Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Week 4 Blog

Bullying has been around forever, but cyberbullying is a relatively new issue. Although this does effect adults, most victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying are teens, which makes this an issue for schools. The fact that kids have online access almost 24/7 has made cyberbullying more and more prevalent. Recent research has shown a slow but steady rise in cyberbullying. 25% of kids have been cyberbullied. 15% had been cyberbullied within the previous 30 days. Being in the online realm, which almost feels anonymous, causes many people to be less inhibited in what they post and teenagers are not immune to this. Many say things online they would never say in person.
Being involved in cyberbullying (whether the bully or the victim) can lead to an assortment of psychological issues including poor self-esteem and suicidal tendencies. It is also related to poor school performance, behavior problems, and substance abuse. 
So what can we do about this?
First of all, parents and teachers need to be involved. We need to be aware of our children’s online activity. We need to be observing their online use. Some teachers and parents are intimidated by their kids’ online abilities. We can’t let that stop us from helping them. While it is important to honor their privacy, children need to understand that parents and teachers can and will check their emails, browsing history, etc. if they feel it is necessary. 
If your children or students are victims of cyberbullying there are some immediate steps to take. Keep evidence of the cyberbullying. Report cyberbullying. Do not respond to the cyberbullying. Many sites have advice on how to deal with this. For example, has resources that give kids tips on cell phone, social media and password safety, in addition to tips on coping with cyberbullying. They also have tips for adults on handling cyberbullying. 
Signs that your child may be a victim of cyberbullying may consist of:
Being very upset after being online
Being extremely secretive about online activity
Failing grades
Changes in mood, behavior, or sleep patterns
Choosing to stop online activity
Being edgy when receiving a text or email
       As I read this list, I realize that many of these can be signs of multiple issues, not just cyberbullying. I believe that as teachers our first job is to build a relationship with each student. That is extremely hard with large numbers of students, but kids aren’t going to tell us cyberbullying (or anything else) is going on if we don’t take an interest and build a relationship. These kids need to feel safe coming to us when they need help. 
A few years ago at my school, we had an issue where several girls were cyberbullying one girl through Facebook. The victim was brave enough to come forward and report it to the school. Since it was not taking place on school grounds, there was little we could do about it. All of the involved students’ parents were contacted. In this case, all parents agreed to rescind their daughters’ Facebook privileges. I wonder what would have happened if they hadn’t agreed? Would their daughters have continued bullying others through social media? Since proximity is no longer required for bullying, schools must have the support of parents to prevent and stop cyberbullying. If parents aren’t willing to provide appropriate consequences to these bullies, schools will be hard-pressed to stop it.
I never really thought about it before reading Ryan’s blog last week, but now I realize that we definitely need to be teaching digital citizenship to our students. We must model good digital citizenship. We need to teach the kids that there are online rights and responsibilities just like real life. Acceptable digital behavior is just like acceptable real life behavior in that kids need to be taught right and wrong. They aren’t going to just automatically know without modeling and instruction. Cyberbullying is an unforeseen and unfortunate byproduct of the digital age.

Cyberbullying Facts (n.d.). Retrieved on 9/20/16 from 

Report Cyberbullying (n.d.). Retrieved on 9/20/16 from 

Cyberbullying (n.d.). Retrieved on 9/20/16 from


  1. Aly, thanks for the shout out to my blog post. I'm really passionate about citizenship, and your post reinforces that!

    It's so hard for our students to understand that cyber bullying has the same impacts as in person bullying. Hopefully, we can create meaningful ways to teach our students the harmful effects of it so that the problems stop. The problem is, as you pointed out, is that it is easier to say certain things because you don't have to say it face to face.

    Luckily, some social media is cracking down on cyber bullying and harassment. In light of recent events, Instagram is now allowing users to delete specific comments on posts. Twitter is also cracking down on its harassment and abuse policies in light of the racist attacks actress Leslie Jones received over the summer. What I hope to see in the future is digital educators working with social media creators to implement better tools for identifying and reporting irresponsible behavior online.


    1. Ryan,
      Your post on digital citizenship is what inspired me to investigate the topic further, so thank you. I chose cyber bullying because I believe it is crucial for kids to feel safe in order to do their best at school.
      I'm glad that some sites are cracking down on this. Hopefully that will help and we'll see some reduction the numbers of incidents.

  2. Aly,

    Thats the thing about cyberbullying that kids say things over text or messaging that they would never say in person. I can relate to this because my boyfriend will say things over text that he would most likely never say to my face. Not bad things at all actually they are good things.

    I think that is why cyberbullying has come about where it is today and why it has gotten worse is because of the parents lack of interest or lack of involvement in their child lives. If the child isn't seeking out attention at home with the parents, guess where he will get attention for things much worse? At school. Another item to relate to this specific aspect is my 13 year old cousin isn't given any attention at home. In fact, her own mother says she loves her but "dis-likes" her. There is no boding time between the mother, father, siblings for her. Therefore when she gets to school she does get in trouble with the boys. At 13!!!!

    Lastly, Aly, I agree that the teachers building the relationship with the students is so crucial now a days. If the teacher and the student have a great relationship it is more likely that the student will go ahead and tell her everyones scoop. Therefore, the teacher can relay back to the principle or guidance counselor and help with potential cyber bullying.

    Great job Aly!!! I really enjoyed reflecting and reading your post this week!!!


  3. Lindsay,
    That story about your cousin is so sad. You are right. Unfortunately, if she isn't getting what she needs at home, she will look for it elsewhere...
    The relationship between teacher and student is so important on so many levels! I hope that every student has someone they can talk to at school!

  4. Aly,

    I completely agree with your point that parents need to be involved and take an active role in talking to their students about bullying and following through on consequences if their child does so. Without the support of the parent there is little that can be done, given that most of the bullying takes places outside of school on home devices. We have had instances of this at our school and, unfortunately in this particular case, the parent would not admit their child had been bullying online even when presented with direct evidence that he had. After watching a clip the student had posted to Kik, an app very popular at our school for students to send texts and videos, the parent stated that he was just doing what kids do and that he was simply joking around. There was really not much more we could do address the parental responsibility aspect of the issue so we decided we would try to tackle it from an angle we could control. We began teaching what cyber bullying is and how we as a school and community can stop it in our classrooms.

    I really liked when you said, “Acceptable digital behavior is just like acceptable real life behavior in that kids need to be taught right and wrong.” I am continuing to seek out digital citizenship and anti cyber bullying curriculums for our elementary school so that all of our teachers will have the resources they need to combat this problem in their classrooms. I hope that these lessons will transfer to situations outside of school as well.

    1. Samantha,
      Wow! Just kids being kids? What an irresponsible reaction to what the child was doing! How can we fight that? You're right. Educating the children about cyberbullying seems to be the best way for us to tackle the problem.
      I'm glad you're finding appropriate curricula for teaching digital citizenship. Hopefully, that will help!