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What About Parents and Cyberbullying?

Cyber Bullying, Parents and Schools

Cyber bullying is defined as the use of technology i.e. phones and internet, to harass someone repeatedly and intentionally. This form of bullying has rapidly increased over the course of the past few years due to the increase in number of students who use internet and the vast spread of the social media culture as socializing and connecting channels for after school. What of Parents and Cyberbullying? 

However, staying “connected” most of the time has its bad side effects as well. When it comes to addressing the issue of bullying, the internet is not the safest place to be.

Unlike other kinds of bullying, Cyber bullying is sometimes hard to trace as bullies may resort to using fake or stolen identities or even manage anonymous account as cover up for their bullying behaviour. This makes bullying easier on the bully and harder on the victim. The bully hides behind his hidden identity and the victim can be subjected to this form of meanness or threats 24/7 as it extends to the victim’s house whenever she/he checks his/her phone or social media accounts. Being subjected to that type of bullying would normally decrease the student’s ability to concentrate, trouble in sleep or depression.

Most students do not report incidences of Cyber bullying as they don’t want to put their phone and internet privilege at stake. While others students gather enough courage to tell their parents or guardians about the Cyber bulling they are facing, but not all homes react to bullying the same. In some cases, it could be met with a shoulder shrug. Other times; it drives parents to further investigate the problem while getting the school involved and insisting that the bully is punished.

There are two different views present on the issue of the school interfering with resolving issues of Cyber bullying as this kind of bullying happens probably outside campus, where the school’s authority is questionable.

Investigating a Cyber bullying incident requires looking at students’ phone and personal social media accounts. This could easily be counted as an “off limit” activity from the parents’ side. While some parents could thank the school for taking part in the investigating phase as part of punishing the bully, others view this as a violation of their children’s privacy and that the school has no business searching their phones and laptops.

As to approaches towards ending Cyber bullying parents could easily be broken down into 2 groups. One clearly stating that school children have no place being on social media websites in the first place; and the other patiently explaining that through monitoring your child’s activity online and talking to him/her about it daily, any act of bullying can be handled whether your child is the victim or the bully.

As far as the school is concerned, their anti-bullying regulations could be extended to include Cyber bullying. Teachers and principals encourage parents to take part in their children’s activities online through monitoring it. Schools could also offer counselling to students who are being bullied if they come forwards with it, as well as arrange meeting with the victim and the bully where things can be sorted out.

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