As humorous as this comic may be, cyberbullying is no joke. Social networking has not just changed the way we connect, but it has transformed the bully’s ability to remain anonymous and to assault others with widespread rumors. In the past, identifying a bully was much simpler. Whenever bullying occurs at school, students have the opportunity to report it, and teachers attempt to monitor interactions in the classroom. Online, though, people use anonymity to tear others apart. By either creating fake accounts or bullying people they don’t even know, it has become common to see degrading remarks on photos, videos, and facebook walls. Here is what students have to say about cyberbullying.
Unfortunately this bullying is difficult to contain since media grants the power to disseminate information to millions within seconds. The internet has given a voice to many, and we need to work to stop bullying online so that everyone feels the freedom to join this community. Thankfully some teachers have begun teaching students how to document bullying in order to eliminate it. Vicki Davis as cited in David Jonassen’s book Meaningful Learning with Technology shares five steps for her students to use when encountering a bully online:
“1. Stop Stop what you are doing. Don’t keep clicking.
2. Screenshot Take a screenshot. Save a copy and print a copy.
3. Block Anyone offensive should be blocked and removed as a friend if he or she is on your friends list.
4. Tell Tell your teacher or network administrator(or your parents if you are at home) about the situation and give them a copy of the screenshot. When you have a problem, do not stop talking until you find someone who can help you.
5. Share After talking with your parents and/or teacher, if the incident is appropriate to discuss, share it with others to promote Internet safety. (Howland, Jonassen, & Marra, 2011)
Stopping bullies from stealing lunch money and teasing wasn’t ever easy, and stopping cyber bullies isn’t a simple feat either, but if we take action to report it, share incidents with people who can help, and discuss the situation with people who can empathize, we can hopefully decrease the bullying and increase positive online interactions.
What do you think can be done to minimize cyberbullying?
Howland, J, Jonassen, D, & Marra, R. (2011). Meaningful learning with technology. Boston MA: Allyn & Bacon.