Cyberbullying, unfortunately, is all around
We all know cyberbullying is a terrible crime that affects not only celebrities and adults but UK children every day, especially when most children around the world have an online presence through multiple social media accounts. On Monday, BBC News discussed cyberbullying and what schools can do to teach students about online abuse and its effects.
Effectively stopping cyberbullying in its many forms does not depend on one group; parents, other relatives, police, lawmakers, teachers, and other influencers that are role models for students, as well as other students, should actively try to help.
As one of the adult authority figures in your pupils’ lives, actively discouraging hurtful language and behaviour in and outside of class is just as important as their education. Here are some of our tips to discuss cyberbullying with Secondary School students:
Understand that Social Media is forever.
Even if a student temporarily publishes something mean or threatening on Twitter, ask.fm or Facebook in an angry state of mind and then later calms down and deletes it, it can still be linked back to them.
image from here.
You can’t take anything back.
Once it is out there, it’s out there and there is little to no chance for wrong interpretation. If a student’s comments on another individual are so hurtful that that person then takes measures to hurt themselves, someone else, or worse in the future, blame will be on them no matter how ‘innocent’ or ‘hilarious’ they thought it was at the time.
If you have nothing nice to say…
Then don’t say anything. This is true for social media; if a student does not like an artist or another student, calling them derogatory names, making threats, or even wishing them ill or dead is not the way to express disappointment, frustration or anger. There is no online font for sarcasm, hyperbole or jokes, and anything vicious will be reported to the authorities.
The internet is made up of real people.
Ask your students, “Would you want anyone commenting to your face about your physical features, interests, dreams, beliefs, friends, and passions in a negative and hurtful way that would make you cry or worse, want to harm someone?”
Obviously not. It may be easy to hide behind Twitter handles, anonymous postings and fake Facebook names, but a person is still a person with real feelings.
image from here.
Anyone can be a cyber bully.
However, not just anyone can have to courage to stand up to them. While first instinct may be to engage the bully, there are also positive ways to stand up to bullies:
– Do not let them bother you. Remember, no one has the right to make you feel this way, and your reaction is what they are after.
– Do not reply to unknown numbers or people.
– Change privacy settings to block the individual(s).
– Tell an adult, no matter the situation or threat.
Help is always available.
If you know or feel that one or more of your students may be victims of cyberbullying, make sure each and every student is given a hand-out for websites for advice and information on cyberbullying, such as bullying.co.uk and ChildLine.
While it is not just up to you, the teacher, any action you take in the safe environment of the classroom can help your pupils not only now but in their adult lives.
Do you have any of your own tips on dealing with cyber bullies? Tweet @WCTeachers with your ways for discussing cyberbullying with your students, family or friends.