Cyber Bullying: What Parents Can Do to Help

Sean Bryant
  • By Sean Bryant
  • Misc
  • November 14, 2013

Cyber BullyingIt may seem harmless to see your child engaged in the latest social media application. She may be snapping pictures to her friends on Snapchat or posting funny status updates on Facebook to stay in touch with her classmates and friends. However, when social media posts and tweets take a turn for the worse, your child may experience the devastating effects of cyber bullying, ultimately damaging her self confidence, self esteem and mental well being.

Defining Cyber Bullying

According to Dr. Kate Roberts, Boston-based psychologist and cyber bullying expert, cyber bullying is the use of technology to harass, hurt, embarrass, humiliate or intimidate another person. “Targets are the same students who are bullied in person,” says Roberts. “They are vulnerable, have difficulty reading social cues and they are often alone and socially isolated.”

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The Bullied: Words of Wisdom

Anne Collier
  • By Anne Collier
  • Misc
  • June 11, 2013

There’s probably no better testimony to the power of social-emotional learning than this UK student’s poem about what happens to the “bully” when victimizing someone else (don’t miss this 1:25 min. video of Garrett reading his poem). Garrett was a student at New Line Learning Academy in Maidstone, Kent, UK, when he read this poem in 2011 (he may still be, since it’s a school for students aged 11-18). His poem reflects the healing that comes from the awareness and resilience that social-literacy training develops.

His school adopted school-wide social-emotional learning guided by an SEL program called The Ruler Approach based at Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence. Staff there posted this video on YouTube, reporting that, “after reading this poem in public, Garret received a standing ovation from his class, and the bullying ceased.” If educators are considering showing video for class discussion on bullying or peer victimization, consider this one rather than any video purely about victimization, which can be demoralizing and can suggest to students that social cruelty is “normal.” Social norms research shows that when people understand that negative behaviors aren’t actually something that most people or “members of our school community” engage in, whatever negative behaviors there are decrease even more.

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Cyberbullying: Reflections of the Real World

Anne Collier
  • By Anne Collier
  • Misc
  • May 14, 2013

Cyber-Bullying: Reflections of the Real World

I keep seeing research evidence that “what goes around, comes around” online too. We think of it as common sense in the face-to-face world, but it’s becoming pretty evident online too. There’s safety in respect for self and others wherever it’s shown, including in digital spaces. Here are three examples in the research, starting with a recently released study:

Positive Begets Positive Online Too

The latest is a study released by Michigan State University researchers who found that “positive online comments can help blunt cyberbullying.” The question that led the press release was: “Want to stop cyberbullying on Facebook? Try using … Facebook.” But certainly not just in Facebook; that’s just where the research was done. If you want positive behaviors from others, be positive. We kind of knew that, right? I’m not being sarcastic in any way, just noting what we’re seeing more and more in the research: that online reflects offline, and there’s an ethic of reciprocity that works in all spaces. The social norms and common sense we humans have been developing for thousands of years apply in this new “space” into which human relations spill over and play out too. “We’ve established with our research that anti-cyberbullying messages that are framed in a negative way are not getting kids’ attention,” said one of the MSU researchers, Asst. Prof. Anna McAlister. This is good advice for the online safety field too.

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4 Steps to Prevent Online Bullying

Mike Moloughney

Cyber bullying, or online bullying, continues to be a significant problem for teen and child-focused online communities.  What are the steps a site owner can take to prevent or minimize this type of behavior in their online community?

Bullying

First, let’s give a quick overview of cyber bullying.  Cyber bullying is similar to “regular” bullying, but is done through electronic means (e.g., cell phone, computer, tablet).  There are many avenues for cyber bullying: social media sites, text messages, forums, and chat rooms are among them.  According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Cyberbullying Research Center, a stunning 52% of students reported being cyber bullied.  It may be difficult for adults to relate to cyber bullying as the sheer speed and scale is much greater than bullying that we grew up with.  No longer is bullying just done face-to-face.  Being able to disparage someone online provides not only anonymity, but also, an extremely wide audience.

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Online Bullies: Parenting in Real-Time

Brian Pontarelli

A few weeks ago, my 8-year old son came to me and said, “Dad, can you help me with something?” I said, “Absolutely.” He led me over to the family computer, and he explained to me that while he was playing Roblox, this “other guy” was being really uncool. I asked him to tell me what the player was doing, and he said, “Let me show you.”

For the next 20 minutes, the two of us watched as this player proceeded to ruin the game for everyone else. My son explained that in this level, there was a special item that afforded players a lot of power. Because this “other guy” player had this special item, he had the ability to fly, create anything, or destroy anything. He was using this power to ruin the experience of other players, including my son.


 
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