Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Impact of Cyberbullying on our Students

I wanted to share the following article that I found to demonstrate just how serious of an impact cyberbullying is having on our students.


Cyberbullying is more prevalent than I thought

Working in a residential school, I have not really had any experience with cyberbullying because our students do not have free use of cell phones or computers. I decided to research some statistics on just how prevalent cyberbullying is in schools. I was shocked to find out just how serious of a problem this is and just how early it occurs. Even scarier is that only 15% of parents are “in the know” about their kids’ social networking habits, and how these behaviors can lead to cyberbullying. Below are some statistics that I found and thought I would share.

Cyberbullying Statistics From
42 percent of kids have been bullied while online. One in four have had it happen more than once.
35 percent of kids have been threatened online. Nearly one in five have had it happen more than once.
21 percent of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages.
58 percent of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than four out of 10 say it has happened more than once.
58 percent have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
Data based on 2004 i-SAFE survey of 1,500 students in grades 4 to 8.

As a future school administrator this is definitely a topic that I plan on continuing to research. I will be sure to keep you posted as I gain a greater understanding of cyberbullying and its impact in our schools.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Issue of Cyberbullying in Schools

Technology is continuously changing the field of education. While technology can provide many new opportunities for our schools and their students, it is also providing a number of new challenges. One major challenge that has been presented in recent years is the use of technology by our students to bully each other. Commonly referred to as cyberbullying, this is when students use technology to torment, threaten, humiliate, or embarrass other students. These technologies usually occur in the form of e-mails, instant messaging, text or picture messages sent on cell phones, blogs, or through popular social networking websites.

Cyberbullying has become a major problem for schools because parents and teachers often do not even know that the bullying is occurring. This new form of bullying also differs from more traditional forms of bullying in that it can occur at any time, the messages and images can be distributed quickly and to a very wide audience, and students can often be anonymous when cyberbullying, making it very difficult to trace them. Schools have also faced some major challenges when attempting to address cyberbullying because they cannot discipline students for cyber bullying actions that take place off-campus, due to the fear of violating the student’s right to free speech.

As an educator, I feel that it is the responsibility of my colleagues and I to make sure that all of our students feel safe and comfortable in our schools. To accomplish this goal we must begin to work on eliminating cyberbullying. Although I do not have a "one size fits all" solution, I have come across some suggestions that I will share with you. First, we should provide our students with education about the impact of cyberbullying and to provide them with guidance on appropriate technology etiquette. Secondly, we need to update our schools appropriate use policy to include cyberbullying and make sure that student’s are well aware of the consequences for violating these rules. Next, we need to provide parents with education and encourage them to talk to their children about cyberbullying and the potential consequences. We can also provide parents with on how to better monitor their child’s use of technology and inform them of what to do if they discover that their child is being cyberbullied. Finally, we can create a school wide cyber bullying task force that is composed of parents, students, and educators that can help to monitor what is going on in their school. As educators if we are going to stop this new form of bullying, we must confront cyberbullying head on and make it clear that it will not be tolerated in our schools.


Beale, A. & Hall, K. (2007). Cyberbullying: What School Administrators (and Parents) Can Do. The Clearing House (81) 1, 8-13.

Sutton, S. (2009). School Solutions for Cyberbullying. Principal Leadership (9) 6, 39-42.