If students admit that they don’t get help for cyberbullying for fear of making the issues worse, or because doing so just doesn’t help solve the problem, then how can parents, educators, and administrators be sure that cyberbullying isn’t a problem in their school (Willard, 2013). What can schools do to ensure the students feel safe? Do we wait until it becomes a problem or do we take preventative action? I suggest schools take preventative action by providing cyberbullying workshops for their students and staff. Schools should survey their students, especially at the middle and high school level, to see how many students feel they are being affected by cyberbullying and how serious a problem it currently is at their school. Lastly, schools should educate students about what cyberbullying is and how they can handle cyberbullying situations.
In elementary schools, cyberbullying should be addressed more as a preventative lesson. Educators can teach lessons to inform students about what cyberbullying is and what do to if they or someone they know is being cyberbullied. Common Sense Media has what they call the Cyberbullying Toolkit (https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/cyberbullying-toolkit) to help in this regard. For elementary grades there are 25 lessons based on cyberbullying issues. For grades K-2 it’s called Screen Out the Mean and for grades 3-5 it’s Group Think. For middle school grades there are 28 lessons and in high school they provide 12 lessons. Along with the lessons, Common Sense Media also provides additional resources for administrators, students, and parents. Elementary schools could start with these lessons to educate and inform students about cyberbullying issues.
Middle and high school schools should survey students to get a sense of how much of a problem cyberbullying is in their school. Nancy Willard takes this approach in a great deal of her cyberbullying research. She has an anonymous student survey for students grades 7-12 that can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=H0NemN59a57JmdtPuHGao6GJRQy9fM3c1NsuANmh1jY%3d. Another survey that could be useful is https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/nystopcyberbullying. This survey asks students important questions that ask about their experiences with cyberbullying and ends by asking the students to name one thing about cyberbullying that their parents don’t know. Schools could also choose to have a group of students, administrators, teachers, and parents create their own survey. By having students take a survey, schools would have the data they needed to define a starting place in educating their students. Schools could create student cyberbullying workshops based on the needs of their school.
Finally, there needs to be training and collaboration for adminstrators and teachers. Schools should provide their administrators and teachers with cyberbullying workshops/professional development helping to equip their staff with the skills they need to handle cyberbullying issues.
In my 3rd grade classroom I plan on using the Common Sense Media cyberbullying lessons. I have created a digital citizenship unit that I have been teaching my students, however, it doesn’t include a cyberbullying component. My unit does address being safe and respectful online, but after reading the materials from this week I see the importance of changing my unit to add cyberbullying lessons/topics.
Common Sense Media Inc. (2014). Cyberbullying toolkit. Retrieved March 17, 2014
WFYI Productions. (2013, April 30) Bullying symposium 2013 keynote speaker nancy willard. [Video post] Retrieved March 13, 2014 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZlZwX4gqxU
Willard, N. Cyber savvy survey. Retrieved March 17, 2014 from https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=H0NemN59a57JmdtPuHGao6GJRQy9fM3c1NsuANmh1jY%3d
Wired Safety. Student cyberbullying survey. Retrieved March 17, 2014 from https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/nystopcyberbullying