Although advancements in technology provide a great deal of opportunities with regard to classroom teaching and learning, over recent years we have seen a dangerous trend forming around cyber bullying. I believe this a serious issue and without tactics to combat this epidemic, children and adults alike will continue to suffer the consequences of the misuse of the WWW.
It is important that children are aware of the dangers of the internet and social media. Once something is posted on the internet, it is there forever. Bullying is defined as behaviour and harassment, such as impersonation, exclusion, humiliation or intimidation, which is sustained and repeated over time. The actions have a highly negative impact on the victim (Office for Internet Safety & Barnardos, 2008)
As a future teacher, I believe it is absolutely imperative to learn about and understand ways of dealing with cyber bullying. Among the most important tactics to employ, is that of education. Education about the cyber bullying can be communicated through Anti-Bullying Policies, which should be in place at all schools. Office for Internet Safety & Barnardos (2008) note the best steps children should follow in the event they are a victim of cyber bullying:
– Don’t reply to messages that upset or annoy you.
– Keep the message – for further investigation.
– Tell someone – make sure you inform an adult or a trusted friend about the bullying you are experiencing.
– Block the sender.
– Report the bullying so that it can be effectively dealt with.
Parents, not just teachers and students, should have a strong grasp on preventative measures of cyber bullying. Parents and carers should keep a tab on what their children are doing on the internet and mobile phone. I believe it is important that children feel as though they have the confidence to deal with a problem such a cyber bullying and that they have a reliable and approachable adult or friend they can confide in, so that they do not suffer in silence.
The following is a useful website, which has information about cyber bullying, specifically for children, with games and activities as a fun way of learning.
Office for Internet Safety & Barnardos. (2008). A guide to cyberbullying. Dublin: National Center for Technology in Education. Retrieved from: http://www.rcysostenibilidad.telefonica.com/es/media/pdf/Get_with_it_Cyberbullying_Booklet.pdf