Blog ranting, Cyberbullying and Freedom of Expression


Today I faced a situation I never handled before.

I happened to read a pupil’s blog about her daily rantings. Basically it is ‘dedicated’ to two anonymous classmates whom she deemed as bullies. I will not reveal the blog address but here are 2 excerpts:

“…since you have no true friends….And please, don’t insult people’s taste of books. We are not like you, who read all those sophisticated books and text and not even get the top in class for Composition…And you don’t have to act so arrogant and pround when ask about your percentage for the examinations.”

“Well, then, should I call you a rapist the next time you hit me hard for no rhyme or reason? And anyway, if I was the most hated girl in school, then explain how more then 80% of the school coghort either not know who I am or is my very good friend? You are not any good guy all right, get this clear!”

Here’s my advice to her tagboard.

Well, anonymous personal attacks on others online reflect badly on oneself as well.

She didn’t respond to the message. Instead another reader defended her with a series of messages. I shall quote most of them here:

completely disagree. a blog is an outlet of expression. you should be allowed to post what you want.”

“with responsibility, yes. but look at the attacks. they are harmless and aren’t vulgar.”

“she did not superficially write abt her them by calling them names or making unreasonable comments.”

“in fact, she was just expressing the injustice she felt , and perhaps get their understanding.”

“if, in a blog, she is not given the basic right of expressing her feelings, then, there’s no point.”

“and by feelings i mean her emotions. cos this is an online diary.”

I did engaged in a small debate with this reader who happened to be an ex-pupil of my school in the tagboard and later on MSN.

It did not turn ugly anyway, as he held strongly to his opinions on freedom of expression in blogs. I did gave him a scenario of permanency in information online, but the pupil was not convinced.

I ended the conversation in quite an amicable fashion (at least i felt) by saying his views were thought provoking and I had learnt more about digital citizenship, from the perspective of a pupil🙂

My thoughts:

1. Pupils blog to express themselves. Unfortunately, most inspirations came from the negatives of their school lives. While we can encourage pupils to blog the positives, negatives are inevitable.

2. How to strike a balance between freedom of expression and responsible blogging?

3. What if Cyberbullying is a form of retaliation of real-life bullying? In other words, how can we advise pupils who made online personal attacks on real-life bullies?

4. Are rantings about classmates considered Cyberbullying? Even they have little or no ill intentions?

Any comments? Have I done anything right or wrong?

3 comments

  1. Pingback: 101 Articles » Blog ranting, Cyberbullying and Freedom of Expression
  2. Y'von

    hi, just happened to see your blog and entries while looking for resources. what i wanna say is that..everyone can blog freely, however to rant gracefully is a unusual technique that we should be learning.

    i have students scolding vulgarities…when i challenged them to scold using chinese idioms. haha…all failed to do so. lol.

    as long as students dun land themselves into trouble such as police reports and etc…den that will be okie.

  3. tucksoon

    Hi Y’von,

    I do agree ranting is part and parcel of blogging. Who doesn’t? lol.

    However, doing it without inflicting damages on others is something most kids are unable to. Even adults can’t master this ‘unusual technique’ you mentioned, we can’t expect kids to know it in the first place.

    I believe the authorities has stepped up on studying the impact of new media on society (http://www.aims.org.sg/). It’s also a good time for educators to look into this issue beyond Cyberwellness education in schools.

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