This Review will be brief, as the author has written an article on the subject of her book and it appears elsewhere in this issue. She is tackling a subject which is new, in that the technology to bully on the Internet has only been available for a few years, but which is as old as the human race, as bullying has always been an unpleasant aspect of human behaviour.
Vanessa Rogers takes a practical level-headed approach to her subject, directing her book at children, young people and their parents. It is only 129 pages, nicely designed, and laid out accessibly and simply. It is A5 landscape, and looks and feels easy to use. In the first 24 pages she describes cyber-bullying and gives clear advice, but the bulk of the contents lay out things that parents and children can do in the event of facing cyber-bullying.
As she emphasises, the activities do not require technological skills. Essentially, bullying is one aspect of the way in which we relate to each other, and the exercises which she suggests offer different ways of identifying the problem and facing up to it so that it can be managed without people being unduly hurt. Indeed, learning to cope with bullying – cyber or not – may well help children and young people face pressures in later life, at work or in their personal relationships. If so, dealing with bullying successfully can be seen positively as part of the child’s development – whether as a victim or a bully.
The reviews of the book describe it as “a useful little book”, “packed with advice, games and activities for groups and individuals” “with their accompanying worksheets … simple, yet effective and well thought out”, “very insightful and necessary”, “a must read”, “another surefire winner”, “an invaluable addition to the youth worker’s armoury”, “a good reference book for a public, school or home library”, “written in easy-to-understand language”.
So, the moral is that cyberbullying is a real challenge and can be extremely hurtful to children and young people, and, as new technology is here to stay, it will not go away. But it can be addressed, as other human relationship problems can be managed, and the involvement of technology which may be unfamiliar to many parents does not mean that the problem cannot be addressed and resolved.
We recommend this book for children and young people to read, but also for their parents and professionals working with them.
Rogers, Vanessa (2010) Cyberbullying : Activities to Help Children and Teens to Stay Safe in a Texting, Twittering, Social Networking World
Jessica Kingsley, London
Paperback: £9.99 / $16.95
128pp ISBN: 978-1-84905-105-7, BIC 2: VFXC JNHB JKSB1