|Apr 26, 2012|
School seeks to help parents stop cyberbullying
Cyberbullying incidents have continued to remain in the spotlight as of late, but this doesn't necessarily indicate an increase in child meanness, according to some.
Communications specialist Angie Manzanares of the Granite School district in Utah told KLS that students are not becoming more "mean-spirited," but that they have more ways to channel angry or derisive impulses now. The school district is focusing its anti-bullying solutions on helping parents recognize and stop cyberbullying, including helping children understand how serious an issue it is through communication.
"Even if it hasn't been brought up, I think they need to sit down and say, ‘This is what it looks like. This is what can happen,'" Manzanares told the news source.
Many children who have been bullied, either online or in person, do not come forward or report it for a variety of reasons. Fear of retribution, of getting in trouble themselves or simply not thinking that it is serious are three of the biggest causes of this. Cyberbullying can encourage this mindset even more, because of its sense of anonymity.
"Now, I think a lot of kids just, because it's not face-to-face, think they can hide behind a computer or they can hide behind a cell phone," Manzanares said. "I think they're a little braver that way and feel like they can just say what they want to."
Helping parents better understand how to talk to their children about this issue can be a big step toward reducing bullying, when implemented in conjunction with school counseling and other endeavors. Cyberbullying in particular can be a difficult topic to both spot and discuss, as it is much easier to hide. With the proliferation of mobile devices and students with personal computers, it is much easier for them to hide online activities from their parents.
One tool that a school can implement to assist parents and students with bullying activities is uTip, the bully buster. uTip allows students to anonymously report in-person or online bullies to school authorities through their personal mobile device. This removes the fear of retribution, while also encouraging students to do the right thing and discouraging bullying altogether.