Cyber Bullying Is The Topic With Diane Feffer

Kathleen Mills

Kathleen is a creative and gifted therapist who has extensive experience in helping children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of issues.

SUMMARY: Diane Feffer shows documentary films of social significance, and shares the how and why with Kathleen Mills.

Episode #35 | Diane Feffer Screens Documentary on Cyber Bullying

Kathleen Mills-Proprietor, Counselor at Life Tree Counseling
Phillip Crum-The Content Marketing Coach
Diane Feffer-Owner, Diane

Kathleen Mills: You’re talking about being creative.

Diane Feffer: Right. So um.

KM: You know, your growing up in Alaska has kind of made you think outside most people’s comfort level because-

Phillip Crum: We’re just bantering here.

DF: I think I… I think that’s one of the factors that I contribute – just being a critical thinker, thinking outside of the box. I know that’s a phrase used a lot. You know, because it’s all about the quality of audience that you want at one of these events. You want people and the topics tend to draw people who are interested. The cyber-bullying event is going to draw a lot of parents that have teens. I’m not expecting a lot of kindergartner moms to come out because they’re not at that moment yet when they’ve given their son or daughter a mobile device. But once they have, and they start checking it.

KM: Or the schools have issued iPads now.

DF: Mmm hmm. That’s right. That’s right.

KM: So.

DF: And most schools are telling children, “Do not let anyone borrow this iPad. And it’s not so much because you may lose it, but it’s because that is your iPad and that’s you. Every message coming from it is from you. So if someone borrows it and says something…”

KM: Right. Adds another layer of responsibility.

DF: Mmm hmm. Yeah, at a young age.

KM: Yep.

PC: What kind of project are you working on right now?

DF: Well, this Thursday, which would be tomorrow, I’m going to be showing Submit the Documentary, which is a film about how to prevent and respond to cyber-bullying. And it’s appropriate because it’s back to school, and as you said, many children are receiving iPads or are asked to bring their personal computers to school. And they’re reconnecting with friends that way. All of a sudden, the activity is up. What are you wearing? What are you doing? Are you going to this dance, that dance?

KM: Right. What was I going to say? Prevention of cyber-bullying is addressing how to manage the technology?

DF: It is.

KM: Good.

DF: Right. It’s just learning that you’ve got a highway coming through your house 24/7 when your child has a mobile device. And as one of my therapist clients put it, it’s sort of like seeing a head-on accident happen but it never comes to you fully. It’s just always there, always there. And that’s why there can be some paranoia set in with adolescents because if something inappropriate is going around about them, they don’t know who all has seen it yet in the school. And they’re constantly worried what’s being said now. And many times, it’s not true.

KM: Well, and they don’t have… they’re too afraid to talk to their parents.

DF: And this is one of the topics that’s brought up in the film, is one of the main reasons children are afraid to tell their parents that they’ve been harmed or insulted, their feelings are hurt through their mobile device, is because they fear that that device will be taken away. That’s the first thing that comes up in the film. And that’s why they harbor all of this. And because the risk of losing that phone then they’ve then disconnected.

PC: Tell me about the- we’re just talking. We’re not doing anything yet so. You know the events that you do, the film screenings, what are some of the positive benefits that you’re seeing after the fact? Like from the point of view of Polly, the counselor out there that needs to grow her business. What really could she expect to see from that sort of thing by participating?

DF: Sure. Well here’s two examples of how I … just feedback I’ve received from consumers really. One was I showed a film on teen diabetes. And there’s a scene in the movie where the alarm clock goes off at 3 a.m. Now I had seen that film a couple times before I showed it – I never realized myself the significance of that and I received a letter from a viewer who said, “Thank you so much because every parent with a child with diabetes knows that alarm goes off at a certain hour in the night, and that’s when we all across the world go check our son or our daughter’s insulin level. And there was just this reassurance that there’s other people like me, because when you’re in the moment you almost think that you’re alone. That you’re the only parent that has this.” But then on a more I guess, maybe a constructive level, I received some feedback from a parent that their school had gone to a no-homework day after I had shown the movie Race to Nowhere. And Race to Nowhere was about teen anxiety across America. The film actually went to the west coast, to Middle America right in Indiana and then to the east coast. And it interviewed children. It interviewed instructors at schools. But it interviewed people who were developing curriculum for schools and college placement officers, and how kids are expected to not only get good grades, but to be a good civic leader, to do community service, Eagle Scout, play an instrument, be athletic. And yet take full advantage of all these AP classes if you want to be selected to the right college. So, is it a wonder that we have a higher stress level with teens? And so I did receive feedback after I showed that movie several times in Dallas that one school had gone to a no homework day for that reason. That was sort of a way, a wake up call. The movie was a wake up call. And on that same thought, that same movie, I received a call from a parent that said they realized they had their child in a school that wasn’t appropriate for them. That they needed to move that child, that he had been reaching out but they didn’t really see those signs.

KM: Right. Yeah, I have parents all the time in my office and I’m amazed at the lack of permission that they give themselves to actually parent their children. They feel like they can’t because of exactly all this stuff that the school is saying. Let’s say, little Johnny or Susie, has got to be. And there’s now, you know, the parent power is taken away. Then they add a laptop on top of it, and then it’s sort of like, “I can’t parent my kid anymore because school is telling me that little Susie or Johnny has to do this by tomorrow.” Does that makes sense?

DF: Right. It does.

KM: And I’m telling the parents, “Stop it. You call the school because you’re shutting the technology down at this time. Take your power back.” And I think that’s part of the stress with kids, too, because there’s this free reign of all this stuff.

DF: And I think it used to be your child would get in the car when you picked them up, and you would ask the child, “Well, what all went on today? Who’d you eat lunch with? What do you have for homework?” Now the parent actually knows before they pull up into the carpool because it’s all on their online system. And so, you know, I can imagine some kids are sort of drilled.

KM: Like a glass window. Little bubble. Right. Awesome.

PC: Does Eric know to be here at 8:30?

DF: I told him 8:30 but I wasn’t sure if this was going to start at 9. I wasn’t sure if there was a window so it’s fine. Do you want me to text him right now?

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