Bradley Debrick has an interesting post up on the ALSC blog dealing with the latest form of school-aged torture: cyberbullying. When you encounter a cyber bully, the prevailing wisdom is to immediately disengage from the activity and tell your parents. But what happens when your parents are not around and the cyber bullying is occurring at the public library?
As more and more libraries begin reworking their Internet safety policies to reflect the changing realities of social networking, instant messaging, and Web 2.0, this issue seems particularly important. We want children to not only use our library’s resources, but feel comfortable and safe doing so. I, for one, also like to think that if one of my kids is experiencing any sort of bullying in the library (be it cyber or otherwise), they will feel comfortable coming to me for help. The pressing question is: what advice do I offer when the bad behavior is occurring virtually? Or what about when you suspect one of your own users of doing the bullying? Under what circumstances should you seek to locate and inform the parents or guardians?
If you have a good policy covering these issues, or just some good ideas on formulating an up-to-date Internet safety policy for your library, leave your comments for Bradley at the ALSC blog.