Cyberbullying Prevention: Tips for Teachers

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying involves using electronic mediums such as cell phones, computers, or tablets to threaten, intimidate, or humiliate other students. This form of bullying can involve sending hurtful text messages, circulating rumors via email, posting private information about another student on social media, and other similar malicious activities. A 2016 study found that only 40-50% of students know who is bullying them, with a 2015 study indicating 90% of cyberbullied teens were already bullied in-person.

Cyberbullying statistics show it is an increasingly common form of bullying. Many students are constantly connected via their cell phone or computer, which means the consequences of cyberbullying can be incredibly pervasive for students, disrupting their lives whether they are at home or school.

Examples of Cyberbullying

Posting rude and hateful comments on social media, stealing and sharing personal information online, and threatening physical harm over email or instant messenger are all examples of cyberbullying.

Additional types of cyberbullying include the following:

  • Masquerading is the action of creating a false online persona and sharing incorrect information. Most often, the goal is to embarrass a student and damage their reputation.
  • Outing is a form of fraud and involves sharing private information with other students.
  • Impersonation is when a student hacks into another's account using their username and password and poses as them on social media.
  • Exclusion occurs when a student prevents another one from joining an online group via threats or other means.
  • Flaming happens via text or chat when two students argue, and the conflict continues in person.
  • Happy slapping is the action of posting a video of real-world fighting to an online source. This leads to humiliation, legal consequences, and long-term reputation damage for students involved in the fight.
  • When a student watches every online move that another makes, it is considered cyberstalking and can lead to in-person harassment.

How to Prevent Cyberbullying in Schools

Since students spend most of their day in school, teachers play a crucial role in preventing cyberbullying. Although it is difficult to detect and resolve, there are ways teachers can help. A study found that the best actions for teachers are to listen to students, follow up to see if the issue is resolved, and offer advice when asked.

Teachers should build trust with students and make themselves readily available for children to communicate their problems or concerns. With carefully planned activities and discussions within the classroom, teachers can present themselves as resources and create safe zones to discuss cyberbullying.

To report cyberbullying, useful information includes: details on what happened, when the bullying took place, what was said during the interaction, and how long the interaction lasted for.

Teachers should always notify school administration of any bullying incidents. The school will need to take serious action if the harassment is discriminatory (bullying based on race, sex, disability, religion, or sexual orientation). Cyberbullying must be reported to the police if the bullying consists of violent threats, hate crimes, stalking, criminal offenses, or child pornography.

Cyberbullying Resources for Teachers

The best solutions for cyberbullying are educating students about what it is and how to get help, or ending the problematic behavior as quickly as possible. The more interaction there is between the bully and the victim, the more the person who is bullying will gain satisfaction from their behavior and continue their harassment.

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Cyberbullying Resources