Sunday, 1 February 2009

Fake charity peddles the usual fear and angst

The SMH decided that it was a good idea to run a story about MySpace bullying, even though the report was put together by what I would call something verging on a "fake charity". At least they were honest enough to note that the report was released by the "federally funded Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies"

To me, the report looks like a waste of trees and our tax money, but I guess it must have kept a few luvvies employed in this time of economic desolation. If Krudd gets his way with democratic socialism, expect an army of the unemployable to be marching the streets, looking for problems that can be investigated and reported on with an appropriate research grant.

The idea of a "fake charity" was brought to my attention by the always swearable Devil's Kitchen. The little devil has made a career of unmasking report peddling "charities" as front groups for various government agencies.

In this case, the report calls for more training for teachers. It would therefor not surprise me if we found that the Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies was funded by the Education Department, which is always looking for an excuse to extract more tax dollars from Treasury.

Don't you love the way the public service uses our money? They use our money - money we paid in tax - to fund a bogus report with the sole aim of using that report as leverage to get their hands on even more of our tax dollars.

This report tugs on all the usual heartstrings. The big unspoken one is "won't someone think of the children?" Bleah.

What I don't get is why teachers and schools should be involved at all. The report makes it clear that students are bullying other students in their free time after school, using computers provided by their parents at home. This is a job for parents. I hate the modern idea that teachers are supposed to raise children, rather than parents. Parents are the ones that should mould and shape their kiddies - they have to do the hard yards. All teachers should have to do is apply a bit of polish here and there.

I liken it to carving a statue out of wood - the parents carve out the main features with a chisel or chainsaw, creating the statue from a block of wood. All a teacher should have to do is sandpaper off a rough edge here and there, or chip off the odd splinter. However, many parents seem to have given up on wielding the chisel, abrogating that responsibility to teachers (by which time I think it's way too late in many cases).

Anyway, I don't see what teachers are supposed to do about cyber-bullying when they have a tough time dealing with physical bullying.

What a waste of time and money.


nic said...

I'm glad you have picked this one up as it really gets my goat.

Firstly, teachers are responsible? Most of this bullying is conducted at home on computers given to children by their parents, supposedly supervised by the same.

Secondly, who is going to give teachers the authority to go after such issues? Will teachers be backed if they took on such a task? No chance.

Teachers can help in these sort of situations, though there is no point in blaming them if parents are never part of the solution.

The irony of one of these publicly funded peace and love wank-fests advocating more control within schools is beautiful.

Aus_Andrew said...

Speaking as a teacher - who has had to deal with MySpace bullying - I would rather not have to deal with it at all. The problem is that the parent of the "victim" (who is actually the victim can be hard to untangle) often demands the school "do something".

Because both (or all) of the parties involved are usually students of the same institution, they have some grounds (their child would not be bullied by this particular individual if they did not attend the same school), and the fact that (if unresolved) the bullying usually progresses/ is resolved "behind the bike shed", schools feel compelled to respond.

The fact that said parents are also likely to complain to the regional authority if nothing is done just adds a foul tang of urine to the excrement sandwich the school is being forced to consume.

The new social media have added an unregulated arena, and until those who actually run them learn to also moderate them - or parents just teach their kids to use them appropriately the problem will remain. You are absolutely correct that most teachers would prefer to the whole damn thing just went away.