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The digital life of rainbow youth [AI Text]

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So my name's John F. Um, my, um, interest in this area, um, probably stemmed from my adolescence when I, um, realised that I was gay and, um and that probably put me on a bit of a trajectory around exploring. Um, I think ultimately, how things could be better for young queer people. Um, and that culminated in me, um, founding queer on campus at the [00:00:30] University of Auckland, which now has become uniq. Um, and at uni Q, I was, um well, quiz on campus. I was struck by how many of my friends had really negative stories of coming out and of being at school, and another bunch of them had actually had some really positive experiences. And I was doing a psychology degree at the time in education, and I decided to do [00:01:00] a master's degree looking at how young gay and bisexual men in a New Zealand understood themselves and how they experienced suicidality. Kind of with the thrust of looking at young people that had struggled and those that had not struggled. And from that, um, research came this a strong finding that, um, the amount of victimisation that young people experienced at school was correlated to whether or not they'd experienced kind of suicidal thoughts or had [00:01:30] attempted suicide. Um, and it was in the interviews with some of these participants that I was struck by the extreme levels of of violence that some queer young people were exposed to at school shocking stuff. And at one point, I thought if I ever had a child, I'd just simply want them to be home schooled because I was so horrified by what people had put up with, um and that then, um, laid the groundwork [00:02:00] for me to, um, pick up a PhD later on, um, in my role as research manager at Nets safe, which is New Zealand's cyber safety agency. Um, And in that role, um, I explored how Children and young people, um, managed challenges on the Internet and on mobile phones. So what they did online and on mobiles and what challenges they experienced and how they manage those, the point being to [00:02:30] give us some understanding of how we could better promote the well-being of Children and young people online. Um, and I suppose my, um, my kind of interest in the queer community intersect with that. So I. I see them as intimately intertwined, Really? And clearly the digital life is something that's of massive benefit to all young people. But particularly for some queer young people [00:03:00] just looking back at your own teenagehood. And what kind of digital life was there when when you were going through adolescence, I think looking back through my own life and my digital life I grew up with, um, computers. I was quite lucky because my my mother worked, um, for a an I company. And, um, we'd always had, um, crappy old P CS at [00:03:30] home that we could play around with. But my exposure to the Internet didn't begin until I started university. So and that wasn't until the sort of late, uh, mid 19 nineties. So I sort of had no digital, um, adolescence and and for most people my age in their late thirties, that would very much be the case. Um, so it's kind of interesting coming to this from a totally new angle, Um, in terms of what is it like for a contemporary young person? [00:04:00] And it's totally different to, um, a gen X kind of experience. Um, the Gen Y and the Gen Y plus has a totally different experience of growing up. What about with things like, say, mobile phones or smart? Were smartphones even invented in the mid nineties? No. Smartphones didn't. Didn't come into being until, um oh, absolutely not until, um well, not realistically until the mid two thousands. So in the 19 [00:04:30] nineties, there were those, um, crazy big, um, chunky cell phones that, um, weighed probably 500 grammes and, you know, were as big as a brick literally, um, in some cases. And so that was very much where things were at. And it wasn't until, um in the the sort of late nineties that consumers and and students and young people would start to afford those devices. So when do you [00:05:00] think, uh, things like the Internet kind of took off for kind of rainbow young people? When when was was the first kind of things like, you know, either support sites or meeting sites? Or when did all that start? That's a fascinating question, I. I couldn't tell you the I couldn't tell. I couldn't give you a specific date. But one thing that's very clear early on is that gay people and gay men in particular have always been into technology. [00:05:30] And we're very early friends of the Internet. Um, so I would imagine that as soon as the sort of, um ability to do that stuff became possible, the gay community would have jumped on it. However, I know that, um, in terms of gay youth, um, there probably weren't very many organised support sites until quite late in the piece as in, probably within the last five or so years. And that reflects, [00:06:00] um, some of the challenges in coding and putting together websites that young people can find. So it's not enough to just make the website. It's got to be accessible to young people. I'm wondering if we can do, like, a bit of a snapshot of where we are today, in 2013 for the kind of, um potentially the the kind of technologies that that rainbow youth are are using today. What? What kind of things are creating? Yeah, the, um the reality, [00:06:30] um, for today's usage is that, um, we know that a a large scale New Zealand project demonstrates that around 90% of 11 year olds in New Zealand have access to the Internet at home, and we know that, um, the biggest predictor of Internet access at home is whether or not there are Children in the household, not socioeconomic status. And so young people very much drive the use of the Internet. [00:07:00] I think for me when something's at a 90% prevalence rate, it's become normative. So from that sense, I would say that by the age of 11, it is now normative for young people to have Internet access at home. And by the age of 13, around 90% of young people have access to a mobile phone. So, um, within those those are basically the hardware tools that connect young people to the Internet. And so it depends to the extent of the [00:07:30] the hardware what you can do on the Internet on those devices. But as more and more smartphones like um iPhones and Android um, phones proliferate, um, they come with WiFi Internet access and, in some case, three G access. And that means that young people can use those devices to access the Internet, as well as gaming consoles like the PlayStation four and the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox 3 60 [00:08:00] All of these have wi-fi capability as well, so they can go online. And in New Zealand, one in four households has access to a third generation gaming console, so those are also portals for young people's access to the Internet. So essentially, you can imagine that there's a lot of opportunity for young people to go online. And the things that queer Youth, um or Rainbow Youth are doing online reflect very much what all [00:08:30] young people are doing online, particularly at adolescence. And the key thing is communicating. Um, one of the things that became apparent in my research is that rather than looking at the particular sites where young people go, it's particularly helpful to look at the activities that they're doing online and on mobile phones. Because, um, the sites on the Internet change so rapidly that a site specific, specific kind of analysis [00:09:00] fades into, um, irrelevance so quickly. Um, for instance, Friends was the most popular social networking site on the Internet and that died of death and was replaced by MySpace, which has since died of death, which was in some ways replaced by which has since started to death. And now the current, um, social networking flavours include Facebook, which is by far and away the most prevalent. Um, and then other ones that are coming up quickly [00:09:30] are, um, Tumblr, which, um so Facebook. Let me go back a step. Facebook is a site which, um enables you to have a profile where you can and it's that profile is named with your name and your photo. And you can add friends to your profile, um, through their profile. So I could add you, for instance, and I could look on your profile and see that you're friends with Bob. And I'm also friends with Bob. So I could add Bob. And that's a way that I can increase my social [00:10:00] network by connecting my offline friends, um, to my online friends and making them my online friends as well. In Facebook, I have the opportunity to publish photos I can play games. Um, Farmville is is one of the very popular games on Facebook. Um, I have the ability to email people send instant messages to people. Um, basically do a lot of different functions within the application. [00:10:30] Um, and what we find now is that there are also sort of subs, social networking sites that kind of pull one of these features that we'll see and really make a meal out of it. So Instagram is a photo sharing site, which is incredibly popular, particularly with young people, um, which enables you to share photos with friends. Um, Tumblr is a similar UM site, which really works on the Internet to share photos. Twitter is, um, also incredibly [00:11:00] popular with young people, and that enables you to do micro blogging, which is instead of a a larger blog post where you're a small one. I think it's up to 100 and 60 characters at a time, and so you can put something out there and you can tweet it to various interest groups through Hashtags. Or you can tweet to people directly. And and that's a really common form of social networking for young people as well, and another one that that is actually a social networking site. But we often don't think of it as YouTube Um, [00:11:30] which is a video sharing site and where these become social networking sites is where they enable people to interact with each other. And in that way you can see people growing their social networks and socially interacting. Are there specific things that Rainbow youth are using the Internet for? Or mobile phones for that are different from, say, the general market? I think, um, whether or not Rainbow Youth and and non Rainbow youth are using the [00:12:00] are using digital technologies differently is very hard to say. Essentially, all youth have the same developmental tasks, um, in adolescence, And that is probably when Rainbow youth come into being, Um, puberty is often where, um, the reality of sexual attraction becomes apparent to some young people. And it's within an adolescence then that this is likely to take place. That excludes the situation for young people that are [00:12:30] growing up at an early age, um, with a different gender identity to the one that they may have biologically, or young people who feel queer from a very early age. But the Internet use probably really kicks in when young people are literate enough to be able to type and interact in it. So for me, the Internet probably comes into its own. When young people are about 10 and from about the age of 12, their focus is very much on, [00:13:00] um, developing identity. And that's when you start to separate out from your family group, and you instead seek to develop a sense of what's important for you, how you feel about things, what you think about the world as opposed to the received wisdom that you've got from your family in and young people, including Rainbow Youth, use the Internet to do that in a multitude of ways, primarily through forming relationships with others. And it's informing those [00:13:30] relationships that you get a different touch point to kind of go. Oh, actually, my other friends say this and my family say this and what sits most comfortably with me. Um, they do it through getting information. I may have grown up in a particularly, um, sort of fundamentalist household. Um, and I may use the Internet to get information that, um, offers me a different world view. Um, I, um, can use the Internet [00:14:00] also, um, in a way to find out sexual information that I may not get access to in an offline world. For instance, if I'm at a school that doesn't include queer sexuality information, um, or gender identity information, and in my schooling, I may use the Internet to find that out, and we know that, um, young people will use the Internet to seek out sexual information. Um, and of course, young people use the Internet to form [00:14:30] romantic relationships, and Rainbow Youth probably may be. This is where things would differ more than for non rainbow Youth may use the Internet more to do this, because in some ways the Internet can be safer for Rainbow Youth to do relationship formation and to identify, um, people to be in relationship with why and how. Um, the the difference there is that, um, for young people [00:15:00] who are not out, um, the Internet can provide them as an opportunity to meet other young people who are either out or not out but are out online as it were. They don't need to worry about outing themselves in a physical environment, like a school or a club, or a disco or a sports team, where they may be met with some negative comeback. Instead, they can self select into a kind of dating site where they say, I am gay or I'm bi-curious, [00:15:30] and I'm interested in meeting other gay or bi curious people That means that they avoid some of the stigma of people who would react to them saying I'm gay or bi curious, for instance, So in that way it can be safer. On the flip side, it can also be more dangerous, because when you're interacting with people that you don't know, um and you meet up with those people you run the risk of, um, something negative happening to you. And so [00:16:00] rainbow youth, like all youth, who meet people face to face offline, that they've only met online, face the the challenge of finding ways to do that safely. Um, and that usually means making sure that they tell someone they trust where they're going, that they bring a friend with them, that they meet that person in a public place where there are people around to make sure that everything goes well until they develop a relationship where they feel particularly trusting and confident with that young [00:16:30] person. Do you think that happens when, for instance, if you aren't out and you're meeting people, um, online that you would actually want to tell a trusted person that you're going to meet somebody I know It's a fascinating conundrum. What do you do when your you know your first ever relationship with someone as an out person? As with one person online? Um, the challenges there are are very high, Um, and what I would recommend someone to [00:17:00] do in that place is usually people meet other people within their social network. So it's not often that you just form a relationship with one person. Usually when I would imagine that when someone's coming out, they seek out other relationships. And the key thing is to try and get a little bit of, um, background info on someone and to form multiple relationships with people that you know and eventually trust through time. It's definitely about, um, building [00:17:30] up trust in a relationship and not rushing into things straight away, which can be really difficult. I think when you've been isolated and you meet someone online who suddenly understands your experiences can totally identify with you. And the key thing to do then is to make sure that you trust them. And actually, in some ways I think there are probably always people that we can find we can find offline, who we can trust. Um, and this is the thing. They would [00:18:00] be a guidance counsellor at school, for instance, someone that you can trust. Um, they would also include people at, um Well, I suppose in some ways, by meeting someone online, you give yourself the opportunity sort of online. Um, an online meeting gives the opportunity to explore some of this stuff and to feel a bit more comfortable. And it doesn't mean that you have to rush into an offline meeting. And ironically, [00:18:30] by meeting someone online, it might give you some of the strength or conviction or motivation to go to a support group. Um, where you can be, um, where you can trust, Um, an organisation and a process to protect you. Um, because that is very much about looking after yourself and making sure that you're going to be OK. Ironically, I think actually, most, um, young people now grow up with a strong message that meeting people face [00:19:00] to face offline, you know who you've never met before is really dangerous. It's not always the case, and there are probably all sorts of ways that you can do to make it safe. If you are going to meet someone who you've never met before. Make sure you do it in a public place where there are lots of people around, Um, and never feel blackmailed into doing anything that you don't want to do. Um, that can often be something that people say they'll do or they'll be able to track you down. Or they'll tell other people in [00:19:30] your friendship network if anyone ever tries to blackmail you. Um, it's really important that you talk to someone you trust a community constable at the police station, that sort of stuff. Um, a support line, um, is critical because that's criminal behaviour. And in no way can someone do that to to harm you. Um, and if they do, that's when you have some real comeback. But that's all scary stuff. And the reality is that most young people that are [00:20:00] going to be meeting people online are gonna be meeting other young people. You're gonna be forming a relationship. Um, with lots of people, probably pretty fast. Your trajectory will probably then lead you to go to a face to face support group, um, where you'll, um, meet other young people and you'll develop a network of people that you can trust when you reflect back on, say your own teenagehood and then you look at you know what's happening now When? When When people [00:20:30] have got, you know, the Internet from the age of 10. How do you think it's changed people's development? And I guess I'm talking more. I'm thinking more on the line of, you know, like for like a AAA Rainbow person. How do you think it's It's massive. I think it's I think the Internet will have massively changed, um, the development for rainbow young people. Um primarily because media has such a profound effect on all of our lives. And if we look back at the media innovations, we had the telegraph [00:21:00] which enabled people to communicate, you know, quickly from village to village and then the telephone, which enabled us to form strong relationships. Um, we've had the novel, you know, which is a media, and we forget that books are media and all media innovations change what we can do. Um, the internet changes what we can do because it has shifted our broadcasting model from one to many to 1 to 1. [00:21:30] And so that means that as a as a consumer of media. I can I can grab all sorts of stuff myself. And I think for Rainbow Youth this is really important because it means that we're no longer subject to what corporations or national broadcasters decide as relevant information. Instead, we become the consumer of information that we can choose. So that means you're not left wondering if there are other [00:22:00] rainbow people out there like me. Um, you're not left wondering what does sex look like for someone like me? Um, what does relationships look like for someone with me? You have the ability to search that stuff out on the Internet. Um, equally, you have the ability to broadcast that information out on the Internet. Um, you can do all sorts of video blogs about growing up as a rainbow person. You can, um, do your own self help site about [00:22:30] common questions around sexuality for young people. That's that participatory aspect of the Internet fundamentally changes the proposition for this generation of young people, and it doesn't always go. Um, media effects are neither positive nor negative. Um, there will be some great things about that, and there will be some really negative things about that. The great things are access to information. The negative things are the quality of that information. Um and, [00:23:00] um, and that very much talks to, you know, developing critical thinking skills, getting multiple references for things, checking stuff out, talking with friends and also being really careful about what you in turn post online. Um, and that's where some of the negative stuff comes in around cyberbullying and electronic harassment that the plus side of this technology also enables. It enables people to easily send out some [00:23:30] very negative and harmful stuff about young people and about particular young people to their peers. Well, maybe let's let's talk about. And I'm certainly not wanting to kind of dwell on the just the some of the disadvantages of technology. But maybe looking at some of the things that are happening and looking at some of the ways that we can cope with with those kind of things, it's really fascinating, actually, um, considering how, um how electronic harassment, [00:24:00] um, affects rainbow young people. You're very true in saying that mobile phones are kind of the 24 7 thing. It's, um, in some of my research, I talk with young people in focus groups, and they compared their mobile phones to their heart as their analogy. And when their parents took their mobile phones away, they felt like their heart was being taken away. Um, and young people will also report that being [00:24:30] harassed on a mobile phone can be much more distressing than being harassed on the Internet. Because it is that single point of contact. It's this one number. It's with you all the time. Um, and that can make harassment on that particularly sensitive. Um, and one of the great things, though, is that mobile phones now present some great opportunities to manage some of the bullying in terms of a simple technical kind of function. And that is, um, a smartphone [00:25:00] will enable you to block particular numbers so that you can't receive the messages. And if you have a particular network provider, for instance, Vodafone, you can text that the number that is bullying you to a blacklist code that will enable you to prevent that number from contacting you in the future. And that's something that you can Google online to find more out about. But the reality is, though, that, um, that harassment online and on mobile [00:25:30] phones is still harassment. It's, um, actually something that no one deserves to experience. And the next step really is. If, um, blocking isn't comfortable for that young person, then we get into other ways of managing it. I should say that in my research, I found that no technical intervention was, um, more likely to resolve a cyberbullying situation. So it had no positive or negative [00:26:00] effect in actually sorting out a bullying scenario, so I wouldn't recommend it is the is the outcome from that? And in fact, the only thing that really, um, is going to help manage a bullying situation is finding an adult who can help. Um, and that's something that's really difficult to hear because unfortunately, so many schools, um, are struggling to manage bullying. Um, a lot [00:26:30] of teachers aren't well resourced. A lot of schools aren't well resourced to deal with bullying, and this means that for young people, the key task isn't just to find an adult that you trust. It's to find an adult who's going to be effective at managing the bullying. Um, this means someone who will listen to you who won't jump in to say that they'll take control of the situation. Um, they very much partner with you in dealing with it. [00:27:00] Um, that adult will also, um, understand that, um, taking the technology off you is not the solution. Um, from what we know, um, technology for adolescent young people is like oxygen. Um, developing your social relationships is the critical task. You do that through social networking and through your technology. If you don't have access to that, [00:27:30] you're going to be massively disadvantaged. And so young people will be wary about telling an adult who will suggest that they remove their technology or will instead confiscate it from them because they believe that they've been and that the technology is the problem. Uh, when in reality, the technology isn't the problem. It's the person doing the harassment. Who is the problem? So critical is finding an adult who will listen will respond. Um, and that means engaging authorities who can [00:28:00] make a difference in the school. That's the deputy principal, the principal. And it's about ensuring that the school follows its bullying, um, policy and process. That's all very fine and well for young people who are bullied by someone at school and from my research, around half of all young people are bullied by someone at school with them. So that's actually a great whack of people for young people who are bullied by someone outside of their school. I think the critical thing is, if they're bullied by someone at another [00:28:30] school, to if they've got a good adult that they trust at their school to ask them to get involved and try and engage the other school. And if that's not possible, the next step to do is to contact the police, um, and talk about harassment. If at any stage a young person receives threats of harm saying things like, I'm gonna kick you, I'm gonna kill you. Um, I'm gonna stab you, Um, that reaches the level of, um, criminal [00:29:00] conduct, and that's when the police can become involved. And that stuff is really critical. Of course, other support services like Net safe are there as well. But I think it doesn't when we when we deal with cyber bullying that involves someone not at the same school as that young person, it's really tricky, and I would encourage those young people to sort of explore ways that they can minimise contact with those young people, particularly physically if they're worried for their safety. To contact the police, [00:29:30] um, and to engage as many adults as possible who they trust, who can make a difference to do something well, there's also a role for young people themselves to play in, um, bullying and harassment. Um, that is when young people, instead of being bystanders to harassment, are able to become upstairs and really take action to help young people who are being targeted unfairly with harassment. Um, and that can [00:30:00] mean, um anonymously forwarding content to someone at school, um, a deputy principal or a principal who again, they trust to do something effective. It can mean simply contacting the person who's being harassed and bullied and saying that they've seen the bullying and harassment, and they're very sorry that this is happening and that they support them. They don't need to go head to head with the people doing the bullying and harassment. In fact, sometimes that can mean that they themselves [00:30:30] become the targets of bullying and harassment, and that's not always recommended. But what they can do is they can let the person being bullied know that they're on their side, that these people are being unfair and that they have support. And they can offer to help them find an adult who they can work with to deal with the issue. Isn't it one of the things, though, like, say, with, with text bullying that it is almost like a silent form of bullying? That actually, maybe it's only the person that's getting the [00:31:00] texts that knows the extent of That's a really good point bullying. So I mean, yeah. No, you're right. You're absolutely right. Bystanders are really only able to, um, do something when they actually see the the bullying. And so this most often happens in, um, Internet forms of bullying. So where, UM, hate pages are put up about a young person or, um, form spring, which is another site where you can set up a A survey so often people will set up [00:31:30] a survey saying, You know how gay is, John and um, they'll send that around the class and get people to fill that in. So when you see those things, obviously you can do something for a rainbow person who's being bullied on the Internet on a mobile phone, and they're the only ones getting it. It's really important that they keep a record of all of those messages. They don't delete them. Um, and if you do delete them, make sure you write down the date and time that they were received. Um, and try and keep as much of a record as possible. And take that [00:32:00] into an adult. Who can trust who you can trust, who can do something or to the police, particularly if you get any um, threatening messages. It's really important to save them on your phone and take those to the police, um, directly, Um, so they can see and they have the evidence because that's what they need before they can do anything. It's not enough for you to say that you received a message and not have the proof, so that's key. But if you are being harassed, um, as a as a young person, [00:32:30] it's really important that you seek help, Um, for that, and I would advise, um, young people to talk to friends that they trust who can help them find an adult who can do something positive. Um, And there are also helplines like Net safe and no bully. And, of course, gay line and lesbian line. Who can help out as well? In the interviews you've conducted, Um, did did the participants go and seek [00:33:00] help? Did they kind of speak up and say, Yeah, it's fascinating. Um, a lot of young people sought help for some of their, um, for some of their experiences of harassment and bullying, and, um, and in some of those instances, they, um they really got some short shrift from the people who they were working with. Um, unfortunately, some people can believe that bullying is just a natural part of life. Therefore, in some ways it's OK, [00:33:30] and it's acceptable and often good. Um, but, um, as much as bullying may be something that happens a lot and therefore to be seen as natural, it's never good. And it's always, um, something that can be prevented. Um, so some young people also talked about teachers that they spoke to who really took their side, who went out of their way to make school safe and supportive for them. One of the critical messages that, uh, is [00:34:00] I think the most important thing that we must bear in mind is that all New Zealand schools are mandated to provide a safe and supportive environment for their students. And that means, um, that they need to be free from violence. And that means also violence that happens outside of the school that comes into the school ground. So any text bullying or cyber bullying that happens outside of the school time is still relevant to the school because it's still [00:34:30] affects that young person's ability to feel safe at school. If you're being text bullied at home and then you get to school and you see those same people in your class, that affects how you can feel safe and supportive. And we know that for you to learn well and to achieve, you need to be comfortable at school. We've been talking about bullying, and I'm just wondering, can you give me some examples of of of what bullying actually means in this kind of digital world? Great. Um, bullying is actually a jargony term, Um, and it refers [00:35:00] to repeated acts of intentional aggression. So, um, bullying has to be repeated. It's got to be something that you intend to harm someone with, um, it can't be sort of accidental, Like you can often accidentally hurt someone's feelings. That's not bullying. Um, but, um, and it often involves an imbalance of power. So that sounds kind of, um, very Jakey, too. And that can simply be, um, if there are more than one person bullying the someone, So a group [00:35:30] a gang up sort of scenario, Or if, um, someone who is significantly physically stronger than someone else, um, gangs up on someone, um, or someone who's able to, um, you know, use some dimension of, um, power, which is really, um, which puts them above someone else. And they they use that in addition to their ability to, um, repeatedly harass [00:36:00] and harm someone. So that's actually bullying. And quite a lot of the things that we call text bullying and cyberbullying don't meet that definition. And that's because it's difficult to prove repetitive harassment online and on mobile phones. And that's because some of the bullying can involve tens of people sending someone a message once or twice. So they haven't been text bullied by someone repeatedly. They've been text bullied by multiple [00:36:30] people once, um, conversely, um, someone can set up one hate page about someone, but multiple people can view it, but you can never know how many people have seen it. So for me, I talk about distressing electronic harassment as a way of sort of understanding the whole kind of thing. Um, bearing in mind that also, lots of young people experience harassment that isn't distressing. They brush it off, and it is genuinely not a bother. And [00:37:00] and we know that around half of young people say that about some of the forms of harassment they experience. So I'm really interested in the distressing stuff what young people say upset them. I think that's important. And that can then take, um, a whole range of forms. Um, but the top sort of eight forms are being sent mean and nasty comments directly. Um, usually on a text message or on an instant message or on an email. Um, having [00:37:30] rumours spread about you and that can be done in multiple ways. Um, often, um, you know, usually online, um, other ways, um are having, um, threatening comments made about you, um, to you so that you're going to be physically harmed in some way. Um, other things are when people take photos of you and spread those around in, um, in bullying ways. Um, other ways are social [00:38:00] isolation and social exclusion. So if everyone in the class belongs to a particular Facebook group, um, for instance, which is a group on Facebook where you can join up and you're not invited Invited to that class, you're being socially excluded. And people do that to exclude your ability to form relationships, which is a really powerful way of harming a young developing adolescent, because that's the critical thing that you need to do as an adolescent is to form your relationships. So in [00:38:30] addition to that, we have, um, some of the more obscure forms of harassment, um, sometimes called happy slapping, which is where you may be physically assaulted by someone and and that's videoed. And then that video is put up of you. Um, that's not as common as you'd think. Um, it would be given the amount of media kind of, um, kind of concern about that. But that definitely happens. And that that is, um can be particularly upsetting for young people, [00:39:00] too. Do you think it's it's kind of worse for like 10 people to be sending one message to somebody in a hate kind of based way, as opposed to one person continually hating on someone. It all comes down to the person ironically, I think, and it depends on their their trajectory. So if they've had lots of experiences of group bullying, they may either ironically be totally comfortable with it, or they may be particularly jaded by it, and they may find [00:39:30] it really, really difficult. So I suppose for me, um, I think that one of the challenges with the Internet and more digital technologies is it does really enable lots of people to become involved and to be bystanders to some of this bullying stuff. And I think that is likely to increase the distress because it means often bullying is about being humiliated. And when you're humiliated in front of more people, I imagine [00:40:00] the distress would be greater. But again, it really comes down to the individual person and how they perceive that and and what works for them. If the person, if one person was bullying them and that person was particularly high status probably stands to reason, too, that They're going to be spreading rumours in other ways, too. So they may be particularly wary of and be very distressed that someone who's of high status is bullying them. So it really depends on the young person. [00:40:30] Have you ever heard of things where it's been turned around the other way, where the bully has been inundated with people saying, Actually, you know, stop doing this. So you've actually kind of done a almost like a proactive bullying? Absolutely. Um, there's a lot of, um, there's a lot of work being done to to try and explore the role of bystanders so that people can turn it against, you know, the the person who's doing the harassing and [00:41:00] doing the bullying behaviour. Um, and I I've heard of some of that stuff happening quite often. What then? Um, a key way of doing that, though in a way that doesn't harm the person doing the bullying behaviour is to to really set up norms that sort of say this behaviour is inappropriate and so that the challenge to with that stuff is to make sure that the person doing the bullying doesn't suddenly become the person being bullied. Um, [00:41:30] and in the in the research, it's clear that around half of the people who experience who are involved in cyber bullying also experience being bullied. So there there's a there's a big crossover called the Bully Victim kind of crossover. Um, but it is absolutely the case that bystanders can play a role in saying that the sort of behaviour is not acceptable. But the key thing is to make sure that the norms of the school support that in a way which [00:42:00] is positive and doesn't make the person doing the bullying behaviour feel particularly, um, even more vulnerable, which must be quite hard in the in the sense that in general media, there's very much a thing of kind of name and shame, absolutely. And I think one of the things that that I found really fascinating and really helpful when I was working in this area was understanding that bullying can only exist in a social environment which [00:42:30] enables it to exist. And so instead of us focusing our energy on the person doing the bullying or the person being bullied, it's really critical that we set up social environments that don't enable bullying behaviour to thrive. Um and that's where schools and youth organisations have a key role to play in setting up policies that are very clear about what sorts of behaviour are acceptable involving young people in the production [00:43:00] of those policies. So that young people have a voice and explaining about the sort of society that they want to live in in their school and in their youth groups, um, and then having clear places for people to go to when bullying behaviour happens so that this behaviour can be very effectively and very quickly eliminated so it doesn't become a norm that enables someone to become a bully and someone conversely to be bullied. Unfortunately, we know that the story isn't great for young people [00:43:30] who do bullying behaviours. Um, it's not great for people who are bullied, um, they're more likely to experience a lot of negative psychological outcomes, but not necessarily. A good number of young people who are bullied will shrug it off. And, um, and they'll be fine. Some young people will experience some really difficult things and for young people that are experiencing a range of challenges that can also produce some suicidal thoughts because it can feel like everything's getting a bit [00:44:00] too much. But also we know that young people who bully are more likely to report depression. They're more likely to be involved in future crime. Um, these are young people that are equally kind of struggling. Um, and the critical thing really is to enable an environment which can support all young people to kind of achieve their potential. Um, and that's where I think some of the the key stuff comes [00:44:30] in about supporting schools to make a safer environment and supporting social networking sites to make their environment safe as well. Um, by providing clear policies, being very, um, quick to react and not naming and shaming people, instead exploring that bullying isn't something that exists solely within the individuals. It's people who bully bully because of their life experiences. And, um, often [00:45:00] because they are really struggling themselves and they're looking to find a way to feel better about themselves or to. And they do that by disempowering others and putting themselves on top. You mentioned earlier about that. You know, one of the one of the things that probably adults would do would be say, Well, just switch your phone off. Give me the phone. You know, um, so you and and instantly you cut that line of communication off. But in doing that, you're you're kind of almost ostracising the young person from their social [00:45:30] group. That's I think one of the most critical critical messages in the in the bullying literature for me around cyberbullying is that taking young people's technology away in the hope of kind of removing, um the harm from harassment also takes away all their positive social supports. Um, and that's something that's really easy to forget. And and but it's massively critical. Um, the Internet and mobile phones provide young people [00:46:00] with access to people who will harass them, but also tell the young people that will provide them support the young people who will invite them to parties who will invite them to the movies. The young people who will share with them gossip about what thing they've seen on YouTube. What happened on Gossip Girl last night? Um, all of the social interaction that they desperately need to develop, um, as human beings. Um, so taking that away from them really puts them on the back foot massively and that will be associated with some [00:46:30] form of anxiety. It's difficult for you if you're a young person and you you don't know consciously. But instinctively you'll know that you want to find more out about the world. You want to have friendships, you want to be social. And these tools are key for you being social for Rainbow youth, who may be at a school where they don't have many friends, Um, these tools may be critical in connecting them [00:47:00] to other people, um, who can provide the supports that they can't get at school. And I think in that way they can be even more powerful, um, as a resiliency tool for young people. So taking the technology away is one of the the worst things you can do. That's not to say that some young people may say they want to break, you know, and they just want to put the phone down for a weekend, and if they want to do that and on their own, you know that feels right for them, then that's that's what [00:47:30] should happen. Um, but it's definitely not about coming in over the top and, ironically, for an adult to do that for a teenager, they'll simply, um, access the Internet elsewhere. They'll go to the library. They'll go to a friend's house, they'll go to an Internet cafe. They'll go to a gaming salon. Um, and, um, if you take their cell phone away, they'll go to the supermarket and buy one for $20. So, um, it's really, um we're dreaming. If we think there's any point in trying to control young people's access to technology, [00:48:00] Um, you'll just drive the use underground and really lose an opportunity to be there as a partner and mentor and supporter for that young person. You also mentioned earlier about the idea that, you know, um, teenagers are thinking that they, you know, it's their heart. Their you know, their smartphone is, you know, part of them is there, um, any kind of movement towards trying to get, um, teenagers to see that actually, you can [00:48:30] live maybe with less technology, or, you know, you don't need to check every five minutes or here I am sounding very but you know, or or is it Is everyone just going? Yeah, this is great. We need to embrace this as much as we can. Or are there other movements saying, Well, actually use it, but it doesn't need to control your life. I don't I don't, Um I don't hear a lot of that movement within the current, um, generation. I know that, um, I know that there have been [00:49:00] books written about some of this stuff, and I wonder if there's probably, um, a little bit of a honeymoon phase that we're going through with some of this technology. The research definitely demonstrates that as much as we think we're really great at multitasking, we're not, um, we we do have very limited ability to attend to multiple things at once. And so while young people can do this and they can look pretty good at it, um, the reality is that they would probably do better if you know [00:49:30] you're going for a block of studying to turn the phone off. On the flip side, it can be really useful to have you know, an instant message of blocks up there and to be collaborating with your colleagues when you're studying for things. So So it does kind of depend. One of the things that's very difficult is that these technologies are commercial technologies. They're made to be therefore very entertaining. And in some ways, um, incredibly playable and doable. [00:50:00] And in that sense, um, their business model builds in a certain level of kind of addictive behaviour. Um and so I think you have to have be a pretty strong young person to be able to withstand the, um the kind of the onslaught of the the technical engineering around this stuff. When you look at your own use of, uh, smartphones, Internet, social media, does it be any relationship to that of, say, like a 20 [00:50:30] year old? No, I think it used to I would I I pride myself as being one of the first people to have a Facebook account when they when they went, um, when they enabled people outside of the US school to have one. And I was one of the first people to get a Twitter account. And but my usage of those is so sporadic because I simply find that I don't have the time to do that in addition to the other things. But that reflects that, um, I'm probably in a different phase of my [00:51:00] life where, um I have. I'm not seeking to develop a lot of social relationships. I have friends that I've had for lots of years. Um, I don't need to regularly touch base with them. I'm in a full time job where I have very little time to to do some of that stuff. And I have a partner. So some of that stuff will, I think, be dependent upon your kind of life circumstances. Um, and earlier, I would have used this stuff a lot. Um, but now I simply [00:51:30] don't have the time.

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AI Text:September 2023
URL:https://www.pridenz.com/ait_the_digital_life_of_rainbow_youth.html