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How to Prevent Cyberbullying

I know I already wrote about this topic but as it is part of the paper assignment I have found a few more things to comment on.  The first thing is the research: In my undergrad days as a history major I would typically use articles written in the last 20 years unless it was a historiography paper.  It might be a little hard to come by new information on a topic unless its anniversary was coming up.  But with cyberbullying this is not the case at all.  It was interesting to see how there has been an exponential increase in the amount of research on the topic in the past 3 years.  Simply put, 10 years ago, it wasn’t that big of an issue.  But today it is getting the attention it deserves. 

Another thing that really interested me was how these articles described the nature of cyberbullying.  You’d think the effects would be similar to bullying: someone is the perpetrator, someone else is the victim who gets their feelings hurt.  But this is nothing like what can really happen.  You get picked on in the lunchroom and you can go home and feel safe and have a little bit of comfort being away from that incident.  With cyberbullying, you can be attacked 24/7.  You can also not know who is attacking you.  Imagine getting a threat from someone who is using a fake alias online.  In one of the articles I read about some Brooklyn middle schoolers who made a webpage of people in their school they wished were dead, thinking it would be a funny joke.  I can only imagine being 13 and seeing my name on that list.  Also, what if you are chatting to a group of people online and all of a sudden you start getting harassed?  Those messages can spread like wildfire online as people email it to everyone they know.  The thing that really disturbed me was when they talked about picture phone abuse.  There have been incidents were students would take pictures of other students in the locker rooms and post it online for everyone to see.  I cannot imagine the damage this has to do to someone.  Bullying is being taken to a whole new level of abuse.  Anyone else hear about the homosexual kid in (Ohio I believe?) who was severely beaten up the other day and had it recorded?  It really saddens me to hear these stories, and I wanted to write a paper on it so I could see if there was anything we could do to help stop it. 

I think the most important thing I learned from this assignment was that preventing cyberbullying is not just an in school thing.  Although it should be the starting point of any attempt to put a stop to it, it also requires the imput of parents and students.  Students learn best when they are part of the learning process.  Numerous articles I read all suggested this.  Parents also look at using the internet differently than children so they need to be educated on how notice the signs of cyberbullying.  Kids need to know its ok to reach out and they need to be taught how to react in those situations when emotions are running high.   

Anyways, I think we need to start getting on the same page about bullying, whether it’s over the Internet or occurs in normal interaction.  I don’t want to go into too much detail here about how schools, parents, and students can interact to end cyberbullying, rather I wanted to give an impression of my reactions to the assignment.  If you’d like to learn more about what conclusions I came to or what we can do leave a comment!


2 responses to “How to Prevent Cyberbullying

  1. sodonne7

    Michael, your posts about cyberbullying made me wonder how much control schools have over things that students post over the internet. From what I understand, there’s not a whole lot the faculty can do in terms of what students choose to put online.

    That being said, I think it’s important to teach students that, just like any other form of bullying, it’s not ok. A great first step could be to educate teachers. I hadn’t even thought about a lot of what you mentioned in this post, including the idea that this type of bullying happens 24/7. It makes me wonder how many adults are really aware of all of the implications of cyberbullying.

    One potential source is the students. Those who have been bullied, those who bully, and those who don’t fall into either category. To give the students a voice is a powerful thing, and I think it can help us to begin to understand what they’re going through.

  2. yes! it is so important to get the students involved. After all, it is their problem; it is the students who are affected. We need to create a culture that does not tolerate bullying, not just try to prevent it, and that requires everyone to be educated

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