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  • Writer's pictureTosca Killoran

Cyberbullying Prevention

Social media is rife with online bullying and can have devastating effects on its victims. The definition of online bullying or cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to repeatedly target one person and send messages of an intimidating or threatening nature. Cyberbullying takes many forms, such as sending mean emails, posting negative comments, spreading rumours or publishing images without consent.


It can be challenging to prevent cyberbullying because it often occurs outside school hours. It is usually anonymous and can quickly go viral. However, there are some steps that students and parents can take to protect themselves from becoming victims of this type of abuse.


Students should only post what they want their parents or teachers to see. Additionally, they should keep their accounts private so only trusted friends can view their posts. If students become targets of online bullying, they should not respond. Instead, they should report the abuse to a trusted adult or school official. Students should follow the recommended age of use for apps; these guidelines help to keep growing brains from developing digital addictions or being pulled into complex relationships before they are ready. Parents should closely monitor online use; younger children and teens should use devices in common areas. Best of all, turn off the router at bedtime. Most online bullying happens late at night when teens are on their devices without adult supervision. 



Students should be aware of how their words and actions affect others in cyberspace to prevent becoming a bully. They should recognize that bullying someone online has the same impact as face-to-face. Online bullying can have long-lasting effects on its victims, so students must think before posting and take responsibility for their behavior. In many countries, there are now laws against online stalking, bullying, and threatening behaviors. A cyberbully may be engaged in defamation or harm to someone’s reputation by spreading false information about that person. Defamation that appears temporarily (as unrecorded speech or in a live broadcast) is called slander. Defamation that appears permanently (in a book or on a Web site) is called libel. Students should become familiar with the seriousness of cybercrime, the school's stance on cyberbullying and their consequences. 


If a perpetrator creates an unsafe environment by making their target feel they cannot go to school without violence, teasing or exclusion. Schools will take appropriate action to create a safe and equitable student environment. A school, therefore, might punish a student for online behavior that makes it hard for other students to learn in a secure environment. Students can be suspended or expelled for cyberbullying.


Finally, educating children and teens early about cyberbullying is essential for creating a safe community free from this damaging behavior. ISHCMC has created a digital citizenship framework covering cyberbullying, cyber safety, and healthy relationships to provide students with the tools they need to prevent cyberbullying.


By taking these steps, we can help students recognize the dangers of online bullying and equip them with the necessary skills to remain safe while using social media. 



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