The Get With It: Cyberbullying produced by the National Centre for Technology in Education and the Office for Internet Safety in conjunction with Barnardos (2008); define bullying and cyberbullying as the following:
Bullying is the repeated aggression, verbal, physical or psychological conduct by an individual or group against others. It is widely agreed to be behaviour that is sustained or repeated over time and which has a serious negative effect on the well-being of the victim, and is generally a deliberate series of actions.
Cyberbullying is bullying which is carried out using the internet, mobile phone or other technological devices. It takes on a more psychological rather than a physical form of bullying, and is usually used as a branch or means of ‘traditional’ or ‘conventional’ bullying, rather than a stand-alone form of bullying. It is usually accompanied by other conventions or forms of bullying. It can be used in the following ways:
- Personal intimidation
- Personal humiliation
- False reporting
Cyber bullying, within an educational context, creates the issue of whose responsibility it is to educate, prevent or create and administer consequences, in circumstances of cyber bullying. Schools and educational institutions often come under scrutiny when it comes to dealing with cyber bullying. So whose responsibility is it when it comes to dealing with cyber bullying?
Educational institutions need, within their school policy, to have a clear and comprehensive policy on bullying and cyber bullying, stating explicitly what they deem to be the nature of bullying and cyber bullying, and what the consequences are. This is because these institutions embrace the new technologies being developed, to help expand the horizons of teaching and learning to promote intellectual quality and personal learning environments, in which students then have access to. Schools need to ensure that students’ personal learning environments are safe, comfortable and conducive to learning, and nothing else. This of course is difficult when cyber bullying occurs outside the classroom. However, in defining specifically the schools’ and teachers’ roles in preventing cyber bullying, there needs to be an explicit school anti-bullying and anti-cyber bullying policy for teachers, students and parents; as well as education of cyber bullying, so students, parents and teachers become aware of how to recognise cyber bulling and how to stop or prevent it before it creates negative consequences for the victim. Educational institutions also need to be aware of restrictions placed on certain social networking sites within the school network. As is traditionally said, prevention is better than a cure!
TRY THESE LINKS…!
A series of interactive online games provided by cybersmart.gov.au and YouTube video clips to get educated on cyber bullying!
Get With It: A Guide to Cyberbullying Brunswick Press LTD (2008) National Centre for Technology in Education and the Office for Internet Safety in conjunction with Barnardos. Retrieved from: http://www.rcysostenibilidad.telefonica.com/ed/media/pdf/Get_with_it_Cyberbullying_Booklet.pdf