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Most of the times, student behavior poses challenges to education experts. One such phenomenon is the threat of cyberbullying; bullying a student through the use of electronic media. Bullies send text messages via computers and smartphones which can be threatening or intimidating. Such students can also share content on social media platforms or via gaming apps so as to inflict emotional pain on timid and introvert students.
Here are some tips that will help teachers crack the whip on erring students who are making the lives of their peers a living hell through offensive texts and images.
Now a days, kids as young as six are relying on technology to learn in classrooms or at home. It is this trend that paves the way for bullies to go crazy with their malicious intentions. It is hence your responsibility as a teacher to educate your pupils about cyberbullying from the time they start using technology for learning. When students are aware about cyberbullying, they will steer clear of all such occasions which can lead them to be bullied by the “so-called” dominating students.
Teachers should work hard in the direction of nipping off cyberbullying in the bud itself through the active involvement of parents. School authorities, teamed with teachers should step in to conduct e-workshops and webinars for parents. As part of these workshops, parents should be allowed to engage in discussions concerning cyber bullying along with solutions that come in the form of filtering software. Highlighting the different forms of cyberbullying will also be of utmost help to parents to ensure that their kids are safe at home while being connected to the internet. This awareness about what cyberbullying will help parents to ensure a safe and cordial learning environment for their wards; at all times.
While teachers should educate both kids and parents about what cyberbullying is all about, the onus is on them again to inform both the parents as to what is not bullying. Since kids are free to express their differences on various online platforms, they can also engage in arguments so as to prove their point to others. Under such circumstances, it is important for students to not regard a small tiff as an act of bullying.
Teachers are ordained to impress upon students to protect their online passwords. It should be dinned into the minds of students that they should never ever share their passwords with anyone; including their closest pals. Teachers should also emphasize on the need to keep changing the passwords at regular intervals. Students should also be encouraged to come up with non-controversial tweets alongside maintaining a graceful online status for other friends to easily recall and interact.
Teachers should adopt an empathetic stance with the perpetrators by reiterating the fact that they cannot get away with what they are doing. Educators should impress upon such erring students that they cannot take refuge for their wrong doings behind a computer or phone. It is through empathy that teachers can handhold such students and tame them so that their words and actions do not inflict pain on the weak and vulnerable students.
Teachers have to work in tandem with the school staff to ensure that the laws of cyberbullying are adhered to; at all times. If a teacher identifies an offensive image or content, especially of cyberbullying nature, he/she should go full on to confiscate the device. To perform such disciplinary acts, it is the prime responsibility of teachers to stay in sync with the protocols of their school along with the act of safeguarding the lawful policies of child protection. This way, a sense of lawfulness will keep such bullies on their guard.
As a strong contrast to the common adage “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, punitive actions work against your intention. Care should be taken by educators to restore the situation without indulging in any sort of punishment. Teachers should try to address cyberbullying in a healthy manner so as to avoid repeated occurrences. Allowing students to develop healthy relationships with their peers, teachers will have to work hard towards educating students about mutual understanding and responsibility.
Empathy is not only about understanding the mentality of bullies. It is also about helping the bullied students to report abuse. An open line of communication between students and teachers will pave the way for a cordial teacher-learner relationship. Once such a healthy relationship is established, students will gain confidence and start to open up with their faculty about becoming a victim of cyberbullying. It is hence the need of the hour for teachers to harp on the importance of breaking their fearful silence that envelops cyberbullying.
Teachers deal with students coming from different walks of life. While some of them can be extroverts, a bunch of introverts in class might find it difficult to interact with the rest of the class. It is under such circumstances that team building activities come to the rescue of teachers. Allowing groups of students to collectively partake in an activity with a pre-defined goal will enhance the interaction between these groups. Once students start interacting with each other in pursuit of attaining a common goal, they will employ all their strengths to complete the task. In doing so, they will also start to engage with other students who are not a part of their class.
Schools which incorporate technology as a learning tool stand to ward off the instances of cyberbullying, in more ways than one. Teachers will be able to educate students about the ethical and non-ethical use of technology. Guiding them at all times, teachers through technology can help students respect each other and stay away from hurting others through malicious comments and images.
Teachers can seek the active participation of students in anonymous school surveys. Through such programs, teachers will be able to assess the extent of bullying that is harming students along with other malicious behaviors that are prevalent. Allowing educators to identify blind spots through nameless clues coming from the entire class, teachers will have substantial data points to address the menace of cyberbullying. They will be able to better focus on the issues and address them accordingly.
While teachers spend a great deal of time amidst the four walls of a classroom, constantly interacting with their pupils, they can also seek the intervention of community resources in tackling cyberbullying. School communities which have the support coming from administrators, counsellors and law enforcement personnel will be in a better position to tackle the ill-effects of cyberbullying.
Teachers can knock on the doors of counsellors to interact both with the perpetrators and the victims. Teachers should impress upon students to be open up their problems to counsellors to solve them.
Students can indulge in sexting, alongside engaging in conversations full of verbal aggression. They can be caught possessing an indecent video image or video of another student. Notwithstanding the fact that such actions do not call for any legal proceedings, teachers should seek the involvement of Police Community Support Officers (PCSO). Through these law enforcement officials, everyone concerned can be briefed about the legal implications that surround cyberbullying. When parents and students participate in such discussions, they will be better informed about the consequences of cyberbullying.
Wrapping It Up
With so much being said about cyberbullying and the pain it inflicts on weak students, it is time teachers take things under their control. When the above-discussed tips are implemented by educators, they can not only restore but also create a positive school environment that thrives on open communication and empathy. All in an attempt to establish healthy peer-to-peer relationships in classrooms, these anti-cyberbullying hacks will come handy to ensure the mental well-being of every student concerned.
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