What We Provide
We provide services to school districts and schools in a variety of ways, including:
- Reviewing policies and practices related to cyberbullying, and offering recommendations for improvements
- Training of administrators and staff
- Training of students: our Safe School Ambassadors® program is an effective way to equip students with the skills to prevent and stop cyberbullying (and other forms of peer mistreatment and violence)
- Delivering parent workshops that increase their awareness of the problem and signs of cyberbullying and other forms of mistreatment.
While cyberbullying is an electronic problem, there is no electronic solution. Until the courts provide clear constitutional guidance on how schools may regulate online speech, education is the most effective way to respond. Cyberbullying is a people problem, and it requires a people solution. These include:
- educate students with information about what cyberbullying is, as well as costs and consequences, to the perpetrators, the targets, and the school as a whole. They see, hear and know more than adults do about particular incidents of cyberbullying, and are in the best position to prevent and stop it.
- train administrators and staff to recognize and respond
- educate parents; inform them of district policies and state or other laws, and provide them with tips and tools for preventing, recognizing and responding.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying and electronic aggression are the fastest growing forms of bullying, and the most pervasive and widespread.
- 1,000,000 children were harrassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook in the past year. (Consumer Report, June 2011)
- 42% of young people have been bullied on line. One in four have had it happen more than once. (AP-MTV Digital Abuse Study, 2009)
Cyberbullying is the use of electronic devices – computers, cell phones, instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms or social networking sites to harass, threaten or intimidate someone. It often includes rumors, insults and images about a person’s identity or other characteristics.
Impact and Cost
The impact and costs of cyberbullying to students and the school is significant. Targeted students are stressed and distracted from learning. In some cases, students have taken extreme measures, including suicide, because the problem seems so overwhelming and targets often don’t know who the bully is. Because of the viral nature of cyberbullying, and it mostly occuring outside the school, it is very difficult for educators to track.
Cyberbullying And The Law
Because cyberbullying and other forms of electronic aggression are growing, 49 of 50 states have enacted anti-bullying legislation , and many schools & districts are also developing policies. This is a particularly challenging issue for schools because:
- it often happens “off campus” (unless school computers or other school hardware is used)
- the aggressors/perpetrators are not easy to identify
- targeted students are often reluctant to report the incident(s)
- first amendment free-speech protection afforded to aggressors/perpetrators
Cyberbullying Prevention Resources
The federal government’s website on bullying – www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/index.html
Cyberbullying Research Center - http://www.cyberbullying.us/
iSafe – iSafe.org