Bullying Prevention Month: Overcoming Cyberbullying

For the month of October, we are posting tips, resources, and interviews to support the National Bullying Prevention Month. The work we do is more than anti-bullying, we address the behaviors that often lead to bullying.

Our biggest goal this month is to teach adults about the difference between bullying and drama. Over the past few years, it seems that everything has been labeled as bullying. From being called mean names to harassment, it all got put under the umbrella of bullying. So as the month progresses, we will share more tips and strategies to address drama, conflict, bullying, cyberbullying, cyber stalking, and harassment. Let's dig a little deeper and learn more about cyberbullying and how to overcome it!

Cyberbullying is when someone is using the internet as a channel of communication to bully someone else. It is using power or social media status to intentionally harm another individual emotionally over a period of time.

In the online world, things spread faster, and overnight your child can become of victim! Be aware that there is the real world and the virtual world. In the online world time takes on a new form. The internet never shuts down, so things can go viral and there is little supervision over what is being posted.

Below are the strategies we often share in our training for students. Take the time to read the strategies and talk to your kids about social media and appropriate behavior online. Kids spend endless hours in front of their computers, find out what they are doing and who they are talking to. My staff spends hours learning about privacy settings, chat rooms, games, and apps. It can be a scary world online and the more we can learn, the better we can prepare our kids.

Overcoming CyberbullyingElementary Kids

  • Don't pass along cyberbullying messages, news feeds, and/or pictures
  • Block all communication with cyber bullies
  • Set an example and discourage your friends from bullying others online
  • Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult and the social media site administrator
  • Get in touch with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for assistance in blocking cyber bullies
  • Report cyberbullying problems to the local authorities and give them copies of bullying messages you've received (document evidence)
  • Take pictures of the messages and document the day and time for evidence
  • Speak with other students and after school programs about developing peer mentoring groups against cyberbullying
  • Don’t share your password with friends or boyfriends/girlfriends
  • Log out of your social media sites after using a friend’s computer or device
  • Learn about how to use your privacy settings (set privacy settings to friends only)
  • Your friend list on a social media sites should be equal to your real friend list
  • Delete any friends, posts, or pictures that make you feel bad about yourself
  • Don’t make post public or put stuff out there that might make you vulnerable
  • Keep all pictures and posts PG
  • Don’t share your phone number or personal information on a social media site
  • Don’t post videos exposing yourself on YouTube or other social media sites
  • Share your own story about cyberbullying

These are simple ways to start up a conversation with your kid. You need to know what you can do and the appropriate channels to report cyberbullying. I often tell parents to teach their kids how to take screen shots and document any evidence of cyberbullying. I also recommend that parents spend more time monitoring kids online access. We need to start having online boundaries and create clear expectations for our kids. Set up ground rules for your family and talk about the dangers of cyberbullying. Kids are using it as a different outlet and often they don't know the repercussions of overexposing themselves, sharing picture, or commenting on posts.

Cyberbullying can happen to anyone that goes on the internet. No one is shielded from it. Being behind a screen often gives kids more courage and power to be bold and fearless. Add in the impulsivity and immediate gratification and you get a recipe for disaster. Trust me, once a week I hear of cyber drama, cyber conflict, and sadly cyberbullying. It can easily destroy a child's self-esteem. Pictures go viral, gossips spreads faster, and often kids don't know how to shut it off. By us spending the time to learn more about technology and what you can do will help reduce this online madness.

Until Next Time...
Kortney Peagram
Be Strong*Be Brave*Be a Bulldog

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