Cyberbullying Prevention Requires Everyone’s Involvement
Instances of bullying have long been a difficult issue that schools encounter. In this new digital age, the introduction of technology and increased access to devices has created an environment for cyberbullying to make its place within school walls and even more so beyond those boundaries.
Because of the dangers associated with cyberbullying, I often have conversations with educators about what their district is actively doing to help prevent it and how we can prepare students to become better digital citizens. While most everyone is aware of the importance and the impact that education can have on the prevention of cyberbullying, there are a variety of meaningful ways districts choose to approach the issue.
The state of Texas adopted SB 179 – David’s Law and amended the Education Code to redefine bullying, so that it includes ‘cyberbullying’ in response to the increasing danger it presents. With the amendment to the Education Code, this expands the responsibility of educators and districts, ensuring education and awareness for students, and providing timely notification of incidents for families at home. Cyberbullying is no longer confined to one space, it’s happening at home and in school, with access to the internet at student fingertips.
David’s Law encourages districts in Texas to establish policies related to cyberbullying prevention and mediation. However, every district around the country should be taking steps to develop some sort of plan and bridge the gap between school and home.
Here are some ways to get started with an online safety and cyberbullying prevention plan:
- Create awareness: each school or district should have their own plan. Make sure it’s visible and readily available to all educators, parents/guardians, and students.
- Provide guidance focused on prevention: curriculum should include lessons for students, but there should also be support in the home. This Cyberbullying Prevention Guide for Parents is a useful tool.
- Foster conversation: between parents/guardians, teachers, and students. This should be a topic that is discussed at home and in school. Parents or guardians should know what type of conversations their child is having in the classroom to learn about cyberbullying prevention. This helpful checklist can be used in school or at home.
Learning.com’s curriculum includes resources on cyberbullying awareness and prevention, online safety, and digital citizenship. If you’d like more resources to support your school district and community, download this free Online Safety Starter Kit.