Vigilance against Cyberbullying

Vigilance against Cyberbullying

Just because school is suspended and we are all staying at home doesn’t mean that bullying has stopped.  As we move the classroom and the school yard from schools to on-line, we move the bullies there as well.  Now more than ever, we need to monitor our children’s online activities.

Cyberbullying is defined by as:

”Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.”

Oversight should not slow down as more and more conversations are moving to texting and social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Tik Tok.  Further, as parents, we must be concerned that our children are on new apps like Google Hangout and/or Zoom.  Some schools are delivering content over these platforms which means that our children could be recorded for the entire school day by a potential bully in their class.  Schools, parents and children need to learn that the technology has a block video screen and a mute button, so they can protect themselves from having potentially embarrassing content recorded.  Further, schools should understand the potential FERPA violations as students are constantly on video and can be recorded.

In Barbara Coloroso’s Book, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Not-So-Innocent Bystander, she references “Teens and the Screen Study: Exploring Online Privacy, Social Networking and Cyberbullying” conducted by McAfee, a subsidiary of Intel Security in 2014.  The top five recommendations that study offers about online forums and protecting children are as follows:

  1. Connect with your kids. Casually talk to them about the risks of all online connections and make sure the communication lines are open.
  2. Gain access. Parents should have passwords for their children’s social media accounts and passcodes to their children’s devices to have full access at any given moment.
  3. Learn their Technology. Stay one step ahead and take the time to research the various devices your kids use. You want to know more about their devices than they do.
  4. Get Social. Stay knowledgeable about the newest and latest social networks. [And I would add apps to the list.] You don’t have to create an account but it is important to understand how they work and if your kids are on them. (This would include new platforms like Google Hangout and Zoom)
  5. Reputation Management. Make sure your kids are aware anything they post online doesn’t have an expiration date.  I would also add to explain to your children that they can be filmed or recorded without their knowledge.

COVID 19 has changed our world.  By being proactive, honest and vigilant we can get through this together and safer both in the world and online.


6 Tips for Parents to Report Bullying

6 Tips for Parents to Report Bullying

Adapted from Addressing and Preventing Classroom Bullying

by Barbara Coloroso

Because most bullying occurs under the radar, as parents and caregivers, you may be the first to know what is happening to your child. You can be allies in the effort to intervene. It is important that we have a procedure parents and guardians can follow and that children know they will be listened to and taken seriously.

Here are 6 steps you can take to report bullying:

1. Arrange a meeting for you and your child with the appropriate person at the school. This could be the teacher, a counselor, assistant principal or principal.

2. Bring to the meeting the facts in writing – date, time, place, people involved, specifics of the incidents – and the effect the bullying has had on the target as well as what he or she has done to try to stop the bullying that didn’t work.

3. Be willing to work with your child and educators on a plan that addresses what your child needs to feel safe, what he or she can do to avoid being bullied or to stand up to any future bullying, and whom he or she can go to for help.

4. Find out what procedures the bully will be going through and what kind of support the school expects from the bully’s parents.

5. Set up a time when the parent, student, and educator will review the plan to see if it is working or needs to be adapted.

6. If you feel the problem is not adequately addressed by the school, express your concerns and let the teacher or administrator know that you will take it to the school district board office and if necessary – especially in cases of serious abuse or racist or sexual bullying – to the police (in the U.S., you can contact the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights).

Bullying Recovery Resource Center is always an option for guidance, support, and advocacy. Our mission is to defend bullied children and support their families in recovery. We are available as a resource for questions about how to report bullying and navigate the process. If you need support, please call 303-991-1397.