Understand the connection between teachers and cyberbullying.
Kelly was upset that her teacher gave her an F on her research paper. She gave up her Saturday night date just to get the paper done. Needless to say, she was fired up about failing. Kelly vowed to make the teacher pay for treating her so unfairly. As soon as she got home, she signed up for a popular social media site and anonymously posted vulgar remarks about the teacher. Soon after Kelly’s initial post, the page was littered with degrading comments and pictures from other students at the school.
Kids are not the only ones who can become victims of cyberbullying. Teachers often find themselves on the receiving end of this practice. There are even sites set up so kids can rant and post slanderous reviews about their instructors.
Once educators realized that the trend of Cyberbullying was growing, two of the largest teaching unions banned it together and demanded that states enact legislation to protect them from this practice. Some states have heard their demands and have passed laws making it a crime to torment or intimidate teachers online.
Teachers and Cyberbullying: Why Kids CyberBully Teachers
Kids are impulsive, so they tend to do things without thinking them through. The rise in social media sites lends itself to this impulsivity. When kids get angry about something, it is easy for them to hop on the computer, create false profiles, and mercilessly slam their teachers.
Kids are not likely to walk up to their instructors and call them drunks or drug addicts to their faces because they don’t want to deal with the emotional reactions or consequences that might follow. Most kids would never say things to their teacher that would get them kicked out of school. But since kids don’t have to see their victims when they’re online, it is easy to post nasty things without feeling bad or worrying about the repercussions of their actions.
Preteens and teens also want to be accepted by their peers. When they see others in their school bashing teachers over the Internet, they feel like it’s the “in” thing to do, so they follow suit. Kids are also inspired by others. If they see their peers bullying educators online and getting away with it, they may decide to do it too.
Teachers and Cyberbullying: Protecting Teachers From CyberBullying
After a teacher has been ridiculed, humiliated, threatened and lied about online, it can be hard for him to return to school and do his job effectively. Situations like this can take a toll on the victim’s self-esteem, well-being and health. In addition, it can stall career progression or cause teachers to abandon the industry altogether.
As an educator, you may feel like your hands are tied when it comes to dealing with Cyberbullying; however, there are some things you can do to reduce instances of this behavior. Dealing immediately with incidents of bullying is the best way to minimize the damage.
Look yourself up often. Go to search engines like Yahoo, Bing and Google and look up your name or any nicknames your students may call you. If you find inappropriate comments or videos posted about you, contact the site administrator and report them. More often than not, the administrators will either remove the comments from the page or remove the perpetrator’s profile page altogether.
Do not mix your personal and professional life. Schools are increasingly encouraging educators to communicate with their students and their parents via email and social media accounts. This can make it difficult to keep the lines of personal and professional lives from getting blurred. Have a separate social media account for your professional communications. And never post personal information or personal pictures to your work-related page.
Use password protection. Consider password protecting your personal social media page so that only a select group such as your friends and family can view your page. Just to be safe, avoid posting anything online that can be seen as unprofessional by your students.
Protecting educators from Cyberbullying works best when it is done within a prevention framework. If your school does not already have practices in place to combat online bullying, consider talking to the head administrators about enacting anti-bullying policies and also appointing a task force to record, investigate and resolve instances of Cyber Bullying.