October is Bullying Prevention Month. In schools, we teach our students to be kind to one another and to never hurt others physically or emotionally.
As times are changing, so are the forms of bullying. Cyber bullying is a new trend that is dramatically growing due to the increase in technology. In today’s society, children are connected to each other 24/7. This means we must also educate our students on how to be kind online.
What is Cyberbullying?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, cyberbullying is “ the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (such as a student) often done anonymously.” Although posts can be done anonymously, a lot of the time students know exactly who is doing the bullying. Cyber bullying can be done anytime, anywhere. Cell phones, tablets, video game systems, and so many more devices allow students to access communication with one another. We, as teachers, must step up and teach our children about proper internet safety and how to become good digital citizens.
Teach Cyberbullying Vocabulary
There are important words students must know when facing a bullying situation.
• Bully: blustering, mean person; especially one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way vulnerable
• Target: the person being bullied
• Bystander: someone who witnesses the event but does not do anything to stop it
• Upstander: a bystander who takes action to stop the bullying from happening
These words should be implemented in your students’ vocabulary. It is important they know right from wrong when confronted with tough situations such as bullying or cyber bullying. There are many interactive slideshows that allow students to click and drag cyber bullying vocabulary words to their definitions. These will not only teach our children proper language, but is an engaging way for them to learn.
STOMP Out Cyberbullying!
If children are being cyber bullied, it is important to educate them on how to get help. They should be able to know the steps they should take in order to stop the situation from occurring. BLOCK the person! If it is occurring over and over, block the user and report it to a parent or trusted adult. NEVER delete the evidence. Deleting mean texts or messages means there is not a solid way to see evidence. Keeping this will allow adults to see the full story.
Children will always have a difficult time getting along with certain students, but that does not mean we should stop teaching them to be kind. We, as teachers, must educate our youth on how to be kind online and end cyber bullying the best we can.
Something my students really enjoy using is Storyboard That. Students are able to create their own comic strips digitally. In the past, students have created stories about how to be a good digital citizen. The characters relay the importance of being kind, both in person and online. The site also has most social media icons in order to incorporate them into the storyboard!
My name is Ashley Shanley and I am a second year technology teacher for grades K-6! I live in New Jersey and love spending time at the beach! I am a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) and an Apple Teacher. I am planning on receiving my Google Certification and Technology Educational Certification soon as well! I graduated from Rutgers University in New Jersey (Go Scarlet Knights!) and my favorite color is sparkles. You can connect with me through my Twitter: @missashanley -or- @MsAshleyShanley.
What methods have you used to combat cyberbullying? How are you teaching your students to be kind online?