ERIC Number: EJ982358
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
The Basics of Cyberbullying
Roberts-Pittman, Bridget; Slavens, Julie; Balch, Bradley V.
School Administrator, v69 n4 p33-37 Apr 2012
Bullying is not simply the same act of misbehavior taking place electronically. While the two phenomena share common characteristics (use of power, harmful intent), distinct and important differences exist. The first is the concept of power. Power in cyberspace is not measured by physical size or family income. Instead, power lies in the anonymity that is possible with cyber communication. By using a false name, a cyberbully can go undetected. Similarly, cyber communication can be difficult, although not impossible, to track and trace. Further, cyberbullying through the use of a computer or cell phone can occur anytime. Finally, cyberbullies are able to reach a wide audience quickly. School officials need to keep in mind their duty of care for all students. This includes the bully and the victim. Many state laws that prohibit bullying and/or mandate discipline of students who engage in bullying also require schools to provide educational and preventative programs on bullying to students, school staff members (not just classroom teachers), and parents. Implementing these programs for each of these school community groups provides an opportunity to create a safe environment for students. State laws require safe use of the Internet curriculum to be taught at all or most grades beginning at the elementary level. This curriculum should address cyberbullying, notably how to recognize it, report it and avoid getting involved in it. School boards can adopt policies to address not only the student discipline issues surrounding bullying and cyberbullying but also the reporting of such activity, especially when it occurs off of school grounds and/or during nonschool hours. While a school may not be able to discipline a student for such action, it can provide counseling and/or intervention programs to help prevent future activity. Prevention programs that address the well-being of students as well as the bully can be provided through collaboration with community resources or through outside grants. Implementing such programs shows the students that all levels of the school organization care for their safety and well-being.
Descriptors: Prevention, Intervention, Bullying, Discipline, Laws, Power Structure, Computer Mediated Communication, Student Behavior, Victims, School Role, State Legislation, Curriculum Development, Incidence, Legal Responsibility
American Association of School Administrators. 801 North Quincy Street Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730. Tel: 703-528-0700; Fax: 703-841-1543; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.aasa.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A