How can children help each other when it comes to cyberbullying?
Parents and school will always ensure that children are safe online, but is there anything that kids can do to help each other and address the issues of bullying?
2 experts have answered
I think it's important for children to learn to look out for each other online in the same way they would do in the playground.
In a study we did with Year 9 students over a number of schools only 20% claimed to have witnessed incidents of cyberbullying, while over 50% had seen someone 'say something unkind' about someone online. This disconnect about what children see as being cyberbullying is one of our biggest challenges.
Sometimes simply letting someone know that their abusive behaviour online isn't right will be enough to shame them into stopping, or at least considering the consequences of their actions.
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Although it's important for schools to integrate digital citizenship into their lessons and activities, it's ultimately up to students themselves to decide whether they want to allow bullying behavior to occur at their school; they're the ones who hold the power to make a difference. At my school, we try to emphasize how students can go from being a bystander to an upstander - that is, how to make a situation better without making oneself the next target. The resources at Common Sense Media are great. We use them to create some of our lessons, but there are also advice sections for parents.
Strategies we try to give children vary depending on the situation. Sometimes it's best to stand up for someone being bullied at the moment. Other times it might be best to go find a trusted adult to let them know what's going on.
The other thing I've tried to do is share how students at other schools have become upstanders rather than bystanders. Last year I showed them a video of a student in the United States who collected anonymous compliments about classmates and shared them on Twitter. Those kinds of sites (on Twitter and Facebook) seemed to be popping up at lots of schools last year. Sure enough, two anonymous compliments sites showed up on Facebook last year for our school - one for the high school and one for the middle school.
This year I'll be showing students at my school a video about how some students in California reacted to a soccer goalie being bullied on Facebook.