ideas, innovations and apps for social work in the age of smartphones and social media
by Miriam Clifford, http://newsroom.opencolleges.edu.au
The advent of technology has brought with it familiar problems in new forms. Yet cyberbullying is unique in many ways.
What makes cyberbullying so different than in-person bullying?
- It is often anonymous and unlimited by time and place so the victim has little respite from the abuse.
- There is an element of disinhibition due to anonymity where students who would not normally participate do so. It can reach hundreds or even thousands of people quickly. The victim can feel even more isolated.
- It often involves repeated episodes of aggression and an imbalance of power. The victim may feel escape is impossible.
- More females are the victims and perpetuators of this type of bullying.
As educators, we need to be specifically aware of cyberbullying. Why is it so important to address cyberbullying in schools first? The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, argues that two thirds of school violence begins through social media. Cyberbullying can lead to school failure, psychological implications, depression, violence and illegal activity.
An Educator’s guide to Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats defines the behavior as verbal aggression such as:
- Harassment or repeated insults through various forms.
- Defamation of a person’s character through derogatory postings, rumors, or images.
- Flaming or fighting messages using anger and vulgar language.
- Outing or deceiving someone into sharing secrets or private information.
- Polling such as posting an image on a voting website to make fun of a person’s looks.
- Impersonation or identity theft to embarrass or destroy a person’s identity.
- Cyber Stalking including sending intimidating or threatening messages.
- Sexting including sexual solicitation and/or exploitation.
- Unsafe digital communities with shared interests, such as social communities that validate eating disorders, violence, or drug use.
Although the research about cyberbullying is still emerging, there is some consensus on best practices. There are a few things we can do as educators to curtail cyberbullying
Read more about the 15 strategies to stop cyberbullying via 15 Strategies Educators Can Use to Stop Cyberbullying : InformED.