Cyberbullying is a digital crisis that continues to take lives each year. It’s also a cause that I’m dedicated to bringing awareness to.
To give you some perspective, the following was taken from BullyingStatistics.org:
- A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying
- Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC
- For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts
- Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it
- According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying
My goal with this page is twofold:
- To provide teachers, parents and victims with a place to start in their search for answers and help (below you will find global cyberbullying resources, simply find your country and follow the links);
- To provide schools and educational professionals with an 8-step action plan for fighting against cyberbullying (see below).
8 Steps for Schools to Begin the Fight Against Cyberbullying
Below you’ll find 8 strategies that are easy enough to implement, and that can go a long way in increasing awareness of, and even helping to stop and prevent, cyberbullying.
Step 1: Be aware
Be aware of what’s going on in your hallways and of today’s digital realities. Get guidance on what keywords and red flags to pay attention to.
Step 2: Understand your monitoring options
Seek guidance on how to safely and effectively monitor the public online activity of students. Once you gain knowledge, you can make an informed decision on whether or not this is a strategy worthy of your school or school district’s time and resources.
Here are some additional tips to get you started.
Step 3: Seek legal and crisis council
Once you’ve been informed of your options, speak with an attorney and crisis management consultant who understand the risks involved with – and the importance of – whatever strategy your school or school district is considering implementing.
Step 4: Establish awareness-raising and curriculum-based activities
The following was taken from “The nature of cyberbullying, and strategies for prevention“, a paper published by Robert Slonje, Peter K. Smith and Ann Frisén:
“An example of a successful general anti-bullying program is the KiVa program in Finland, which includes computer based classroom activities, and support for victims from high-status peers. Although primarily designed with traditional bullying in mind, evaluations so far show that KiVa is as effective in reducing cyberbullying as it is for a range of traditional forms (Salmivalli, Kärna, & Poskiparta, 2011).”
Step 5: Educate your student body
Hold an annual assembly that focuses on educating students of the repercussions of cyberbullying and providing them with resources of secure places to turn to if they, or someone they know, is a victim of online bullying. “The nature of cyberbullying, and strategies for prevention” states that:
“If the perpetrator does not see the victim, then s/he may have less awareness of the consequences and the effects that their actions are causing […] without the direct feedback that traditional bullying may offer there may be fewer opportunities for empathy or remorse (Slonje et al., 2012) and therefore the bullying may continue for longer. In our student interviews there were some indications that incidents of cyberbullying did continue for longer periods than incidents of traditional bullying.”
That said, it is very important that schools hold annual assemblies to discuss both the consequences and the impact that cyberbullying can and does have on students. This is a great opportunity to showcase real scenarios and the effects of such bullying on peers.
Update: Tad Milmine is a police officer who travels from school to school to speak with today’s youth on the effects and impact of bullying. Learn more about Tad’s message and find out if he may be a great resource for your school, by listening to this episode of The Crisis Intelligence Podcast: TCIP #043 – Bullying Ends Here with Tad Milmine.
Step 6: Develop policies
Develop anti-bullying / anti-cyberbullying policies and procedures, and include them on your school’s (or school board / school district’s) website.
Step 7: Educate your team
Educate your staff and train them to be able to detect the signs of cyberbullying. Make certain that they’re aware of what their responsibilities are if/when such an incident comes to their attention.
Step 8: Educate parents
Many parents aren’t aware of today’s cyberbullying reality – even if their own child is a victim or a culprit. Hold an annual assembly and do what you can to create awareness and inspire action. You should also take this time to shed some light on the actions the school and the school district are taking to help make the scholastic year bully-free.
Cyberbullying and Bullying Resources
- Cyberbullying in the Canadian legal arena
- Get Cyber Safe
- Resources for Teachers: Cyberbullying
- Bullying Ends Here
- Born This Way Foundation
- Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace: Cyberpsychology
- The Nature of Cyberbullying, and Srategies for Prevention
- Facebook Family Safety
- Twitter Safety Tips for Parents
- No Place to Hide – Facebook Page