Bullying and Peer Violence Videos as Teaching Tools?
A colleague sent me an article detailing how pictures and videos of bullying and other forms of violence posted online – student on student, or student on teacher – can actually be used as a “teachable tool” and to “wake everyone up.” Parents can sit down with youth and watch them together, and convey lessons about appropriate and inappropriate ways to deal with conflict. I actually don’t agree with this. A recent discussion among other colleagues has focused on whether video content that ostensibly shocks the conscience can be used to teach adolescents about wrong and right behaviors. Research and anecdotal accounts have shown, though, that images (shown to accompany the stories of victims) of drunk driving crashes do not largely deter DWIs long-term (see here, here, and here). This is perhaps because the content is not viewed in a serious, grave light – but are rather casually dismissed as commonplace or irrelevant since youth tend to be desensitized to violence due to television, movies, and the Internet. It also may be because of an invincibility complex among teens, or an inability to fully relate to and internalize the possibility of it happening to them.
I think that since youth see physical fights often (as compared to adults) – either on school campuses or in the neighborhood – that seeing them captured in video and posted online will not really strike an alarming and dissonant chord in their minds. Kids look up these kinds of videos on YouTube for entertainment. It won’t surprise them. It won’t deter them. It won’t all of the sudden convince them that punches and kicks are completely unacceptable ways to resolve conflict.
What do you all think?