How to Handle Cyberbullying This School Year

You can handle cyberbullying at your school or district if the right practices and policies are in place. Here are four exercises that can help you prevent, manage and respond to cyberbullying during the new school year.

Be aware. This might seem like the most obvious tip, but exercising good attentiveness is difficult to master. Many telltale signs of troubled students slip outside our attention because we’re busy attending to our jobs or affairs in our personal lives. Be on the lookout for signs, like a sudden and unexpected decline in performance, engagement or confidence.

Be savvy. One advantage you have by living in the Information Era is that you can track and record incidents of cyberbullying. Be sure to archive and, if possible, review all school-provided means of student communication. Before the advent of the Digital Age, there was no way to know a quiet student was bullied, but now there are ways to learn about bullying on your own.

Be understanding. Handling cyberbullying does not only involve prevention and detection, but also your reaction to instances of cyberbullying. It is important to investigate and consider as much context as possible when reflecting on a cyberbullying situation. Consider why the victim was targeted and the possibility of counseling and the benefits of parental involvement.

Also, consider why the bully decided to act out in the first place. Inappropriate behavior is always an outgrowth of poor choices, poor conditions, and poor influence. It is important to note that this will not always be the fault of the bully’s family, but might also be caused by other influences, such as media, friends and mental health.

Be a role model. A previous point suggested that media might be to blame for cyberbullying. To be sure, children and adolescents imitate oppressive male and female characters from reality television and movies, because it helps them cope with insecurity and a drive for dominance.

The way you treat your peers, your students, animals and even physical property will be observed by your students. If you live a life that inspires the respect of your students, you will impart your own values upon them.

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