Friday, February 21, 2014

Cyberbullying - Don’t Support It…Report It!

Digital alerts are very helpful. But these miss cellphone bullying and game bullying entirely. They may also miss images that were photoshopped. For these and other less obvious attacks, you need real and solid intelligence. And that can come from only one source—the students.

Create old-fashioned suggestion boxes where students can anonymously report cyberbullying when they find it. Create an online report form and promise anonymity as well. Teach the students what constitutes cyberbullying so they know what to report. Let them know what information you need and what will happen to reports. Remind them that false reports will be acted on, to discourage cyberbullying –by proxy when they report their target as the cyberbully to have the school do their dirty work.

They need to understand that asking for help isn’t showing weakness, it shows wisdom. The tattletale stigma should be addressed.

Then have the students promote a “report it, don’t support it” message. They can do skits, posters, write and perform rap or pop songs, or shoot their own PSAs. Have them look at the issue and define it their way. Get their help in creating reporting methods too.

Devote lots of time to teaching them to tell and teaching the trusted adults what to do if a student does confide in them. This may be the most important tip we can give you. Cyberbullyinghas contributed to suicides when the target feels alienated and faces it alone in the dark. The right response is crucial. So is being trusted with their confidences.

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Parry Aftab is interested in hearing ideas and questions about digital safety, privacy and cybersense. Please do not advertise or promote services or products or include a link, video or image in your comment.

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