- What is cyberbullying?
Most people have heard of cyberbullying, but not everyone is familiar with the exact definition. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that takes place online. It can involve posting mean or hurtful comments, spreading rumors, sending threatening or harassing messages, or publishing personal information without permission. Cyberbullying can happen to anyone, but it’s especially harmful to children and teens. It can lead to or intensify feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
If you’re wondering how you can protect students against cyberbullying? It’s important to recognize the signs so you can help your students stay safe and healthy.
- How it occurs in the classroom
Research indicates that cyberbullying has a strong impact on the academic and emotional development of students. Students are most often cyberbullied on social media platforms and through email.
- What are the signs
There are several warning signs that a student is being cyberbullied. They may suddenly become withdrawn or start avoiding social situations in school. They may also suffer anxiety, depression, or attention problems in the classroom. Here are some examples of signs in the school:
- A student is anxious or agitated when going online.
- A student is avoiding specific social media platforms or websites.
- A student is receiving strange or threatening messages from unknown people.
- A student’s mood changes drastically after going online.
If you notice any of these signs, talk to your child about what’s happening. Have an open and honest dialogue to allow them to explain their feelings. You may find that they’re unwilling to talk about their emotions, and that’s okay – note that every situation is unique and must be carefully managed.
The aim of these conversations is to help them understand that you’re here to support them. You can also contact a professional for guidance on how to best deal with the situation.
- How to prevent it cyberbullying
As a teacher, if you notice any of these changes in any students in your classroom, it’s important to talk to them about it privately. They may be reluctant to open up at first, but it’s important to let them know you’re there for them.
If the bullying occurs on social media platforms, there are ways to mitigate how much exposure you have to these comments. Instagram – like many others – has introduced tools and features to protect users from bullying.
Some studies show that parent communication is a step in the right direction when enabling an environment where children can express their emotions. By working with parents, you’ll strengthen the support network of victims.