Understanding Cyberbullying

We recently wrote a blog discussing the importance of creating digital learning spaces with our students. These relevant and meaningful ways of communicating online assist our students in learning to be responsible and effective communicators no matter the tech tool used. We want students to understand that the internet provides opportunities for connecting with like-minded people and collaboratively learning with others. We always hope that our students and children use good judgment when they are online, however, there are times when comments are posted that are hurtful and meant to humiliate another person.

Image result for cyberbullying

What is cyberbullying? 
As defined by Common Sense Media, the use of digital media tools to deliberately humiliate and harass others often and deliberately. Cyberbullying is similar to face to face bullying. It can be harassing someone, pretending to be someone, or spreading rumors. The use of online tools enhances the embarrassment because it becomes more public in the online social world. Online tools can also make it easier for the offenders to send hurtful messages, spread the rumors or write painful comments on the internet as they are not face-to-face with their target. On the other hand, anything written and posted on the web is permanent and ultimately impacts the reputation of both the target and offender.     

Did You Know?
“Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once.” So, think about the number of students you see in a day. Could be 24, could be 124. It’s impacting many people you know, but you may not be aware of it. We hope that this blog post will allow you to Take a moment to learn about it and what you can do to help a targeted person.  For more statistical facts about cyberbullying visit Dosomething.org 

Where does Cyberbullying happen?
The internet provides many avenues for cyberbullying. The most common websites or apps are
  • Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter 
  • Text Message sent through devices
  • Instant Message, whether it is on devices, email social media services
  • Email     
This creates easy opportunities for the targeted person to save the evidence for documentation of the incidences because it can be traced and found on the internet later.                          

What can you do about it?
Statistics show that bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide. Don’t let a person you know become one of those statistics. 
  • Ultimately when someone comes to confide in you about being bullied, show him or her empathy. 
  • Do something about it such as contacting the school counselor or another school leader who can help the student and the situation.
  • Talk to your students about cyberbullying and being an “upstander” and not a bystander. *Stand up to the offender. 

As educators, we all have the responsibility to address it. Just as we would take an in-person bullying event seriously, when a student or even your own child comes to you and admits they have been a victim of cyberbullying, listen to that student and give them the support they need.


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