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White House advisor to talk on cyber bullying, at Birkbeck event

On Friday 25 November, Birkbeck will welcome Justin Patchin, Associate Profe...

Justin Patchin, White House advisor

On Friday 25 November, Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics will welcome Justin Patchin, Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and advisor to the White House on the issue of cyber bullying,  to speak at a seminar entitled Cyber bullying on the rise: Can things change?. The seminar will involve a range of international experts from work and school to share their knowledge about cyber bullying.

Alarmingly, research carried out at the Cyberbullying Research Center in the United States shows that, on average, about 27% of teens have been the target of cyber bullying at some point in their lifetime (about 12% had experienced it in the previous 30 days).  The researchers also found that about 17% of teens admit to cyber bullying others. These results were consistent with the weight of the cyber bullying research that has been done internationally.

This inaugural event will provide crucial insights and expert views on the issues and myths around cyber bullying at work and at school, analysing social behaviour, current technologies, and the effectiveness of policing methods.

Chaired by Dr Andreas Liefooghe, Head of the Department of Organizational Psychology, the panel includes:

  • Once a bully, always a bully? Or can we change?
    Justin Patchin, Associate Professor at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, US, will cover a broad overview of cyber bullying and discuss the role of teens and adults in preventing and responding to inappropriate online behaviours
  • Cyber bullying at work v.s. at school
    Iain Coyne
    , Associate Professor in Occupational Psychology at Institute of Work, Health and Organisations, Nottingham University, will share some of the revealing findings from his two latest research projects which examine individual adults’ experiences of cyber bullying
  • How to build a positive web culture 
    Andy Phippen, Professor of Social Responsibility in Information Technology at Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, and a research partner with the UK Safer Internet Centre, will talk about the use of ICTs (information and communications technology) by children and young people, and their attitudes toward privacy and data protection, file sharing and internet safety
  • Nearly one in five UK children is victim of cyber bullying and with girls targeted most...
    Jette Kofoed and Jessica Ringrose, Senior Lecturers at Institute of Education University of London, will share their insights on ambiguous tales and affectivity in cases of sexual cyber bullying
  • Do teachers have the power to punish cyber bullies?  And top tips to stop cyber bullying
    Peter Smith, Emeritus Professor at Unit for School and Family Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, will talk about cyber bullying from an international perspective and the effectiveness of anti-bullying strategies in schools
  • Sonia Livingstone, Professor of Social Psychology and Head of the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science. Sonia  directs a 25-country network, EU Kids Online, for the EC's Safer Internet Programme and serves on the Executive Board of the UK's Council for Child Internet Safety.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Dr Andreas Liefooghe shed light on the topic of cyber bullying, which is receiving increasing attention from academics and practitioners, explaining that it is often unintentional. “Email has no tone of voice,” he was quoted as saying. “So you might get a message that says ‘Thanks very much’ and interpret it as sarcastic because you’re in a bad mood. People really need to try to keep the subjective stuff out of email.” The article went on to explore the impact that technology has had on work-place bullying, with Dr Liefooghe saying:  “With handheld devices, people shoot from the hip. But if you get an email from your co-worker or boss that makes you angry, I’d always advise you to send it to yourself, then read it a bit later. Ask yourself how it comes across.”

The full article, ‘When colleagues go viral with backbiting', appeared in the ‘Business Life’ section of the Financial Times on Friday 18 November. (A subscription to the Financial Times website is required to access the online version).

The seminar next Friday is free to attend, but booking is required as spaces are limited.

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