone had created a “fashion police” Twitter account, with the handle @uWinFashionPoli and shared pictures of students at the library.

“Cyberbullying is something that is important for us to consider,” said Johnson.

She explained that cyberbullying differs from the ‘traditional’ bullying as it could potentially happen 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and reach its target even when they are home alone. It can happen at any time of the day or night.

When “Bullying Awareness Week” kicked off this year, R.J. Mitte from the television show Breaking Bad delivered a keynote address at the Caboto Club. The 21-year old actor suffers from the same condition as his onscreen character Walter Junior: cerebral palsy.

Due to this physical disability, Mitte said he had been bullied both physically and verbally.

“Who here has Facebook? Instagram? Twitter?” R.J. Mitte asked his audience of about 2,000. “All of you that didn’t raise your hands,” Mitte continued to say, “You guys are liars.”

Instant communication and social media has paved the way for cyberbullying, said Mitte. Bullying does not stop, and it can transcend media.

Crawford thinks that cyberbullying could potentially be more dangerous due to the lack of direct interaction between perpetrator and victim.

“When you’re in a real world social situation,” said Crawford, “there’s room for face-to-face confrontation, and a lot of people step down from that. But with cyberbullying there’s no possibility for that.”

According to Mitte, the best way to deal with cyberbullying is to keep friends around you for support and otherwise to simply try to ignore it. Kaye Johnson disagrees.

“Ignoring [cyberbullying] is not effective,” said Johnson. “Sometimes it gives people permission or they feel empowered or they really want to get a rise so they up the ante. It’s always a good idea to let people know of the bullying. Ignoring something does not mean it will go away and it does not mean it will not impact you.”

 

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