Although cyberbullying may often occur off schools grounds, the majority of the time it is related to what is happening at school. Further, even if the harassing communication or material is developed off school grounds, it can significantly disrupt the learning environment since large numbers of students at the school may witness the bullying incident online and gossip with other students about the event. Therefore, cyberbullying prevention and intervention strategies will be more effective when parents and schools work together as a team. The recommendations below are provided to assist educators and parents in addressing cyberbullying among youth.
Recommendations for parents:
- Talk to children about appropriate use of technology, cyberbullying, online safety, and what to do if they become a victim of negative attacks online.
- Monitor children’s online use.
- Consider keeping computers in a common area (e.g., living room or den/office) rather than in bedroom.
- Know child’s passwords – computer, social media sites, email
- Pay attention to signs and behaviors that may indicate cyberbullying involvement, such as avoidance of computer or cell phone or other electronic devices; refuses to communicate or is secretive about technology use (stops online activity when someone walks by); emotional changes like feelings of sadness or symptoms of depression – especially after computer use, mood swings or increased aggression, decreased class participation.
- Be aware of any school policies that address cyberbullying.
- Inform school administration of any cyberbullying incidents that have taken place during the school day or used school property (e.g., computer, iPad, school website).
Recommendations for educators:
- Incorporate cyberbullying into anti-bullying policy and other applicable policies (e.g., student use of technology policy).
- Include a section on cyberbullying in existing bullying reporting forms.
- Work with faculty and staff to identify ways cyberbullying can be assessed in the classrooms and other school locations.
- Identify experts in the community who can offer training to teachers and school staff on cyberbullying and its potential impact and steps they can take when they become aware of or are informed about cyberbullying incidents.
- Incorporate curriculum on cyberbullying and appropriate online communication into existing anti-bullying and social and emotional skills lessons.
- Involve and make parents active participants in the assessment and identification of cyberbullying.
- Provide education to parents through handouts or newsletters that includes information on cyberbullying.