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Have your students or children ever become victims of cyberbullying? Well, you are not alone. About 37% of young individuals between12 and 17 years have been bullied online. Every year, there is an increasing case of cyberbullying activities recorded.
And with classes and teaching being done remotely in recent years, cyberbullying has only become more problematic. Many out there are ignorant of cyberbullying and its effects on a kid’s mental and emotional health.
So to tackle this situation, we will discuss what cyberbullying is, why it is important, and how teachers and parents can help prevent cyberbullying in this article.
What Is Cyberbullying And Why Is It of Great Concern?
Cyberbullying is simply the act of bullying online with the use of digital technologies. You can understand cyberbullying as posting mean messages, threats, and false information about a person online to wilfully inflict harm through the use of computers, smartphones, and other digital devices.
Cyberbullying is a significant cause of concern as it is much more pervasive and difficult to counter than traditional bullying.
In modern-day cyberbullying, since mean and derogatory comments are posted online, virtually anyone with the internet can see them, and since they can be posted anonymously, it is challenging to find the source of these comments.
Not talking about the social, mental, and emotional stress online cyberbullying can cause to a victim, just the increasing number of cases of cyberbullying itself is alarming.
In 2020 alone, 15% of US students between 12 and 18 years old have become victims of cyberbullying, the National Centre For Education Study says.
Since cyberbullying has become such a significant issue, it is only natural to take several preventive measures against it. As a teacher or a parent, you can come together to stop such online bullying activities.
Here are five tips that teachers and parents can use to prevent cyberbullying.
Five Tips For Teachers To Prevent Cyberbullying
1. Teach about cyberbullying, their preventive measures, and digital safety to students.
A teacher’s main job is to teach. So teach about cyberbullying, as well as how one can prevent being a victim. Organize regular interactions, present statistics, and show them practical examples of dealing with a cyberbully effectively.
You can teach them about ignoring an online attack, taking a screenshot and call records as evidence, how to report a cyberbullying incident, and making sure your students know their online rights and responsibilities.
2. Remain attentive to your student’s habits.
How can you tell that your student is being cyberbullied? Well, by paying attention to their regular habits. As you are their teacher, you should know about the student’s day-to-day behavior. It becomes easier to see irregular behavior patterns when you keep a close eye on your student’s habits.
As an example, if an active, bright, and attentive student suddenly starts becoming more introverted, gloomy, or depicts some other unusual behavior, he/she may be a victim of online bullying.
3. Actively engage with parents.
As a teacher, you should also engage with your student’s parents and form a collective stand to prevent cyberbullying. This includes educating parents on cyberbullying, setting up home and school rules, creating parent-student-teacher conferences, talking about the student’s behavior at school with their parents, etc.
A child also feels safe if he sees his teacher and parent working together for his safety. Moreover, with parents and teachers being actively engaged, they can create many effective methods to deal with online bullying at both home and school.
Although how to raise one’s kid is totally up to the parents, as a teacher, you can still share your thoughts with parents and make sure that your student remains out of harm’s way from online bullying.
4. Create a good classroom culture.
A good classroom culture helps prevent a child from being a victim of cyberbullying and helps him develop self-confidence and social interaction skills for his future.
You, as a teacher, can create a good classroom culture by encouraging your students not to engage in online bullying activities, talking with students personally, and listening to their complaints. You can also empower the class leaders, giving rewards to students for their excellent behavior, etc.
5. Report a cyberbullying incident immediately.
Documenting and reporting a cyberbullying incident is also a part of your job as a teacher. Once you receive news that a particular student has been cyberbullied at school or anywhere else for that matter, you report it immediately to his parents or guardians.
More importantly, if the cases of cyberbullying are rising in your school, you should also be responsible and report it to your school principal.
Documenting and reporting a cyberbullying incident fast not only helps prevent this kind of behavior from spreading, but it will also give a chance to address the emotional and mental stress a victim feels on time.
Also Read: Teaching Courses in South Africa
Five Tips For Parents To Prevent Cyberbullying
1. As a parent, learn and empower yourself first.
How do you expect to protect your child from cyberbullying if you, as a parent yourself, do not know what it is? So, first, you need to be knowledgeable about cyberbullying yourself before you can start thinking about preventing it in your child.
You can talk to your child’s teacher, learn online articles, and speak with other parents to understand the gist of cyberbullying.
After you know about cyberbullying, you can come up with effective plans on preventing them from happening to your kid depending on your family’s circumstances as well as you and your kid’s preferences.
2. Have an open and honest conversation with your child.
Have a good heart-to-heart talk with your kid, especially if you think he/she is hiding something from you. Having a good discussion with your kid solves the communication problem parents tend to have with their children. An open and honest conversation allows you to understand your child’s thinking, insecurities, and problems.
Only after you understand your child can you devise preventive measures to stop cyberbullying and your kid becoming a victim. Moreover, if your child is a cyberbully itself, a good conversation will help him understand his lousy habit and ensure that he/she will not engage in such activity again.
3. Set up parental controls.
Parental controls are very effective tools that help you monitor your child’s online activity, create filters to restrict inappropriate content on their devices, set up alerts and time restrictions.
These tools are convenient as they make your job of parenting very easy in the digital age. And as you are aware of your kid’s online activities, it will be easier for you to discover any cyberbullying or other online threats posed to your child.
Of the many parental control software available]le on the market, the one I especially recommend is fenced.ai. With its impressive features and reasonable price strategies, you will be sure to love it after you try it once. Some other good alternatives include Bark.us, Kaspersky Safe Kids, etc.
4. Create house rules and make sure your children strictly follow them.
You, as a parent, need to create some ground rules for the use of digital devices in your house and strictly implement them. Creating and implementing rules helps your kid spend less time on the internet.
Practices such as not using smartphones during meals, no internet surfing after supper, etc., help manage your kid’s time well on personal growth.
More importantly, it is a simple and straightforward equation; if your child spends less time on the internet, he is less likely to get cyberbullied.
More time on the internet means the chances of your child being a cyberbully or a victim of a cyberbully are higher. So, make these house rules and make sure your kids follow them strictly to prevent online predatory activities like cyberbullying.
5. Build confidence, self-respect, and resilience in your child.
A child with confidence and resilience is less likely to get cyberbullied. So, building confidence and self-esteem in your child is critical. But how do you go about doing it?
Well, converse with them, make them feel that you are always there and they can share anything with you. As a parent, listen calmly to their problems, however small they may be, address their insecurities, build trust, and show them how they can protect themselves from online cyberbullying.
A child’s empowerment should be a continual process and not a one-off thing. Self-respect, confidence, and resilience do not come easily or fast.
It takes time for a child to be confident enough to resist any cyberbullying. Be with them during this process, keep track of their online activities, and help them in any way you can if they need it.
As digitization evolves, more and more kids will be using the internet in the future. As such, the risk of cyberbullying also increases conversely.
Thus, it is necessary that you remain aware of the threat of online predators and cyberbullies, as well as how online bullying will affect your children.
As teachers and parents, it is your responsibility to ensure a promising future for your child and keep them from harm online.
Therefore, with the tips and tricks in this article, you as a teacher or a parent can effectively prevent activities like cyberbullying and ensure your child’s digital well-being.