Handling Cyberbullying

Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying requires no physical venue and isn’t confined to a schoolyard. Incidents of cyberbullying can occur in text messages, email, Facebook posts, chat rooms, and many other ways, at any time of day. New social networks are created quicker than ever, and with the debut of every new network comes a new place for cyberbullying to occur.

What can you do as an adult when you suspect that cyberbullying is taking place?

Save it

There’s a good chance you can save the cyberbullying interaction by archiving social network chatter, saving a chat log, or just taking a screenshot. Make sure this practice is clearly stated in your acceptable and responsible use policies, and then keep any suspected cyberbullying incidents on file for later reference. If the situation progresses to the point of involving law enforcement, past incidents can be helpful in building a case.

Report it

In many cases, reporting abuse can be beneficial. If it’s a common practice for one student to show signs of bullying behavior, multiple reports could result in the deletion of the student’s social network account, detention or school suspension. Reporting these incidents can help improve the overall social network experience for all users. For a quick reference list on how to report abuse, take a look at our guide.

Block it

Once the situation is under control and the abuse is reported, the best way to avoid any future turmoil—as mentioned above—is to block the user. Many chat applications, or “friending- based networks” allow a user to block another user from interacting with them.

Follow up

Unfortunately, cyberbullying behavior will likely not be restricted to one interaction, or even one social network. Make sure to follow up with the individual being bullied to ensure everything is being done to prevent any future incidents. Although 50% of students have been a victim of cyberbullying, only 1 in 10 report the abuse to a parent, so being proactive is important.

Cyberbullying is a serious issue that can be detrimental to the quality of life of a student. Staying alert and being aware of possible issues could keep a student out of a horrible situation.  For a quick reference list on how to report abuse, take a look at our guide.

Additional Resources