This has to stop.

I’ve been pretty sad and broody for the last little while.  A major news story in my local (Ottawa) media this past week was the death of a 15 year old student, Jamie (it’s also been reported here in Montreal, as well as across Canada) .  Jamie had a loving and supportive family, but he struggled with clinical depression.

He was also coming to grips with his sexual orientation.  Every day, kids at his school yelled hurtful obscenities at him. They called him “fag”. He tried to establish a safe space in his school for himself and kids like him, by starting a Rainbow club.  Other kids tore down and defaced the club’s posters.

Last Friday, Jamie committed suicide.

I am so, so heartsick by these stories of young LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) people who take their own lives because it seems like the only way for them to end the suffering inflicted upon them by their tormentors.  A 2010 study published by Zhao et al. of McGill University and the McGill Sexual Identity Centre showed that queer-identified youth are at greater risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts than their straight counterparts.  Yet, for some reason, we’re not talking about this problem.

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Empathy and cyberbullying: What’s the connection?

Is the Internet making us less empathic? asks UCLA researcher Gary Small. And then you have Jean Twenge who talks about a new generation called Generation Me.

With all of these blanket statements in magazine articles and books, it’s hard to discern the truth at some point.  Sifting through all of this information can often cloud one’s own view of reality.  Are youth really narcissistic?  Is it really because of Facebook? MySpace? YouTube? Because they have me-centered titles? (more…)

Under 13s on Facebook?

A recent statistic shows that 7.5 million Facebook users are below 13. What’s more is a whopping 5 million are under 10.  At the same time, Ofcom’s (in the UK) study shows that the increase of 5 to 7 year olds using Facebook has grown from 7% to 23% from 2009 to 2010.

And this just in: Zuckerberg is ok with it.  In fact, he thinks that under 13s should be allowed on Facebook.

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And I have no compass, and I have no map. And I have no reasons, no reasons to get back.

 On a cloudy, rainy …late October day such as today…I find it hard to find focus to do work.  Part of me wants to nap all day, but part of me wants to reconnect with something inspirational and start writing.  Because this isn’t my personal blog, there are certain opinions and ideas that I will have to leave out.  However, I was reflecting on certain things today about my “grad life” experience.

 

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I’m not like them, but I can pretend.

If you went to high school in the 90s you know those lyrics.

Even if you go to high school today.  You know those lyrics.

And why am I alluding to them?  Why do I want to remind us of high school? Well, simply because in the past week CNN has had a lot of coverage on the topic of bullying and cyberbullying.  And so have many other news channels.  In fact, on the cover of People magazine, they’re talking about cyberbullying and bullying. “Teen suicide tragedies: Deadly bullying.” it reads.
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Culture, values, and cyberbullying.

So I started off my Master of Arts at McGill, after having commenced graduate studies at Concordia in the Educational Technology department.  Having worked as a Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Animator, I had some previous experience working in schools and teaching.  I then went on to work at the National Film Board of Canada on a program called CITIZENShift where I was able to do some research about alternative education, and that lead me to where I am today – McGill. (more…)

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