Bullying can happen to anyone. It might happen to you, your friend or someone online. People being bullied often feel powerless and alone, or worried about what the bully might do next (Kids Help Line, n.d.) . The impact of bullying can last longer than the bullying itself (Beale & Hall, 2007). Experiencing bullying can increase a person’s chances of developing anxiety or depression. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (n.d.) explain that “Cyberbullying is the use of technology to bully a person or group. Bullying is repeated behaviour by an individual or group with the intent to harm another person or group”. Cyberbullying can be seen through the use of technology, via email, chat rooms, text messages, discussion groups, online social media, instant messaging or websites. For example, being teased or made fun of online, having unpleasant comments, pictures or videos about you sent or posted on social media or websites, some people could even go as far use your screen name or password and pretend to be you to negatively hurt someone else (Beale & Hall, 2007). As a future teacher, my duty of care requires me to develop strategies to eliminate the occurrence of cyberbullying, in an effort to protect the wellbeing of all students.
Ways that you can protect a student from any long-lasting negative impacts of cyber bullying include:
- Being aware of bullying – i.e. what it is, how it occurs, possible impacts
- Intervening as early as possible
- Ensuring the child feels (and is) safe, secure and unconditionally supported
- Assisting the child to reduce or stop the harassment
- Helping the child acknowledge and cope with the emotions of cyber bullying and buffering the impact that cyber bullying has on their self-esteem and self-confidence
Beale, A. and Hall, K. (2007). Cyber bullying: What school administrators (and parents) can do. The Clearing House, vol.81, no.1, Sept/Oct.
ETCB Organization (2013, January 20). End Cyberbullying 2014 [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfT2qqrqzgo
Kids Helpline – Cyberbullying. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.kidshelp.com.au/grownups/news-research/hot-topics/cyber-bullying.php
The Australian Communications and Media Authority. (n.d.). Cyberbullying. Retrieved from http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Schools/Cyber%20issues/Cyberbullying.aspx