Dec 22, 2013

College students give sixth graders lessons in social media safety

BY BOB ROBINSON
ASSOC. EDITOR
GREENVILLE – “Cyber bullies tend to be into alcohol or drugs or they’ve experienced physical bullying… and they typically have low self-esteem.”

That was one of the messages six Edison Community College post-secondary students delivered to sixth graders at Greenville South School Dec. 13 about bullying, cyber-bullying and how to use social media safely. The students were members of two Communications 121 Public Speaking classes at the Edison Darke County campus.

“You can’t tell bullies by the way they look. They come in all sizes, shapes and forms.” Cyber-bullying can occur through cell phones, Facebook and a variety of other social media outlets. The main negative to this type of bullying is it can be done anonymously, and it can be constant; seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

The Edison PSEOP students, who are juniors and seniors from Fort Loramie, Greenville and Franklin Monroe high schools, pulled the sixth graders into the discussions by asking questions and getting their feedback. For instance, most of the younger students were aware of the 13-year-old age limit. However none of those using Facebook were 13.

They liked Facebook because it allowed them to communicate with friends and relatives who live far away.

The Edison students explained various ways to stay safe using social media and emphasized what the kids needed to do if they thought they were being bullied: “Tell an adult! Immediately!”

The South students were members of Mrs. Hottle’s sixth grade Language Arts class. The Edison students were Rachel Hainline, Cori Jeffers, Cassie Gray, Madison Schlamb, Alyssa Baumgardner and Jolena LeMaster.

Giving a speech to a “diverse” audience (high school to sixth grade) was not on the Edison student agenda nor had it been done before in previous public speaking classes. All six acknowledged they would not have considered this possible at the beginning of the course. They were nervous enough just getting up in front of their classmates.

Following the presentation, Hottle asked her class how the students did. There was agreement they did a good job, noting especially sequence, statistics (to support their statements), volume, effective engagement with the class and building on each other’s presentations. They also noted it was an effective sixth grade topic and the speakers shared personal experiences.

Rhonda Schaar, South School principal, later said Hottle had “great things” to say about how her students benefitted from the experience. Schaar added all three of her sixth grade language arts teachers would like to participate in the spring. Her fifth grade teachers are expressing an interest as well.

Left to right: Rachel Hainline, Cori Jeffers, Cassie Gray, Madison Schlaumb, Alyssa Baumgardner and Jalena LeMaster talk to South sixth graders about bullying, cyber bullying and social media safety. (Bob Robinson photo)

Students in Mrs. Hottle’s sixth grade Language Arts class interact with the college students, answering and asking questions. (Bob Robinson photo)

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