Recently, bullying has become one of the most common and urgent issues in the educational world. From parents, teachers, and experts, everyone has been stressing on the impact of bullying on student learning and why it is important to do something about it. One of the many reasons why bullying has become an urgent issue is the advent of social media in the life of students. Traditional bullying was preventable to some extent, but with the increasing use of social media, bullying has turned into an inevitable issue.
Why Cyber-bullying Requires Urgent Attention of teachers
Cyber-bullying is the modern form of bullying which takes place on the internet. Experts have discussed the benefits of technology and social media in education, but not much attention has been paid to the dark side of the internet. A report by IAO showed that, among the other reasons behind the reduced class performance, cyber-bullying topped the list. The same research proved that traditional bullying doesn’t impact the personality and psychological growth of a student as much as cyber-bullying does.
Cyber-bullying is a huge part of the digital world in the current decade and is found to mar the moral development of a person to a great extent. It has been depicted in the movies as forwarding of fake messages, rumors, spreading fake news, embarrassing photographs and so on. The higher impact as compared to traditional bullying may have a relation with a high dependency on online peers and the lifelong availability of digital data such as YouTube videos, Facebook photographs and so on.
A research was conducted on 3,312 adolescents which showed that young adults who have been cyber bullied had issues trusting people and their peer acceptance also decreased exponentially. This effect is likely to develop into their adult life as well. Victims of cyber-bullying also have a low level of esteem. Research also found out that the victims may also deal with cognitive distancing, self-directed anger or self-blaming, denial, or believing that they deserved the abuse they suffered. Such negative emotions can trigger anxiety and have a direct impact on student performance in the classroom. The students may also suffer from clinical depression, loneliness, and peer rejection. All of these issues put the students at high risk of low morals, empathy, hatred, and delinquency, resulting in reduced class engagement which is exactly why it requires urgent attention of the educators.
6 Things Teachers Can do to Prevent It
1- Discuss Bullying
One of the simplest ways that teachers can use to prevent bullying is by discussing it. Many teachers make the mistake of ignoring dark topics and not dealing with them. This only results in making the issue worst. The best way is to educate the student about this topic using the correct language and tactics. When students are aware of the impact of their words and the consequences of their actions, they become more sensitive towards the feeling of other people.
2- Establish Rules and Regulations
One thing that educational institutes where cyber-bullying is a common issue have in common is a lack of rules and regulations. A student should be conscious of policies before a problem occurs. Create boundaries, establish them and form policies to curb verbal aggression. Policies should be particular, including any legal consequences. These policies should address issues such as verbal and textual abuses in class and outside of class as well.
3- Allow Use of technology
Often teachers resist the use of technology which causes students to drift towards misusing social media. By integrating technology in the classroom, teachers can concentrate on the ethical use of technologies. Prohibiting technology often makes the problem worse. The behavior of students goes unnoticed and teachers remain incognizant of it. Teaching students how to use technology appropriately is better than having them figure it out. Rules regarding technology need to be taught, instead of assumed.
4- Promote Students to Report the Bullies
Teachers and administrators can help prevent cyber-bullying in colleges, but nobody is as influential as the students. Students should be empowered to be leaders who stand against behavior that was mean online. Encourage students to report abuses, stand against offenders, and comfort people who are attacked. Anti-bullying organizations and groups are helpful and should be encouraged when students feel empowered to stand in their social circles, results become evident immediately.
5- Teach Coordination in Classroom
By assigning projects that require coordination teachers can promote a wholesome alliance in the classroom. Collaboration teaches students healthy ways to communicate and make them more compassionate. Take care to vary grouping of participants and to monitor the treatment of and from participants in each group. This would promote an exchange of positive regards among students and prevent toxic behavior outside of the class, as well.
6- Allow Healthy Discussion rather than Punishment
Occasionally, punitive interventions improved retaliation in reporting students. Policies focus on making amends and should hold aggressors accountable for behavior. Although, punishments and aggressive reaction from the teacher is not always the most effective solution, as it sometimes it can result in retaliation from bullies. Addressing the situation in a way that is wholesome avoids further incidences. These may include teaching students in class about responsibility, healthy relationships, and compassion. It’s crucial to create opportunities for forgiveness and reintegration to happen. Punishment is different than restoration since restoration aims to help students acknowledge their behavior and take measures to improve it.
Many people argue that teachers can do nothing or very little to reduce or prevent cyber-bullying as it takes place outside of the classroom. Although, the role of a teacher is of vital importance in the life of students. There are many other ways through which teachers can prevent cyber-bullying and build student confidence so that they can participate in-class activities and have a contented learning experience.