With the growing number of social media sites and mobile phones, cyberbullying is a problem at home and in schools. Many teens and younger children have cell or mobile phones. They are active on social networks and use text messages often. These tools when used properly are not harmful but sometimes are misused by children and teens. What can schools do about cyberbullying? Learn more here.
How Does Cyberbullying Happen?
Many incidents of cyberbullying occur at home when kids are on the laptop or computer at night or on weekends. These incidents often spill over into the school day. The problem is not that using technology is bad but that using it properly is important. Teachers should educate themselves about cyberbullying: what it is and what it is not. They should ask what can schools do about cyberbullying?
Often online a joke goes bad when it is repeated too often and one student is the brunt of the joke. In surveys, many students reported being cyberbullied by other kids. Some posted mean or hurtful comments or even spread rumours about each other. Often rumours can be spread by text messages to other friends using a mobile or cell phone. Messages and pictures can be posted on social networks too.
What to Do about Cyberbullying?
Schools are trying to find ways to deal with mobile phones. Not allowing them in elementary and middle school for students’ personal use would decrease the problem. Even limiting their use in high schools with students can reduce the incidents of cyberbullying.
Kids need to think about the content they create and post on social networks. They should learn not to post anything that they wouldn’t want everyone to know. Sometimes private information is taken and shared by other kids freely. Embarrassing photos or gossip spreads rapidly leaving the victims in a tizzy.
It seems to be more likely to occur with middle school kids and teens than younger children. Girls spread rumours while boys post videos and pictures that often hurt the victim. This type of bullying fits well into the social scheme of spreading rumours about someone. It is easy to text messages or photos to several people at once.
However, when this occurs it often leaves the victim feeling angry, frustrated, sad, or embarrassed. Sometimes another form of bullying is that a person is ignored on social networks like they don’t exist. Girls often feel frustrated questioning why no one likes them. Boys often fear that a fight might be coming on after school or when they walk home.
This type of bully hides behind a computer screen. Often when a photo or picture is sent out via email it is hard to erase or get rid of. This means the cyberbullying continues and is hard to stop on the Internet via email and text messages.
Because school is often a big part of most children’s life the effect of cyberbullying affects their self-esteem and often concentration. Incidents happen at home or at night. Students’ grades drop and in the worst cases, some kids do not want to go to school because they are afraid. Educators need to ask what can schools do about cyberbullying.
What Can Teachers Do About Cyberbullying?
Educators need to learn about social networks and some of the ways kids post. They need to teach them how to write a proper text message and how to post on social networks with other kids. They should never share any story or photo they do not want to go public. Often when they do the results are not good. Children need to learn not to write nasty messages about other kids through texting or by posting on social networks. They need to learn to respect each other.
Schools can set up a team of teachers or staff so that children can report cyberbullying incidents. It can be done through email or even have a Dropbox where the student’s name and the number are left. That way the incident is not spread among their peers.
Encourage students to report bullying incidents at school that happen on the playground, class, bus, or cafeteria. If they know about an email or text message teach them not to pass it along to others. Students can save a message and show it to a parent or trusted teacher before deleting it.
When one student is known to be bullying others, they need to get some help. It is not a normal way to deal with problems. Getting parents involved by hosting seminars and posters on the subject spreads the word. When they learn more about the subject they will be able to recognize the problem when it is occurring at home.
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