Being online means interfacing with innumerable individuals behind the screen of nicknames and avatars. Take the Upstander Pledge and you know that the first steps to stopping hostility online is to stand up to bullying and support individuals targeted by cruelty. We asked cyberbullying expert Sameer-Hinduja, Ph.D., to share several more tips to identify and end bullying.
Tips for Teens
Protect your password
Safeguard your password and other private information from prying eyes. Never leave passwords or other identifying information where others can see it. Also, never give out this information to anyone, even your best friend. If others know it, take the time to change it now!
Setup privacy controls
Restrict access of your online profile to people you know and trust. Most social media platforms offer you the ability to share certain information with friends/followers only, but these settings must be configured in ordered to ensure maximum protection.
Start a movement, create a club, build a campaign, or host an event to bring awareness to cyberbullying. While you may understand what it is, it’s not until others are aware of it too that we can truly prevent it from occurring.
Tips for Educators
Download Your #Day1 Toolkit
Ready to end bullying in your classroom from #Day1? Download your free two page #Day1 Toolkit for your classroom to prevent bullying, whether face-to-face or online.
Teach students that all forms of bullying are unacceptable, and that cyberbullying behaviors are potentially subject to discipline. Have a conversation with students about what “substantial disruption” means. They need to know that even a behavior that occurs miles away from the school could be subject to school sanction if it substantially disrupts the school environment.
Educate your community. Utilize specially-created cyberbullying curricula, or general information sessions such as assemblies and in-class discussions to raise awareness among youth. Invite specialists to come talk to staff and students. Send information out to parents. Sponsor a community education event. Invite parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and any other relevant adult. Incentivize it if necessary!
Cultivate a positive school climate, as research has shown a link between a perceived “negative” environment on campus and an increased prevalence of bullying and cyberbullying among students. In general, it is crucial to establish and maintain a school climate of respect and integrity where violations result in informal or formal sanction.
Tips for Parents
Establish that all rules for interacting with people in real life also apply for interacting online or through cell phones. Convey that cyberbullying inflicts harm and causes pain in the real world as well as in cyberspace.
Monitor your child’s activities while they are online. This can be done informally (through active participation in, and supervision of, your child’s online experience) and formally (through software). Use discretion when covertly spying on your kids. This could cause more harm than good if your child feels their privacy has been violated. They may go completely underground with their online behaviors and deliberately work to hide their actions from you.
Cultivate and maintain an open, candid line of communication with your children, so that they are ready and willing to come to you whenever they experience something unpleasant or distressing in cyberspace. Victims of cyberbullying (and the bystanders who observe it) must know for sure that the adults who they tell will intervene rationally and logically, and not make the situation worse.
About the Expert
Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. is Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center found online at cyberbulling.org and Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University. You can learn more about him and his speaking schedule at his site.