How to Address Cyberbullying with Your Students


CyberbullyingWhen it comes to students being bullied online, it is an issue that needs to be addressed head on.

Now that bullying is no longer relegated to the out-of-sight corners of the playground or on the way to the bus stop, the responsibility lays in the hands of educators and parents to ensure that students know what to do when they are cyberbullied. It is no longer a simple matter of separating the victim from his or her bully and having a stern talk with the bully after class. Now bullying can go on at any hour of the night or day through various mediums such as texting, social media (Facebook, Twitter and Myspace) or instant messaging.

With that comes new ways of handling bullying online. When we talk with students about what to do when they encounter online bullying we always recommend the following steps:

  1. Don’t respond or retaliate and block the cyberbully on social media and from being able to call or text you on your cell phone.
    1. If a bully has no way to contact their fellow classmate online or through phone then they quickly become disinterested and find somebody else who he or she can pick on. On Facebook it is very easy to go to the bully’s Facebook page and block them from being able to contact your student again. For cell phones, check with your service provider on how to block specific phone numbers.
  2. Save any evidence of cyberbullying and report it to a teacher, parent or other trusted adult.
    1. What is interesting about cyberbullying is that it is very easy to track. If a video is uploaded then find out who uploaded it. If a comment is made on social media then look to see whose profile it came from. And phone numbers are easily traceable to the owner of the phone. All of this evidence is admissible in a court of law, so take screenshots or pictures of your screen to show the online bullying.
    2. If evidence does get turned into you, then make sure to take action. It is so easy for a cyberbully to continually harm, harass and humiliate online and it can go undetected for months. If evidence does come up, then quickly take action as it is probably a small result of many other online interactions that are going on.
      1. Just recently, Amanda Todd came forth and talked about the online bullying she had experienced for years. Shortly after she went public, she committed suicide.
Another key step to take is to change students’ thinking as it comes to bullies in general and to create a culture of people who stand up for what is right. Check back later this week for a new blog post.

© 2016 Mark Seguin