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Cyberpsychologist Mary Aiken slams online bullying efforts



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One of the world’s most respected cyberpsychologists is warning schools on online bullying and how tough it is to stop.

According to Dr. Mary Aiken, a forensic psychologist, and producer of CSI: Cyber, the rise of social networking sites have left schools defenseless against forms of cyberbullying, including sexting and online harassment.

Additionally, Dr. Aiken believes that teachers should not be held responsible for doing all the legwork in regards to playing detective, as Tes wrote.

“There’s been too much emphasis on making schools and parents responsible for dealing with issues such as cyberbullying and sexting when I would say these are societal problems,” said Dr. Aiken.

She followed by stating: ”It’s an issue of regulation and governance. It isn’t fair to expect parents and teachers to police children’s behavior in a cyber context because it’s impossible for them to do so.”

In August 2016, Dr. Aiken released her book The Cyber Effect, which describes how humans are introduced to the cyber world right after birth.

There needs to be more attention on how technology affects human behavior for babies and adolescents to understand how cyberbullying arises.

“The reason we get this sort of behavior online is there’s a perception that nobody is in charge – that’s because nobody is in charge.”

Dr. Aiken believes sexting between adolescents — 14-year-olds, for example — is not a ‘criminal’ issue, but more a ‘social’ one.

Another problem related to sexting is the fact that young adolescents are being exposed to inappropriate material online, causing new behavioral changes researchers need to address.

Furthermore, teachers can confront cyberbullying by getting teachers to form a lobby group, Dr. Aiken said.

“I think where teachers could be most proactive now is to form a group to say they want to be part of the bigger conversation. The problems are ending up in the classroom, but there’s a greater societal responsibility to sort them out.”

Jose Florez is the founder of Mental Daily, a psychology blog and news aggregator. His previous work has appeared in Psychology Today, HuffPost, Glamour, Lifehack, and others.