Ed-Tech professionals face an ever-changing list of challenges. Cyberbullying is one of the serious issues that we’ve seen more regularly, and sorting out how to mitigate this problem has become the responsibility of many K-12 systems administrators.
Cyberbullying comes in many forms. It can be as simple as sending cruel messages, or as complex as creating a fake social media account to hurt or take advantage of someone. Students have posted threatening, embarrassing, or hurtful information on social media sites, and the effects have had tragic consequences.
This problem is more common than you might think. Over half of adolescents have been a victim, and roughly the same amount admit they have bullied others online. Over a quarter of teens have been bullied repeatedly online or via smartphone, and up to twenty percent of victims experience it routinely. It affects all races, and both boys and girls are victims and perpetrators.
More than half of victims never tell their parents, even when they repeatedly receive threats. Victims are more prone to suffer low self esteem, perform poorly academically, and are more likely to consider suicide. In light of this, what can we do to combat this serious issue?
Awareness and education are the first steps. Often students aren’t even aware of the severity of their actions and are ignorant of the consequences. They fail to consider how their actions affect the bullied, or how hurtful bullying can be. They may also be naive to the fact that what they post online could be permanent, costing both the bullied and the bullies themselves when it comes to college acceptance, scholarship opportunities, internships and even jobs.
Simply informing students that this is a serious issue can prevent some instances of cyberbullying. Stopbullying.gov offers great advice on additional steps you can take; suggestions like constructing a mission statement and student bill of rights, pairing them with your school's rules and policies, and then integrating all of this into your school's culture, are all great ideas that can help support respectful internet practices.
You may also consider establishing a reporting system so that students have an easy mechanism for informing teachers or administration of any incidents. Since we know that over half of victims don't tell their parents, a safe and easy-to-use reporting structure can be very valuable in safeguarding your students.
We take the cyberbullying threat seriously, and that’s one reason we’ve made it easy to customize our Suspicious Search Term tool to include terminology that may be related to bullying and cyberbullying in your school. When paired with InSite™ reporting you will have the tools to reduce instances of cyberbullying, and the information necessary to deal with any incidents that do occur.
Cyberbullying may be a serious issue facing schools today, but there are ways to fight back. Visit stopbullying.gov for more information on what you can do. If you think that Cipafilter’s features, like Suspicious Search Term management or InSite™ Reporting are a good fit for your school, contact us to schedule a conversation and we’ll talk about what Cipafilter can do for you.