Local News

May 3, 2013

Breaking Down Walls

OSKALOOSA — They brought negative words from online into the physical world and broke them down.

On Wednesday, several William Penn University students enrolled in a Social Media class, broke down a pair of “walls” with hurtful language on them in an effort to shine light on the issue of cyber bullying. This was done as part of a project for the class, dubbed “Break The Wall.”

Cyber bullying includes the use of insulting or hurtful language via the Internet, especially on social media Web sites.

William Penn University junior Melanie Mackey presented information related to cyber bullying before she and others took turns breaking down the “walls” with hammers. This was done as part of a final project shared by several students for the class.

“Throughout the class, we talked a lot about social media and the Internet and how it’s growing and it’s becoming a really big part of our lives,” explained Mackey. “With all the great things that it offers, it also offers a lot of negative things.

With kids that grew up with it — our age group specifically — you see a lot of negative views, a lot of hurtful things being said and that kind of thing can lead to a lot worse consequences.”

Earlier this week, Penn students in the Social Media class visited Oskaloosa High School, as well as the Penn Activities Center, to find young people to write examples of hurtful language on the “walls,” said Mackey.

“We asked students to write things they’ve seen or said or heard,” said Mackey, adding that any swear words were written in “comic book style” using symbols instead of words. No actual names of people appeared on the “walls” either, said Mackey.

A Facebook page called “Break the Wall” was initiated by the Penn Social Media students, said Mackey.

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