Cyberbullying: How to Spot It and Stop It From Happening

Published On: February 2nd, 2016·By ·

Cyberbullying has far-reaching effects, learn how to prevent it.

Stop Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a type of harassment that takes place either online, through social media, text messages, or via any other electronic platform. Unfortunately, technology makes it easy for the bullies to reach a larger audience, which amplifies the negative effects for the victim. Many times these bullies post their attacks anonymously, or through another account, so it can be difficult to figure out where exactly they are coming from. The good news is that although cyberbullying presents many problems, there are also many solutions to combat it.

Many of these solutions involve knowing the signs of cyberbullying, signs of victimization, and ways to respond. In the webinar, Cyberbullying: Recognizing, Preventing, and Responding to It, criminal justice instructor, Brent Maguire, goes into detail about different strategies for dealing with this major issue.

Some strategies include:

  • Talking to your students – Students are less likely to post jokes that can appear threatening if they know it can lead to serious consequences. Make sure your students know what the outcome of cyberbullying can be.
  • Pay Attention – You know your students. If one of your students seems depressed or anxious, particularly after using their phone or the internet, they might be a victim.
  • Know what to look for – Bullies often hide their screen or close programs once they are in sight, laugh excessively when using the computer, avoid discussion about computer use, and use multiple accounts. Again, you know your students, so if you sense they are acting strange consider looking further into it.

Cyberbullying is an issue that can occur anywhere. Educating yourself on it and becoming aware are the best ways you can help protect your students. For more ideas and resources on recognizing, preventing, and responding to cyber-bullying, check out a copy of the backchannel discussion from the live event.

Caution: You are about to enter the raw, unedited, unfiltered dialogue of what occurred between participants during the live Cyber-bullying presentation.

Continue reading at your own risk…

SimpleK12 Webinar: Cyberbullying: Recognizing, Preventing, and Responding to It

Presented by: Brent Maguire

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Requires thought and assessment to identify a serious threat:

  1. Some material which appears to be threatening may be intended as a joke or a game, or may be a rumor.
  2. Other material may be posted by an impostor to get someone else in trouble.
  3. Threats may reflect a depressed teen, more a treat of violence toward self than others.
  4. 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:

  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.



  1. Signs of depression, anxiety, fear, for no apparent reason, especially after student uses phone or internet. More different signs makes victimization more likely.
  2. Avoiding friends, school or activities.
  3. Declining grades.
  4. Comments about emotional distress or disturbed relationships (online or in-person)

– Unexpectedly stops using the computer

– Nervous when an email or text message arrives

– Angry or frustrated or depressed after leaving computer

– Doesn't discuss what they've been doing on the computer

– Abnormally withdrawn from usual friend and family



– Quickly hides screen or closes programs

– Uses internet at odd hours

– Gets upset if the computer or internet is not available

– “laughs excessively when usng the computer”

– Avoids discussion about computer use

– Uses multiple accounts, or other people's accounts



Students should ask for help!

  1. Save evidence (email, browser history, etc.) Screen capture, photograph with smartphone, print copy.
  2. Try to identify
  3. Ignore (un-friend, block messages)
  4. Calmly and strongly tell the bully to stop. Avoid making threats yourself.
  5. Remove posted material (contact parents, ISP, website, etc.)
  6. Contact parents of cyberbully
  7. Contact school
  8. Contact police, especially threats of physical harm





– Educate students about dangers, and responses

– Know and follow school's policy; help improve policy if needed

– Monitor student use of computers at school

– Report or investigate incidents of suspected cyberbullying



  1. Notify parents of victims and cyberbullies
  2. Notify police if physical threat
  3. Closely monitor students for signs of victimization or bullying (filters can't replace adults)
  4. Refer victim to support services (e.g. school counselor)



  1. Threats of violence
  2. Extortion
  3. Obscene or harassing calls or messages
  4. Stalking, harassment, hate crimes
  5. Child pornography



  1. Comprehensive Planning through Safe Schools Committee
  2. Need assessment (surveys, focus groups, ask campus adults)
  3. Policy and Practice Review
  4. Professional Development
  5. Parents & Community (newsletter, workshops, info on line)
  6. Student Education (effective social skills education, how to recognize and respond)
  7. Monitor internet use at school; less “internet recess”



Accessing inappropriate material

Communication safety & unacceptable communication

Unlawful and inappropriate activities

Student Personal Information

Limited expectation of privacy

Require reporting cyberbullying on- and off-campus


Discipline for On-Campus Acts

– Follow policy and procedure

– Document the incident, what was done to end it and/or prevent it, how to remedy it


Discipline for off-campus acts

– If it “substantially and materially” disrupts school environment can discipline (see lawyer)

– If it happens off-campus, it's probably also happening on-campus – watch for it

– Ask victim what it involves, remind them of the police, social worker



– Threats to people or property

– Coercion

– Obscene or harassing calls or texts

– Harassment or stalking

– Hate or bias crimes

– Sexually explicts images of teens

– Sexual exploitation

– Photos in private locations, e.g. locker room


Refer to state laws about bullying including cyberbullying (or bullying though electronic communication systems)







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