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How To Stop Online Bullying

How To Stop Online Bullying

Coping strategies for victims, schools and parents.

cyberbullying, coping strategies, education, parenting

Bullying has a big impact on those who are targeted. It can cause loneliness, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and even increases the risk of suicide. From name calling to physical abuse, everyone has either seen or experienced some form of bullying. With the advent of internet a new form of bullying is rapidly expanding: cyberbullying. How to adress this new phenonemon? Researchers from the SimonFraserUniversity map responses (behaviours, emotions, cognitions) that are successful (or unsuccesful) against cyberbullying.

For victims
Victims can cope in various ways with cyberbullying. They could ignore it and avoid the website, for example, or they could confront the bully’s, telling them to stop or threatening to tell on them. But there is only limited evidence that such strategies work. Passive strategies make the victims avoid the problem rather than alleviate it and the active strategies are more likely to lead to an escalation of the bullying.

The most successful coping strategy for victims is to seek social support. So don’t try to solve the problem alone! Social support can encompass emotional support and instrumental support. But be aware, not everyone is able to offer adequate support. Try to pick the right helpers when you turn to support networks, bystanders, and peers.
For schools

Schools play an important role in addressing cyberbullying. Beyond merely teaching about cyberbullying, the curriculum should focus on empowering students to use the internet in a healthy way by, for example, learning children to protect themselves, their reputation and their privacy online. School personnel also requires further education and training regarding engaging in the digital world, because students are unlikely to tell school personnel if they do not think that they can help them. In general, school norms should be prosocial, promote helping, and encourage civility and courage in bystanders. Students should feel comfortable approaching adults in school to discuss problems.

For parents

Students are are more likely to confide in their parents than in school personnel when they are victims of cyberbullying. Therefore parents should be prepared to respond in helpful ways. Parents need to provide an environment where their children feel free to talk openly about their experiences online. It is also important that parents partner with schools in finding appropriate solutions, since there is a strong interrelationship between negative interactions on the school grounds and cyberbullying on the home computer. What works is when parents are involved and receive training alongside educators. They should able to work collaboratively with school personnel and their children to find effective solutions. Evidence also suggests that monitoring online activity and restricting certain websites may help somewhat in preventing cyberbullying.


Image: Flickr, Kid-Josh

Wanda Cassidy, Chantal Faucher and Margaret Jackson (2013). Cyberbullying among youth: A comprehensive review of current international research and its implications and application to policy and practice
School Psychology International DOI: 10.1177/0143034313479697

cyberbullying, coping strategies, education, parenting

This post was written by Flora Brils:
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  • jl196454
    November 29, 2013, 18:39

    First I would like to say this was brilliantly written and straight-forward, as I read this I kept thinking of the 2011 ABC Family movie “Cyberbully”. Anyway I definitely agree with most of the points made in the article such as victims could simply ignore and avoid the website, curriculum in schools could empower students more (I believe that would be most effective in middle school–times where adolescence is really starting to kick in), and having parents monitor online activity and pretty much take action.

    You mentioned in the article: “Students are are more likely to confide in their parents than in school personnel when they are victims of cyberbullying”.

    Believe I do support your opinion however I feel that some young people no matter what would feel uncomfortable talking to their parents because of the fear of being judged or maybe losing their parent’s affection. Honestly from reading that it makes me think of teens who are part of the LGBT community.

    I also thought of anxiety disorders, victims of bullying, no matter what form would have some drastic changes socially–closed off, quiet, distant, depressed (notably seen in everyday activities and moods). That constant feeling of being judged, berated, harassed, some of us have been there, some of us haven’t one thing is certain it is not a pleasant feeling. I would also note (as mentioned before) depression can stem from such acts. Hopelessness, tearfulness, anxiety, negativity, emptiness, loss of physical and mental activity–all symptoms and could even lead a person into suicidal thoughts. Which is why it is so important to speak to someone. Just as you said in the article, “So don’t try to solve the problem alone! Social support can encompass emotional support and instrumental support”.

  • bhic
    December 6, 2013, 03:29

    This article I just read was very well written. As a person who has seen cyberbullying first hand this article was hitting the nail on the head. No one should have to go through being bullied in any form. I believe that kids if are taught at an early age to tell someone they are being bullied or what bullying is and how it effects someones life that, bullying will decrease in numbers. I believe if we tell a child that they should let someone know if they are being bullied they won’t be afraid to say anything. I agree 100% with this article that parents and teachers need to team up and come together to stop all forms of bullying.