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THE HIDDEN COST OF CONNECTIVITY: THE NATURE AND IMPACT OF ONLINE HARASSMENT AMONG SCHOLARS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Chandell Gosse1, George Veletsianos2, Jaigris Hodson3, Shandell Houlden4
1Western University; 2Royal Roads Universtiy; 3Royal Roads University; 4McMaster University
A growing body of research examines the relationship between scholars’ engagement with online platforms and their experiences with online harassment (Vera-Gray, 2017). Despite an increase in such research, this area remains under-explored (Jordan and Weller 2018). Experiences with online harassment can influence what scholars’ choose to disseminate online, how they engage, and can impact their mental well-being and result in serious professional consequences (Barlow & Awan, 2016). Because of such chilling effects, it is vitally important to study the problem of online harassment in academia. This paper uses the concept of economic vandalism (Jane, 2018) to understand the damaging impact of online harassment. Economic vandalism describes a new form of workplace harassment that includes online spaces and addresses the way online harassment can cause “professional and economic harms” (Jane, 2018, p. 576). Using this framework and survey methodology (N=182), this paper addresses two questions: First, what triggers the harassment those working in higher education receive? Second, what is the nature of the online harassment experienced by these workers? Our findings show that the harassment experienced by academics is closely tied to the core activities of the profession and identity of being a scholar. For example, a frequent trigger for abuse, such as one's teaching activities, and type of abuse, such as having one’s credentials questioned, make scholars more vulnerable by virtue of the work they do. The impact of online harassment reported by our participants supports Jane’s (2018) assertion that online spaces are an extension of workplace harassment.
11:40am - 12:00pm
INTERNET SAFETY EDUCATION: HOW WE EDUCATE OUR GIRLS TO BEWARE OF OTHERS, AND OUR BOYS TO BEWARE OF THEMSELVES
Ariel University, Israel
Alongside its many advantages, the Internet presents a variety of challenges and risks to adolescents. From a perspective focusing on information flow processes, this study distinguishes between risks resulting from exposure to information, i.e. exposure of adolescents to inappropriate content: Harmful, sexual or violent, and risks resulting from exposure of information, i.e. disclosure of personal information online, privacy harms inflicted by the user or others, misuse of personal information which can result in identity theft, physical and sexual assault. The study examines gender differences in perceptions regarding adolescents’ online uses, habits and risks, and whether these lead to differences in emphasis of educational messages delivered by parents and teachers to adolescents. Based on a mixed-method study combining survey conducted among 513 adolescents and 50 semi-structured interviews with educators and adolescents, the findings illustrate how a common perception that girls share more personal information online and are (consequently) more vulnerable to online predators leads to more emphasis given on implications of personal information disclosure in messages delivered to girls. On the other hand, boys are considered naughty and nosy, searching for “forbidden”, mainly sexual, content, and emphasis is given on limiting and monitoring their searches and video consumption. Apparently, although parents, teachers and adolescents proclaim to be aware of the similar risks to boys and girls online, there is a message interwoven in internet safety education discourse: Girls are to be aware of others looking to harm them, and boys are to be aware of themselves, their curiosity and evil inclination.
12:00pm - 12:20pm
CRITICAL PEDAGOGIES IN INTERNET STUDIES: TEACHING FOR CHANGE
Curtin University, Australia
There are urgent reasons for considering whether, as academics, we place our trust in the current system or whether we try to change it. Research offers one pathway towards supporting efforts for positive change, but we should not neglect the potential of our teaching work. Academics within Internet studies have unique possibilities for engaging in critical pedagogies, supporting students in understanding and challenging oppression. I draw here on ten years’ experience teaching in Internet studies, student and peer feedback, and the literature on critical pedagogy and decolonizing academia. I suggest that where possible we reflect on the texts we set students; redesign assessment; considering being vulnerable with students; and challenge restrictive policies and procedures (such as those around late submission of assignments). These approaches rely on trusting students, and on building their trust in us without relying solely on our institutional authority. As a field we need to actively and explicitly discuss how, and what, we teach.