Your Respect Hero:
Detective Tim Alford

Tim ATim Alford has been a member of the Evansville Police Department for 15 years. He has served as a motor patrol officer, school liaison officer with the North High School district, and is currently serving as a Juvenile Detective. He is also a member of the Crises Negotiations Team and active member of the Suicide Prevention Coalition. Tim also serves on a child abuse task force sponsored by St. Mary’s Hospital. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Southern Indiana.

Special thanks to Jeff Tron, ICATS, for bringing us today’s guest blogger.


Respect

Respect is a powerful word. It is something we all hope is shown to us by others. Most students show respect daily to their teachers and classmates by following the rules and not disrupting class. If they don’t, consequences are given that might include a suspension from class or serving detention. What about showing digital respect? How many can say they also follow the rules and show respect while online? Many students may feel they do in fact show respect online. But consider these actions: 1) Taking a picture of someone, whether friend or not, with or without their knowledge and then posting that picture on a social site such as Instagram or Facebook, or sharing as a text message; 2) Letting off some steam and frustration posting “I hate him.” or “I want to kill him.” 3) Sending unwanted “teasing” messages to someone using inappropriate language; 4) Making fun of someone for their looks, beliefs, or abilities.

These four actions are examples of situations that have led to much more than just a class or school suspension. They’ve led to involvement by the Evansville Police Department and criminal charges. Situations that seem harmless to students soon lead to serious consequences when the police department gets involved. When school officials receive reports of harassment or bullying that have occurred online, they can contact the police, seize student netbooks, phones, or other devices, and an investigation by the police department’s computer forensics unit takes place. This unit has the ability to access data that students may think they have successfully deleted. Students are responsible for content on their devices even if they have not authored the content.

Students need to protect themselves from being a part of online bullying and disrespect. What can they do to protect themselves if they receive inappropriate digital communication? One option is to ignore the behavior and not respond or add comments to existing disrespect. While that is a smart move, students must also act heroically and report the behavior to parents or school officials. The Evansville Police Department takes the issue of harmful communication very seriously and works hard to protect students from online bullying.

You can be a digital hero and protect yourself and others from serious, legal consequences by not participating in negative and harmful online communication and by reporting it when observed. I challenge you to use technology for good and show respect to all people. If I can be of service to you or you have any questions, please contact me at talford(at)evansvillepolice.com. Thank you for reading my post.

Thoughts…

What would you do if you found yourself involved in an online bullying episode? What does it mean to be an upstander rather than a bystander? Share your experiences, good and bad, so that we can all learn together.

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Bill is an eLearning Coach helping to facilitate meaningful integration of technology to enrich instruction, engage students & develop 21st century skills. He is dedicated to enthusiastic, dynamic and technologically rich teaching as a means of creating and nurturing a lifelong love of learning in children. He has over 15 years of classroom experience and was the 2006 Outstanding High School Educator for Vanderburgh County. Currently he is a doctoral candidate for a Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology degree with an emphasis on integrating technology, learning, and psychology. Bill maintains an active presence as presenter on the eLearning Conference circuit. He has a supportive wife Jeneen and wonderful son Zander.

227 COMMENTS

  1. I myself have been the victim of online bullying and it wasn’t a good time. It went on for a long time and I constantly felt like no one was there to help me. I just wanted it all to stop. I know how it feels, and that’s why I make sure that I never do that to anyone. I always think about the person and think about how I don’t know what’s going on in their life and what makes them how they are. I know that everyone is different, so I don’t discriminate against anyone, especially online.

    • Haley, this is great advice. We truly don’t know what kind of things are going on in other students’ lives. They may have just lost a family member or have a parent in the hospital and they are worried about them. These situations could change a person’s mood. We need to remember that before we go posting things about anyone. Thanks for the reply!

    • Haley,
      I hope you were able to tell an adult that you trust that this was going on. I’m glad that you recognize that we really don’t know what’s going inside someone. Keep it up.

  2. If I was watching bullying being done online I would definitely defend the kid being bullied. People that bully others most likely are hurting inside as well, and this is their way of making themselves feel better. An upstander is someone who will stand up for someone. A bystander is someone who will just stand by and watch it happen without action.

  3. If i was found in a online bullying episode i would talk about the good thing not the bad. When you are a upstander you stand up for other people not just your self. When your a bystander you just watch other people.I have never been bullied. But I have helped other people when they are bullied they were getting pushed around and were getting made fun of.

  4. If I found myself in an online bullying episode I would hope I was the one stopping the bullying.
    It means when you see something that’s not something good you do something.
    I respect my mom so I don’t get in trouble.
    I don’t respect my brother because he is not the boss of me.

    • Do you think that even though your brother is not the boss of you, that you should still show him respect as a person and as a family member?

  5. I would try to make the person who was bullying stop. A upstander is where you stand up for the person who is getting bullied. A bystander is where the person who is not standing up for the person whos getting bullied.

  6. A upstander is someone who stands up for the person that is getting bullied a bystander who watches bulling when its occur! I would stand up for anyone getting bullied because i will not like it if i was getting bullied i would be sad if they dont stand up for me!

    • Very true. It is sad. Peer Pressure can be so tough. Even as an adult, you can’t give into the worries that come with not falling in line with what is expected just to appease your peers. I’d like to say that as an adult you won’t get pressured, but at least you have more experiences and does get easier to say no or stand up for your beliefs.

  7. OK, I would report if the person was being cyber bully. And being an upstander means standing up for people who are being bully. And when I was on an art website called Deviantart someone said “ur aurt is so uglee!” and yes she actually used that language, and she had a link to my page and it said worst art ever, So then an admin finally had enough and reported her, It turns out she was a pirate, she traced other people’s drawings and she uploaded the same writings. So she got banned for copyright and cyber bullying. So that’s my experience,

  8. Showing respect online is something every person should do. Something we post may not seem mean or harmful to us, but it may to someone else. Showing people respect will make other people show you respect as well.

    • Nicole – You are exactly right. The words we write carry no inflection with them, so what we mean may not be what is interpreted on the other end. We have to be careful to choose our words carefully. And never post when angry! Thanks for sharing!

  9. What I would do if I were involved in online bullying is?I would tell and show my parents what has been said and if that person went to my school I would tell a teacher or the principal.

  10. If I found myself in the midst of an online bully I would try and help the kid that is being bullied. I think the difference between an upstander and a bystander is an upstander would stand up and try and do his/her best to help the kid. A bystander would just stand by and watch it happen and not do anything about it

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