Cyberbullying

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.

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3 thoughts on “Cyberbullying

  1. Yeah, it’s a tough issue. One of the men who worked in our department had a handicapped son who got cyber bullied without his parents’ knowledge. Due to the child’s distress, he took his own life.=(

    1. Yes, I have heard of other cases of cyberbullying which have led to similar results. It is an issue which needs to be addressed much more. Children need to know that adults view it as a serious issue, and reporting it does not demonstrate a lack of maturity or character. In many ways cyberbulllying is more devastating that traditional bullying, and can be viewed as the silent killer of self esteem.

  2. Definitely an issue in today’s youth. I was cyberbullied when I was 5th grade. I took my AIM conversation to the principal who instructed my parents that there was nothing that could be done since it was not pertaining to school matters nor on school grounds. There has to be some way to prevent cyberbullying from happening when students are not in school.

    On a program called Quest Atlantis, students’ chats are monitored by people who work for QA and are instructed to email the teacher to tell them what is going on (bullying or inappropriate language use). It was really interesting to see how students reacted to their “punishment” on the program. One of the consequences was that the student couldn’t chat with others and therefore could not collaborate with others unless she physically walked up to the person in her classroom.

    Children might just give into the bullying online because no one is watching them. What happend to the days of KOL (Kids AOL) where a parent could monitor who their child talked to?

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