1. Teach Resilience as a Skill
Teaching social and emotional resilience in schools and communities will have a greater effect than policy regulation or legislation in dealing with cyberbullying. Children should be taught a range of social and emotional skills early in school so that it will assist them in dealing with these issues. Skills like pro-social values, emotional skills, social skills and high-order thinking skills would better equip them should they be the victim of this unwanted behavior.
Lack of knowledge creates gaps, and allowing students to be part of the solution through their learning will enhance their ability to prevent and intervene in bullying situations sooner rather than later. If school is about preparing children for life, then digital literacy topics like cyberbullying should be no exception.
2. Create Better Resources
Scholars also need to be involved in the creation of materials or resources for the promotion of socially acceptable behavior, as well as front runners in raising awareness.
3. Allow for Community Involvement
Finally, platforms that allow for open discussions about what users do online and offline are also needed. Educating every area of our communities is just as important as the young people within them.
Dr. William Blake, principal of Stephan Decatur Middle School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, says he and his administration spend 85 percent of their time dealing with conflicts between their students that began on social media or text messages. He says that by educating and raising awareness, and forming partnerships with school, family and community organizations like SafeCyber that educates communities on topics like cyberbullying, that number will begin to drop.
More Effective than Turning to Law
Because cyberbullying knows no geographical boundaries and commonly occurs outside of school, the ethical and legal issues regarding cyberbullying provide concern for teachers, schools and parents due to limited clarity. Therefore, I argue that initiatives and programs which focus on the enhancement of positive relationships and the development of behavioral skills are more effective in dealing with the impacts of cyberbullying.
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