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August 12, 2016

Cyberbullying Signs and Ways to Stop It

Written By: Brandi Jordan
Category: Technology
X Cyberbullying Signs and Ways to Stop It

Cyberbullying Signs and Ways to Stop It

The statistics about teen’s perception of cyber-bullying are startling.  With more than three-quarters of the nation’s teens admitting that they have little or no parental supervision while online, the need for adult intervention is apparent.  Even more alarming than the lack of supervision is the reason that students give for cyber-bullying.  81% of polled teens admitted that they thought it was funny.

When the President and First Lady of the United States held a conference on bullying prevention, there was a clear message that not only is cyber-bullying not funny, but it has potentially deadly consequences.  As parents, teachers, and community leaders, it is important that we not only be aware of the problem, but that we give children the tools to help them protect themselves.

Identify and Educate About Cyberbullying

Share Examples

One of the best ways to do that is to share examples of inappropriate incidences that can happen online.  Role-playing is, by far, the most effective way to address this.  In the classroom, encourage students to come up with ideas that would qualify as inappropriate and do a short skit in front of the class.  The role-play should conclude with examples of what to do in that situation to stop the bullying (see below for tips). Sometimes hearing and seeing concrete examples from their peers can be a much more effective way of making the impact of cyber-bullying known.

Teachers should feel comfortable sharing information with parents about how they can prevent and detect cyber-bullying.  Posting information to the class website or blog, sending an email home with links to information, or even printing out an article such as this can all work in tandem to get the information out there.  Some of the points that you might want to include to parents are:

  • Be aware of what children are doing online.  Keep the computer screen where you can see it while your child is on it.
  • Know about the social networking sites that your child uses.  If your teen is on Facebook, make sure you show him how to report abuse, block a user, and set privacy controls.
  • Know your child’s password to all social networking sites.
  • Establish clear guidelines about what you expect of your child while he is online.

Pledge to Stop

As teachers and community leaders, the responsibility to combat the problem of cyber-bullying also weighs heavy.  Create an Internet Safety/Anti-Cyber-Bullying Pledge for students to sign.  An awareness rally or a special day designated during the school year to keep the issue front and center is also a good idea.

Perhaps the best thing that teachers and parents can do for their children is to remind them of what cyber-bullying is and how they can prevent themselves from becoming victims.  What one child thinks is a funny or prank text message may actually be considered cyber-bullying.  In some states, cyber-bullying where a threat of personal injury to the person, or the person’s family, is actually a felony.  If that person is under 16 years of age, there does not even need to be a threat of bodily harm for the incident to be considered a felony.  Check with your state’s laws about cyber-bullying and make your students aware of them.

Tips for Discussion

The tips below are broken down into two sections.  The first section helps you talk confidently with your students about what cyber-bullying is.  Remember, that getting their input in the discussion is going to be the most effective way of getting the information across.  The second section deals with important cyber-bullying prevention methods, as well as, basic Internet safety guidelines.  Use the points as a basis for discussion and encourage parents to do the same at home.

What Is Cyber-Bullying?

  • Pretending to be someone else online with a malicious intent to “prank” someone else.
  • Spreading lies or rumors about someone.
  • Tricking someone into revealing personal information or sending personal photos.
  • Sending or forwarding malicious texts or emails.
  • Posting pictures of someone without their permission.
  • Threatening to physically harm someone or their family.

Ways to Stop Cyber-Bullying and Stay Safe Online

  • Block all communication from the bully.
  • Delete messages without opening and reading.
  • Talk with a friend or a trusted adult about the bullying taking place.
  • Report the bullying communication to the Internet Service Provider or email provider.
  • Refuse to forward or pass on bullying texts or emails.
  • Tell the bully to stop.
  • Talk to parents.
  • Never share your passwords with anyone except your parents.
  • Never meet someone from online face-to-face.
  • Never post personal information about yourself online (i.e. – birthday, phone number, the school you attend, etc.).

Children need to feel safe enough to approach parents and teachers with incidences of bullying.  Talking with them before it happens and letting them know that you support them, can go a long way toward building that trusting relationship.  Do not let the school year pass without giving your students the information that they need to stay safe.

 

This article was originally published in 2011 and updated in 2016.

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  • Profile photo of Diane
    Pianogirl
    August 15, 2016

    A resource teachers may want to tap into is the The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/, originally founded to assist in suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. However, in the last few years, the TP has become an advocate for fighting bullying in schools, mainly middle and high schools. The site offers resources and guidance on how to detect, deal with, and treat victims of bullying.

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  • Lisa
    March 26, 2011

    Kids will always find ways to hurt another person(s) if that is what they want to do. As teachers it is our responsibility to educate our students about what is right and what is wrong, how to handle it, when to report it, and to whom they should report it to. Also, as technology keeps changing, we also need to help to keep parents in the loop by providing them with the most up-to-date information so that they can monitor and talk to their children. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world where all kids will make the right choices and parents will actually talk to and monitor their child’s activities – we strive to help and educate as many as we can and hope that along the way we’ve helped both our students and their parents to know what cyberbullying is, the signs of it, and how to talk to each other about it. Most kids are listening – even if they don’t appear to. Hopefully, they’ll make good choices and if they don’t – that as teachers and parents we will be there to ‘catch’ them and help them resolve/correct/educate them about their poor choice so that it doesn’t happen again.

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  • Brenda
    March 25, 2011

    Thank you for the resources. We as educators do have a responsibility do help educate the children about the dangers and pitfalls of the internet. Unfortunately cyberbullying is one of them. Fortunately there is a lot of news out supporting us now about just how real and dangerous this issue actually is. By openly bringing up the subject it just may prevent an incident or help to bring a victim to open up. These are the current events we need to explore!

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  • Amy
    March 24, 2011

    I monitor what my students are doing on the internet in my classroom. My students are very good at navigating on the internet and it scares me how they could easily be taken advantage of. It really scares me how many young ones are on Facebook etc. I am going to give these websites to the parents in my classroom and share with other teachers in my school.

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  • Amber J
    March 24, 2011

    As technology becomes more and more a way of life for our students, I think it’s every bit as important for us to discuss as not talking to strangers. In fact, each spring, we have a “Family Life” education program (for which we are trained and given curriculum) and friendship, stress management, social situations, and appropriate behavior are among the topics I help teach my third graders. Inevitably, we begin with safety in and out of school (not talking to strangers, buddy systems when walking home, etc) and lead right into internet use. We do a long Q&A time and discuss, model, and reinforce the ideas that the internet is a tool, not a 100% safe place. We outline safety online, including safe words, where students are instructed on what is and is not appropriate. More should be done to reach children of all ages- not just teens- so we can significantly decrease or eliminate online abuse and threats to our children.

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  • Carrie-Anne
    March 24, 2011

    I hate that the internet is used like this. Last year 3rd grade students found me on Facebook. The kids kept changing their ages from 16 up to 99. Some of the kids had mom’s and dad’s as friends. The technology team made a calendar for a project that had internet safety ideas for each month. At the beginning of the month the tech teacher would review the tip with the whole school. We also make kids sign a contract. Not sure what they do at my new school. I’m thinking of asking tomorrow!

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  • Dana S
    March 24, 2011

    I think a teacher’s responsibility is to inform and educate their students on the dangers of bullying as well as cyberbullying. It’s important that we as teachers stay abreast on the latest dangers that can affect our students and be able to talk to them about what’s happening.

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  • Laurie
    March 24, 2011

    As a parent and a teacher I believe we need to keep the lines of communication open by talking about this often. Kids need to know the consequences of this bullying. School assemblies are a powerful way to send this message clearly. We have a zero tolerance bullying policy.

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  • Kris Mertens
    March 24, 2011

    Please keep an eye on your kids at home and at school. It is so sad the amount of kids that get hurt through cyber bullying. Thus also has long lasting effects on kids and their self-esteem.

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  • Trista Lemon
    March 24, 2011

    I think the most important thing to do is to remind children, that when they feel they are being bullied, to tell a trusted adult. A lot of kids feel they have noone to talk to or noone that cares about them. If you remind them day in and day out (as your student or your own child) that you care about their feelings and well being they will be more likely to share those feelings with you. Once they tell you they feel they are bullied, make sure you help them to find comfort in a solution. It is our job as teachers to provide comfort and safety in their lives!!!

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  • Nikki
    March 24, 2011

    I was just reading an article about how facebook kicks of 20,000 underage users a day…but the government is still saying they aren’t doing enough. Its so important as a parent and as a teacher role model to monitor what your child/student is doing..and then teach them the rules before it goes too far.
    Speaking of which, there is a new website, I don’t know what it is called that calls out “high schoolers” anonymously…just random mean statements about anyone! Like a burn book only broadcasted for everyone to see! Its awful that websites like this exist! Just what this article is talking about

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  • Pam
    March 24, 2011

    Our school has had some internet safety meetings for parents – cyber bullying is so sad! Kids have so many ways to hurt one another these days.

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  • Lori O.
    March 24, 2011

    We just had an assembly at our school about internet safety. It is sad that some students know “tricks” to get around the age limit..such as on Facebook. Parents need to be aware of what their children are doing on the computer at all times.

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  • Raye W
    March 24, 2011

    It upsets me so much how many children are unsupervised online. I teach 5th grade so my students range from 10-12 years old over the course of the year and many of them have FaceBook accounts and MySpace pages. I *know* their parents aren’t monitoring their activity. I didn’t let my own child have a FaceBook until last summer and she was 15. And I told her I HAD to be on her friends page and she could NOT block anything (and I have full access to all of her stuff) or she would not be allowed to be on it. You can never be too safe.

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  • Kristal
    March 24, 2011

    It is very sad to think that people are using the internet for such things. Bullying in my school is addressed constantly. I will definitely check out the links to keep myself informed on this terrible issue. This is something I plan to discuss in my classroom.

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  • Barbara G.
    March 24, 2011

    I’m afraid the Internet and cell phones are such an easy way for people to hurt one another because you don’t have to see their faces or face their feelings. So scary for our youth until we get a handle on how to help them navigate through these murky waters.

    Starshine, a new Internet Safety video, was recently released (and is poignantly on target) by Rising Star Productions at – http://www.risingstareducation.com/

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  • Tiffany
    March 24, 2011

    We just had a police officer come to our school about internet safety and bullying. Its hard for kids to get away from all of this bullying!!!

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  • Sarah C
    March 24, 2011

    Cyber bullying is so sad. The world would be a much better place without this. I found this list of ten tips to prevent cyber bulling and there is some good info there! http://www.hotchalk.com/mydesk/index.php/back-to-school-tips/312-ten-tips-to-prevent-cyberbullying

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