As technology continues to permeate our lives inside and outside the classroom, educators, administrators, and students should work together to prevent the development of a cyberbullying culture. Research indicates that cyberbullying is detrimental to students and, in some cases, has been proven to be the cause of self-harm and suicide. Educators and parents need to find ways to actively engage our students and make sure they feel safe in their school community.
The current cyberbullying research indicates that cyberbullying is a huge concern for schools—even more so than traditional bullying. Anti-cyberbullying strategies must be consistent and implemented in a school-wide policy that is clearly and efficiently communicated to all stakeholders (parents, students, teachers, administrators, etc.).
The research also shows that strategies are more effective when students play an active role in determining policy. Students should be engaged in leadership training to help them articulate their feelings about this issue and learn how to engage key stakeholders on the importance of student-related challenges.
Much like the evolution of the online and social media worlds, the world of anti-cyberbullying legislation has evolved very quickly in the past few years. Since the mid-2000s, many school districts and states have moved forward with legislation to protect students from harmful online activities. Ultimately, the courts have stipulated that legal emphasis must be placed on not only where the cyberbullying incident takes place but also on “the technology used to carry out the cyberbullying—that is, school-owned equipment or personal resources.” Because of these stipulations, legal ramifications of cyberbullying can be difficult to ascertain and not necessarily helpful in solving the problems that appear in our classrooms.
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