Even this morning, I received an email with the headline, "Cyberbullying is not a technology issue". It's major premise is that cyberbullying should be treated no differently than bullying. Author Reginald Corbitt, shares with parents at his Digital Age Parenting classes how parents are using their devices to be mean to others but he says the device is only "facilitating" the interaction between the other person and the situation they are in. Dr. Satira Streeter, in the same article, advises parents to focus on the behavior instead of the child's technology use (Corbitt, 2017). Since Corbitt posits that it is no different than bullying, or relational aggression, his strategies for preventing cyberbullying are also on the relational and social side as opposed to the digital citizenship end of the spectrum. For example, he suggests that teachers and parents teach resilience as a skill. That is an important soft skill to have. Still, I think students also need to be taught how to use these new digital tools in a responsible way. They also may need to be informed about the law regarding digital behavior since many of them are drawn to these digital alter egos because they believe there will be no consequences.
Hinduja and Patchin (2015) suggests some additional strategies for parents:
- Communication is key
- Go online
- Teach them early
- Monitor their activities
- Use discretion when spying
The most important this is to communicate. I ask my children questions about the apps, we monitor their activities online, I follow them on Twitter and Snapchat, and they follow me. I want them to know that I'm here for them and they can always talk to me about anything (offline or online). I suppose that would be the best thing to share with other parents as well.
Corbitt, R. (2017, January 31). Cyberbullying is not a Technology Issue. Retrieved from eschoolnews.com: www.eschoolnews.com/2017/01/31/cyberbullying-technology-combat/?ps
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2015). Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.