Each act of cyberbullying hurts students, disrupts classrooms, and affects your school’s culture and community. So how should you handle it? What should you do or say? And what can you do today that will help your students recognize, respond to, and avoid online bullying?

No matter how proactive you are, the reality is that students may still very well witness or experience cyberbullying. Acknowledging this and understanding how to deal with the aftermath is just as important as knowing how you can prevent it.

Changing the culture of how we both prevent and respond to cyberbullying can lead to powerful effects in the larger community. Rather than simply focusing on the consequences after the fact, we must guide students to understand that they have a choice in all their online relationships. They can say something positive or say something mean. They can create great community support around activities or interests, or they can misuse the public nature of online communities to tear others down.

To best help students make the right decisions, it’s important that schools and communities understand all facets of cyberbullying and digital drama. Try the strategies and resources below to address and prevent cyberbullying in and out of your classroom.

1. Respond accordingly.
All reports of cyberbullying—no matter the perceived severity—should be investigated. To determine the appropriate response, first find out what policies your school has in place to address cyberbullying incidents. For additional guidance on how to respond, refer to this helpful flowchart for schools: Responding to Cyberbullying.

About the Author:

As senior manager of education programs for Common Sense Education, Eisha Buch works on the digital citizenship program to oversee content creation and development of the curriculum. Prior to joining Common Sense, Buch taught middle and high school math in New York City and has also focused on international education development in East Africa and South America. She strongly believes all kids around the world deserve a high-quality education and that digital citizenship is critical to their success, now more than ever.