Cyberbullying is an epidemic that is ravaging schools throughout this country. No one is immune from being cyberbullying. There is no one profile of who a cyberbully is, there is no socioeconomic background that is the focus of being a cyberbully. Yet it seems that the one possible remedy, is the one least sought, education.
When defining cyberbullying, there are two key elements that stick out for me, repeated and willful. Hinduja and Patchin (2015) define the four key elements of cyberbullying. Repeated is a pattern that happens more than one, willful is the deliberate, not accidental, intent, harm is what is perceived by the victim, and use of any electronic device as the media of delivery. The rise in the use of social media makes cyberbullying that much easier as it is impersonal and provides anonymity.
Brewer & Kerslake (2105) states that students with a lower level of empathy tend to bully more frequently than those with a higher empathy level. Siegle (2010) lists the eight different types of cyberbullying and their definitions. These include flaming, harassment, denigration, impersonation, outing, trickery, exclusion, and cyberstalking. These are the different forms of cyberbullying that we need to discuss with our students. To make them aware of them and how hurtful they are, not only for the victim but how it affects their family. Yet this cannot stop with educating student, we need to have a town forum in which cyberbullying is the focus to educate the parents and the community at large.
Chief Technology Officers (CTO) have a difficult time in today’s world. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in standard in many schools as they look for ways to increase technology in the classroom. This issue is how do students use the technology as well as how do CTO’s monitor and keep up with the multiple social medias being used today. Does the CTO have the resources, personnel and money to keep up with social media in the school, the answer is, usually not? CTO’s need to take precautions in order to ensure a safe and secure network environment. One such instrument is software called Insight. It enables teachers to monitor students’ computers when they are logged in during class. It additionally, records all internet activity as well as Each keyboard stroke. While some may argue that it is an invasion of privacy, the policy is well posted that using school district technology over the internet is subject to being recorded and reviewed. Sharing this knowledge with students can a deterrent to cyberbullying on school equipment, but not for all. CTO’s must use all technological capabilities to monitor cyberbullying and the personnel to ensure it is constantly monitored.
There is no miracle drug or wand we can wave to fix this issue which has had horrific consequences for out students. The only this we must do is to not ignore that it exists. To simply expect it to go away quietly is pure naivety. We must make a preventive stance and start educating out teachers, students, parents, and the community at large is we expect to make progress to eradicating this epidemic.
Brewer, G. & Kerslake, J. (2015, February 19). Cyberbullying, self-esteem, empathy and loneliness. Human Behavior, 48, 255-260. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.01.073
Hinduja, S. & Patchkin, J.W. (2015). Bullying beyond the schoolyard: Preventing and responding to cyberbullying (2nd ed.). Corwin.
Siegle, D. (2010). Cyberbullying and sexting: Technology abuses of the 21st century. Gifted Child Today, 32(2), 14-16, 65. https://luonline.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-4226324-dt-content-rid-63080076_1/xid-63080076_1