Get real about cyberbullying at your school… it’s there!
While adults often understand the hurt that is typically caused by physical bullying, many teachers and school administrators either underestimate or do not realize the far-reaching and potentially devastating impact that cyberbullying can have on a victim.
Because cyberbullying occurs online, often under the guise of anonymity, it can be especially vicious and intimidating. And, because it can be “witnessed” by scores of online spectators and perpetrated 24/7, the impact is far-reaching and victims often feel they have nowhere to hide.
In Brent Maguire’s cyberbullying video, he discusses how to recognize the signs of cyberbullying and victimization. He explains the criminal aspect of cyberbullying and shares strategies for responding to and preventing cyberbullying. In addition, Brent covers how to monitor internet use at school and provide suggestions for a school’s or district’s approach to cyberbullying.
If you are a member of the Teacher Learning Community, you can watch Brent’s teacher training now to earn your CEUs or clock hours.
KEY SIGNS OF CYBERBULLYING
If you identify any of these cyberbulling signs, then it is important you recognize that they require thought and assessment to identify a serious threat:
- Some material which appears to be threatening may be intended as a joke or a game, or may be a rumor.
- Other material may be posted by an impostor to get someone else in trouble.
- Threats may reflect a depressed teen, more a treat of violence toward self than others.
- Yes, some online threats may reflect a legitimate imminent threat.
You must treat every online incident as a real threat until you determine that one of the other conditions apply.
STUDENTS MUST KNOW THE RULES
#1. Don’t make threats online; even a “joke” can lead to being suspended, expelled, or arrested.
#2. Report threats or “distressing material” to an adult for assessment to prevent serious injury; don’t assume it is a joke.
SIGNS OF VICTIMIZATION
Look for signs of depression, anxiety, fear, for no apparent reason, especially after the student uses the phone or internet.
- Watch for students who begin avoiding friends, school or activities.
- Be wary of declining grades.
- Listen for comments about emotional distress or disturbed relationships (online or in-person)
- Have concern when a student unexpectedly stops using the computer, or is angry, frustrated, or depressed after leaving the computer.
- Pay attention to any nervousness when an email or text message arrives.
HERE ARE A FEW KEY TIPS TO HELP RECOGNIZE A CYBERBULLY
- The student quickly hides screen or closes programs.
- He or she is using the internet at odd hours.
- Laughing excessively when using the computer could be innocent or a form of making fun of another student.
- These types of students can be found using multiple accounts, or other people’s accounts.
RESPONDING TO VICTIMIZATION
Be ready with these solutions should your students ask for help.
- Save evidence (email, browser history, and related trails.) using Sscreen capture, photograph with smartphone, or print a copy.
- Try to identify who is involved.
- Ignore (un-friend, block messages).
- Calmly and strongly tell the bully to stop. Avoid making threats yourself.
- Remove posted material (contact parents, ISP, website, or others involved).
- Contact the parents of the cyberbully.
- Contact the school or district per guidelines from your administration.
- Contact the police, especially threats of physical harm.
NOTIFY THE POLICE IF YOU SEE THE FOLLOWING
- Threats of violence.
- Obscene or harassing calls or messages.
- Stalking, harassment, hate crimes.
- Child pornography.
You should also refer to state laws about bullying including cyberbullying (or bullying though electronic communication systems) for more information. The follow resource list will help to get you started.
HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT WEB RESOURCES
ABOUT THE TRAINER
Brent Maguire has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and has spent fifteen years in law enforcement, including eight years as an investigator. Brent’s experience includes dealing with issues involving children and safety through assignments as a Juvenile, D.A.R.E., and School Resource Officer. While in law enforcement, Brent received more than 800 hours of advanced, specialized training. Brent currently is a full-time criminal justice instructor at Southeastern Illinois College, teaching and developing online courses. He also works as a consultant through his own company, TechnoArmor Consulting.