Cyberbullying and School Climate


There has been a lot of talk about improving school climate recently, in line with the U. S. Department of Education’s new focus for public schools across the nation (and their Safe and Supportive Schools initiative). I have recently discussed it in January at a NCPC summit, and covered it briefly two weeks ago while at the Bullying Summit in DC, but I’d like to expand on it for our readers. As a starting point, though, I need to provide a foundational backdrop. We’ll explore climate and cyberbullying in great detail over the upcoming months.


To begin, Welsh, Greene, and Jenkins (1999) have defined school climate as “the unwritten beliefs, values, and attitudes that become the style of interaction between students, teachers, and administrators…[it] sets the parameters of acceptable behavior among all school actors, and it assigns individual and institutional responsibility for school safety.” While that is a bit academic and wordy, I feel that it conveys what is meant. Basically, we are talking about the quality of life for students and staff on campus.


The benefits of a positive school climate have been identified through much research over the last thirty years. It contributes to attendance, student achievement, and other desirable student outcomes. Improving climate on school grounds has also been linked to improvements in student behavior – such as a decreased peer-on-peer bullying and an increase in perceived and actual safety.


In a recent study we conducted, students who experienced cyberbullying (both those who were victims and those who admitted to cyberbullying others) perceived a poorer climate or culture at their school than those who had not experienced cyberbullying. Youth were asked a variety of questions, such as if they “enjoy going to school,” “feel safe at school,” “feel that teachers at their school really try to help them succeed,” and “feel that teachers at their school care about them.” Those who admitted to cyberbullying others or who were the target of cyberbullying were less likely to agree with those statements.


We are continuing to explore this relationship, and believe strongly in efforts to enhance climate in schools across the nation. There are very practical ways to do this, and we’ll discuss them in forthcoming blog entries.




Gottfredson, G. D., & Gottfredson, D. G. (1989). School climate, academic performance, attendance, and dropout. North Charleston, SC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement.


Haynes, N. M., Emmons, C., & Ben-Avie, M. (1997). School climate as a factor in student adjustment and achievement. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 9, 321-329.


Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2009). Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications (Corwin Press).


Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among U.S. youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285(16), 2094-2100.


Rigby, K. (1996). Bullying in schools: And what to do about it. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


Stover, D. (2005). Climate and Culture: Why your board should pay attention to the attitudes of students and staff. American School Board Journal, 192(12).


Welsh, W. N. (2000). The effects of school climate on school disorder. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 567, 88-107.


  1. As a middle school teacher, I see how early signs can easily be missed in the hustle and bustle of the day. We secondary education teachers get 40 minutes to get our message across, and also notice abnormalities in behavior. Often we collect a note being passed in class, and this leads to the knowledge of cyberbullying that has carried into the classroom.

  2. I had a talk with my dad the other day. I asked him what bullying was like when he was a kid back in the 60's. He said it was just as bad, but kids never took their own lives because of it. I quickly pointed out to him that bullying is far worse than what he experienced as a kid, because now – because of the internet and texting – it is virtually impossible for kids to escape the abuse once they are targeted. That is something NO child should EVER have to deal with… and we can't expect them to…

    As adults, we need to make a conscious effort to be more aware of the signs of bullying. Kids need our support and protection – in some cases, their lives depend upon it. I took an active interest in this subject when I heard about Phoebe Prince, the 15-year-old girl who took her own life after being bullied mercilessly at her high school. The first thing I did was sit down and write a song in her honor. I'd like to share that song with all of you, so here is the link:

    Every kid should know that no matter how many hurtful words are thrown at them, we will always be there to remind them of the unique and beautiful people they are. Let's all make an effort to put an end to bullying…

  3. With children in school, cyber-bullying is an epidemic spreading like wild fire. But, what about in the adult world? Does cyber-bullying turn into cyber-harassment? Can that be considered a crime?

  4. My Name is Sammy I am a 15 year old I never thought I would live to be 15, when I was 13 I was raped and cyber-bullied for over a year and these kids doing it wanted me to kill my self, it is a serious problem and I would love to know ways to show other people adults and children what a big deal this is, if their is any thing I can do to help with research or anything please let me know. I am lucky to be alive right now because of what happened I with it was a crime because if i had killed my self no one would have gotten in trouble I knew a girl who killed her self when she was 16 because she was cyber bullied the kids who did it just laughed and thought it was funny, what parents would let there kids do this? I don't understand why this is not more well known. Sorry for ranting.


  5. i think people shouldnt bully each other. im a student at vangurad collegiate middle school and i dont see particular students being bullied or particular students bully anyone. i think we all should live as own!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Here's another scenario: A teacher notices that during computer lab, one student is not using the computer. The teacher approaches this girl and s her why. The girl does not speak up right away and nervously looks around the room. Then she replies that she does not feel like using the computer today. However, the teacher notices that a few of the other students are looking over and laughing. What should the teacher do? Is the teacher to assume that the girl is being bullied online? If the teacher finds out that cyberbullying is taking place, what should she do next.
    This scenario caught my attention, because a lot of teachers are in situations identical and try to ignore the situation rather than solve it. Some ignore the situation just to not get involved, because they know it can escalade and get out of control. But knowing the same thing can happened if not stopped should also be a reminder in their heads. If a teacher sees trouble, I think something should be done. Schools suppose to protect student not hurt them, so it’s part of their jobs in my eyes. Taking action and control will help the student being bullied feel much better about the situation. Always assume the worst if a child is afraid to something they normally do, that would be considered teachers instincts. Informing the upper hand including the principle would be the next step in the situation. Doing all I recommend should put a hold and stop to such things, because if aware of a punishment bullies will have second thoughts.

  7. I found any article on the news tribune about this twenty old man who faces 45 days in a federal prison for forward explicit online photos of teenage boy to the teens school. The suspect 20 was part of an "electronic mob" trying to drive the teenage boy to commit suicide. The twenty year old is being charged in federal court. The interest thing about this case is that the prosecutors could’ve sought a harsher punishment in the case, since the photo of the teen that he forwarded to the school was when the teen was 13 years old. The worst part of the story was that the photo of the victim was taken by the victim. If anyone want to read the article here the link.

  8. Cyber bullying is a terrible epidemic. Whats worse is that it is becoming "normal" for kids to do this. I gave a presentation recently and asked "what are some bad things that happen online"…the very first answer was bullying. I then asked, "who knows of something who has been bullied online". A large portion of the hands went up. It is a scary reality that so many kids are exposed to this now a days. More needs to be done to stop this awful activity! Education is key. Teaching kids AND parents about it is a must!

  9. As an elementary school teacher I find it amazing how many of my students have their own email addresses, use facebook and have game systems that allow them to communicate with perfect strangers. We did a whole unit on internet safety and talked about cyber bullying with the children. We decided to start with the 3rd graders but in retrospect, I think next year I should start with first grade. I think parents still think that these things cannot happen to their children because they are too young. As a parent I see how many children's internet games have the option to communicate with people while playing games. My son knows that he is not allowed to communicate with strangers and that he cannot even choose the option. When speaking with some of my friends who have children the same age I realized that they were unaware that the cames that the children were playing even had that option. I think this is proof that parents need to be educated and not just children. Many adults are under the impression that cyberbullying is something that is just for teens, or that chat rooms are no available to their young children that it is something that teenages seek out on thier own. They are wrong. They need to know that their children are volnerable on the internet no matter what age they are.

  10. Cyberbullying has become such a huge issue over the past few years. Much of the guidance counselors and support staff spend endless hours working with students and parents to address these issues. It appears that the importance of a positive school climate has been researched for over 30 years as indicated in the Cyberbullying Fact Sheet. A study from New Brunswick found that the ”extent to which students internalize the norms and values of the school, and conform to them” reduced the frequency of bullying among students. The school climate needs to involve administrators, teachers, staff & students to make effective change. It is so important for the norms and values of the school to be role modeled and enforced by the adults. I think that students are sometimes over looked when a school is working to put a bully prevention plan in place. Recently, CAPS bully prevention program, has started working to put a pilot program in place to address bullying/cyberbullying in high schools on Long Island. This program utilizes the students to identify the focus of a bully prevention issue and come up with a plan of action. As discussed in, Cyberbullying Fact Sheet, when students “enjoy going to school”, “feel safe at school”, feel that teachers at their school really try to help them succeed” and “feel that teachers at their school care about them” they experience a more positive school climate and therefore have fewer bullying incidents. I agree with the importance for creating an environment where there is zero tolerance for bullying/cyberbullying and it is clearly conveyed to the parents, students and staff of the school that harassing behavior is unacceptable and will receive clear and consistent consequences. To change a norm in the school, it is impossible to achieve without community involvement. It would also be important to focus on the positive character traits needed to make change rather than focusing on the negative bullying behavior. All students need to feel safe, respected, and accepted in their school environment. Although changing school climate is a tremendous undertaking, it will provide an environment with decreased problematic behavior and more overall productive students.

  11. Over the last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the children that have been victims of cyberbullying. I find myself asking the same question each time I hear of an incident, “Was the child educated on how to protect themselves from being victimized?” As educators, we always explain what cyberbullying looks like and the steps to take if you are being cyberbullied. It is crucial that children know and understand the precautions they can take to ensure they are never put in a situation where they are being bullied over technology. I began doing some research to see what suggestions teachers, researchers, and psychologist provided on this topic. Here are some of the essential steps students can take in order to protect themselves from cyberbullying:

    • Be very careful who you give your cell phone number and email address to.

    • Do not give your internet password or cell phone password to anyone.

    • If you use a public computer, be sure to always sign yourself out.

    • Refrain from passing along harmful or cruel messages and/or pictures.

    • If you are visiting a blog, never reveal your real first and last name.

    • Delete suspicious emails without opening them.

    • The computer should be kept in a common room where your parents can monitor your internet activity.

    Cyberbullying has become a prevalent issue in our country. We need to provide today’s youth with the tools and knowledge to protect themselves.

  12. It’s no secret that cyber bullying is becoming a huge issue amongst students throughout the country. A study that was conducted in 2010 by Hinduja and Patchin, shows that one of the most common forms of cyber bullying was experienced by 10-18 year old students making mean or hurtful comments towards each other online. The second most common form of cyber bullying were rumors being spread online and the third most common form were threats made through the use of text messages.

    Of course, there are many tips and advice that we give the students—block the bully, walk away, and tell an adult. I believe one of the major ways that cyber bullying can be prevented is if parents aren’t so naïve and are more aware of what their children are doing online and with their cell phones. If parents monitor their child’s activity online, it makes it harder for the child to become a bully. As a teenager, my parents closely monitored what I was doing online. Even though I was annoyed with this, at any time my parents could read what I was writing to others through online chat rooms. This made me think twice about what I was writing. If I didn’t want my parents to read it, then it shouldn’t be put out on the internet.

    Some ways that parents can monitor their child’s behavior online include not having any internet access in the child’s bedroom, designating “family hours” for internet use, and teaching their children the appropriate way to behave online. If parents become more pro-active with how their children use and interact online, I believe cyber bullying can be prevented.

  13. It’s no secret that cyber bullying is becoming a huge issue amongst students throughout the country. A study that was conducted in 2010 by Hinduja and Patchin, shows that one of the most common forms of cyber bullying was experienced by 10-18 year old students making mean or hurtful comments towards each other online. The second most common form of cyber bullying were rumors being spread online and the third most common form were threats made through the use of text messages.
    Of course, there are many tips and advice that we give the students—block the bully, walk away, and tell an adult. I believe one of the major ways that cyber bullying can be prevented is if parents aren’t so naïve and are more aware of what their children are doing online and with their cell phones. If parents monitor their child’s activity online, it makes it harder for the child to become a bully. As a teenager, my parents closely monitored what I was doing online. Even though I was annoyed with this, at any time my parents could read what I was writing to others through online chat rooms. This made me think twice about what I was writing. If I didn’t want my parents to read it, then it shouldn’t be put out on the internet.
    Some ways that parents can monitor their child’s behavior online include not having any internet access in the child’s bedroom, designating “family hours” for internet use, and teaching their children the appropriate way to behave online. If parents become more pro-active with how their children use and interact online, I believe cyber bullying can be prevented.

  14. It is indeed a scary time for young people in schools and even in college. There are several dedicated gossip sites that target specific high schools and colleges as well. One of the most disappointing facts is that prosecution for this types of harrassment is generally difficult. In a particular instance (I do not want to name the school or person targeted) a college student who was viciously harrassed on a public gossip site was left with no recourse because all of the posts about her were anonymous. No threats were made against her, which made it seem worthless for police to start track down IP addresses for the harrassers. She was bullied on an open forum website similar to formspring, where people felt free to comment about her. Her harrassment became so well known in the college community that she was actually contacted by an entertainment news show to be featured as a victim of this website for a piece they planned to air. She declined to participate.

    The following is a link to a student who ultimately ended her life, partially due to harrassment on formspring.
    (link defunct)

  15. As a school psychologist, I am frequently called to intervene in cases of bullying. Over the course of the last few years, I have seen a dramatic shift in the types of bullying my students have encountered. With the advances in technology, my students are no longer just faced with verbal or physical bullying on school grounds, but they are now subject to bullying at home via the internet. It is no surprise to me considering that approximately 93% of U.S. adolescents and teenagers from ages 12-17 use the Internet and have profiles on various social networking sites ( What is even more distressing is that quite often, their parents are completely unaware of their child’s online profiles, Internet knowledge, or cyberbullying incidents. It is only when they receive a phone call from my office or the school, that they become aware of their students involvement in the cyber world. For this reason, I believe it is imperative to educate our parents on how to keep their children safe and have the tools to respond to cyberbullying.

    According to the National Association of School Psychologists, there are several strategies parents may use to respond to cyberbullying. They include:

    • Keep computers in easily viewable places, such as the family room or kitchen.

    • Consider establishing a parent-child Internet use contract.

    • Consider installing parental control filtering software and tracking programs, but do not rely solely on these tools.

    • Contact the school to enlist the help of the school psychologist, the school counselor, the principal, or the classroom teacher.

    • Set clear expectations for responsible online behavior and phone use and explain the consequences for violating those expectations.

    I believe if we educate both our students and parents, together they may face the challenges of cyber bullying and be equipped to successfully combat its hurtful consequences.

  16. Cyber bullying is an ongoing issue in schools especially in middle schools. Despite the education students are given about cyber bullying (workshops/character education), students still seem to be victimized by this epidemic. Many of the eighth graders I have spoken to (especially the girls) wish technology didn’t exist because they feel that their private lives are smeared on the internet , nor do they know what to expect when logging onto facebook or twitter. However, when speaking to 11th grade students, they don’t seem to be as bothered by cyber bullying. In fact, they almost seem apathetic to it. However, these same older students did admit that while in middle school cyber bullying seemed to be much more prevalent and had more of an impact on them emotionally. This for me raises the questions…do kids become desensitized to cyber bullying because it is just the “norm”, especially for those who are not being victimized and therefore, do little about it to support those who are affected by cyber bullying? Or, based on these observations, do the majority of older students have more confidence and therefore are not as severely impacted by cyber bullying? Regardless, schools have a duty to keep all students safe and create an environment that is positive. In order to achieve this, at any level, schools need to take a stand against cyber bullying while continuing to educate students about the negative impact it has on a person’s life, how actions and words can’t always be undone, how to help the bystanders speak out against bullying, and lastly provide support for those who are affected by cyber bullying to provide them with the tools they need to cope and build confidence.

  17. Cyber-bullying is a real and growing problem that not only affects more and more young people, but adults as well. For many of us from the pre-internet generation Bullying was done in school or on the playground. When adult would walk by the bullies would give their best Eddie Haskell impression and the bullying would stop at least temporally. Stereotype old fashion bullying is not something that should be taken lightly, but at least the victim had a safe haven around adults and at home.

    Technology advances faster and faster and according to the research done by the cyber bullying research center more and more teens have the technology that are used in cyber-bullying such cell phones, texting, have the internet, and have facebook My Space and twitter accounts. The growth of social networks has led to more and more cases of cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying is terrible because a victim is not likely to tell an adult, and will suffer alone. Many schools do not recognize the signs of cyber-bullying and know how to handle it.

    Cyber-bullying is very dangerous. Victims don’t have any safe havens the bullying goes with them where ever they go. Most cases go unreported and undetected. To be the bully, you can be anyone. You don’t have to be overpowering. It can be anyone, with a semi-sharp mind and a mean streak. The victim can be physically strong; it doesn’t matter if you can hit a weakness.

    Cyber-bullying is a growing threat. It can happen to anyone and have harmful effects. It has led to suicide in too many cases. Parents, students, teachers and school administrator need to be educated in how to detect and stop cyber-bullying.

  18. The issue most interesting to me is the comparison of cyberbullying to that of traditional bullying. The nature of the Internet, which allows for distance and anonymity, lend itself to an increase in bullying behavior. “Unlike physical bullying, electronic bullies can remain virtually anonymous using temporary email accounts, pseudonyms in chat rooms, instant messaging programs, cell-phone text messaging, and other Internet venues to mask their identity; this perhaps frees them from normative and social constraints on their behavior.” (Wikipedia) The social constraints associated with bullying, like the risk of being seen and of getting caught by an adult, likely stop most kids from even becoming a bully. With these constraints removed, more students may find themselves emboldened and may begin bullying others over the Internet or with texts. Also, since technology is so ubiquitous, bullying can continue outside of the school day. In fact, it is more likely that a student will be bullied at home than at school, since the perpetrator will have more free time to be on the computer or to send text messages. “Cyber-bullying thus penetrates the walls of a home, traditionally a place where victims could seek refuge from other forms of bullying.” (Wikipedia) Additionally, there is less supervision of activities on computers and cell phones. Parents may be watching their children’s activities at home, but cell phone use occurs often away from parental view and access to the Internet is everywhere and many students have access to it on multiple devices.

    It concerns me that there is no refuge from bullying, something that typically took place at or around school hours in the past. At least there were weekends and vacations that allowed children a break from the abuse. It seems to me, from my personal reflections back to high school, that the summer break was often enough time to stop bullying from happening, since the momentum of the assaults were stopped and children had a chance to mature and change behavior. The continual barrage both at school and at home is likely the cause of the increased number of intense social issues and suicide, since the bullying can become the only focus for the victim.

  19. Some parents and educators downplay the effect of cyber bullying as just teasing. This ignorance can have dyer results which is the case for so many young teenagers such as Phoebe Prince. "Cyberbullying presents many challenges for educators, Willard says. It often feels unfamiliar and doesn’t play out the way a traditional bullying case might. In addition, many educators don’t understand the culture of social networking and the extreme impact that negative interactions in the online world can have on students, she says." ( The key to prevention on either part of cyber bullying (the bully and victim) is education. What should be done to prevent it from an educators point of view and from a parental point of view? Cyber bullying occurs when children's text messages and online use are not being monitored on a consistent basis. Children, educators and parents should be fully educated on the social media threats that exist. Parents should be proactive in their child's life in order to be aware if there are any changes in behavior. People that hear these tragedies wonder, where are the parents? It's one thing to be respectful of a teen's "space" but it's more responsible to be completely engrossed in the child's life including texts, email and online social networking.

  20. As a middle school teacher, I am surrounded daily by students aged 11 – 14. In my experience, it seems that this particular age group has a fascination with social networking sites. According to research done in 2007, “the use of social networking sites has spurred greater cyberbullying. 39% of social network users had been cyberbullied in some way, versus 22% of teens not using social networking sites” ( During the last few years, there have been a number of students in my school that have served extended suspension from school for cyberbullying through Facebook. In one instance, two teachers were targeted and in another, a student was threatened. More minor incidents included the use of very inappropriate language and pictures posted on the site. School administrators were notified of these incidents, but it remains unknown how many others have gone unreported. Action was taken at school, but also involved discussions with the students’ parents and local police. Although social networking sites require members to enter a birth date, there is no way of preventing children from joining (aside from parental involvement). Facebook’s help center offers information about how users can protect themselves against cyberbullying. There are features that include “blocking” users and “reporting” inappropriate posts. They suggest that you report inappropriate posts immediately using a link that exists right next to the name of the person who made the post. There are also a variety of privacy settings that can be used to control the information that becomes public. Unfortunately, middle school aged students typically are not yet socially responsible enough to handle managing a social networking site account. Parental involvement is crucial in making sure children do not participate in inappropriate social networking.

  21. I was sitting in the school library the other day and I realized just how far cyberspace has reached. Obviously, we all know that it is consuming in today's society. But I was thinking back to when I sat in that same library as a student. I went to high school where I now teach. When I was there, (I'd like to think that it wasn't that long ago), I can't even remember any computers being in there. If there were, there weren't many, and they were strictly used for research purposes. The large open area in the middle of the library where there are about 15 tables was the main area where kids would congregate and socialize. When I walked in there the other day, that area was empty. Instead the 20 computers were full of students with others waiting to get on. I looked at the students who were on the computers and I've seen them on there before, but it never really hit me who they were until this one time. Some of these kids I've had in class, or some I knew their reputation around the school. These were kids who did not even bring a pen or paper to my class. They did not care about grades at all and put little to no effort into their work. Yet here they were quietly sitting and typing away on a piece of equipment that was once reserved for the "technologically advanced, smart, nerdy" kids. And they were more than content. When I watch these kids walk down the hallway, it amazes me they don't walk into walls. They are all looking down at their cell phones. Technology has encapsulated our younger generations and many of them relate better to cyberspace than to reality. This is their world. This is where conversations and actions take place. Due to the fact that you are not face to face, I believe the cyber world breeds contempt. It allows people to show that ugly side that they may be too embarrassed to show in person. I have heard of issues between students that took place over the internet, yet the next day in school you wouldn't think anything happened at all. It truly is an alternate dimension. People act differently inside it than they do outside many times. I believe that breeding a strong, healthy quality of life inside the school may help these students outside. A healthy climate contributes to a good quality of life. Enjoying going to school and the people you spend your day with will help eliminate that ugly side that a barrier, like the internet, brings out. Students should feel safe going to school. If this happens, you would think it would help them feel safe away from school as well because there is a mutual respect being built between the students. I believe the better we help make the people of tomorrow, the better they will treat others, whether they're out of sight from the their parents or teachers, or across town from the person they are talking to, or sitting right in their principal's office.

  22. Legislation is pending in a number of states to address the growing concern of "cyber-bullying". Many states have already passed strict cybe-rbullying laws that are designed to protect children from being harassed, threatened and humiliated by means of social networks. They have taken it so far as to consider "cyber-bullying" to be a federal law. As a middle school teacher I have witnessed first hand the growth of social networks. Students have access to cell phones, texting, e-mail and face book. This type of communication is unmonitored and dangerous. Many school districts are jumping on board and adopting policies to address cyber-bullying. These actions are a crucial step towards anti-cyberbullying laws which will protect our children. The best way for schools to address cyber-bullying is educate the students.

    The primary way to prevent cyber-bullying is to raise everyone's awareness. We can teach our students to make wise choices about the internet and how to protect themselves. Three simple steps can make a huge difference in a child's life.

    1. Report Bullying. Let the students know that they should not be afraid to tell someone. Telling is not tattling! Students should know that they can go to anyone whether it be a teacher or parent.

    2. Just being supportive to a person who has been bullied is important. Be a buddy whether it be at school or after school.

    3. If you feel safe tell the bully yourself that what they are doing is wrong. Stick up for yourself and or others. Don't be a bystander!

    Schools have the opportunity to reach so many students these three simple steps can make a big difference in the life of a "bullied child". Establishing anti-bully groups, hanging informational posters, and having speakers come and speak to the school are all ways in which to educate our youth. It is important as educators that we educate ourselves as well, so we can recognize the signs of bullying and encourage our students to "STOP, BLOCK and TELL!".

  23. Cyberbullying seems to be everywhere these days. When I was in school it was the school yard bully that most children were afraid of. This bully would often harrass or threaten a fellow student to their face. The victim could retreat to their house and avoid having contact with the bully. Now, the bullying that exists is behind computer screens and cellphones. Children can't run away from it. According to research, cyberbullying is more invasive, increases the audience of a child's humiliation, lends itself to greater cruelty and can last for long periods of time (Glenn Stutzky). All forms of bullying are cruel, however, cyberbullying is the worst of them all. Victims of this are more likely to isolate, hurt, are kill themselves. Research shows that through the last few years the number of cyberbullying cases as increased exponentially. Too many students are being exposed to this form of harrassment. As a educator, I ask myself "what can I do to prevent cyberbullying from occurring?" The obvious answer is to educate my students about the effects and solutions of this form of bullying. However, that is not enough. It is the parents that need to be educated as well. Parents need to know what cyberbullying looks like, the effects of cyberbullying and ways to prevent it. Education starts in the home. Parents need to monitor their child's use of technology, especially social networking websites, blogs, emails, and text messages. If a child is not able to use the technology responsibly, then they should not be able to use it at all. It is my hope that with providing more education to parents and children, the number of cyberbullying cases will decrease.

  24. The most important thing to know and to be able to teach children about cyber bullying is how to handle the problem. Children and adolescents often do not have the experience or knowledge to allow them to effectively deal with confrontation, especially if the confrontation is nameless and faceless as it can be with cyber bullying. It can be very daunting for a young person to be the victim of such a personal, yet “virtual” bully. As a high school teacher, I feel it is important to be able to recognize signs of bullying and to be prepared with viable solutions.

    After researching cyber bullying in recent weeks, I have come across a tactic that deals with the problem quite effectively. It has been quoted on many web sites aimed at education, prevention, and solutions for cyber bullying. The most recent web site I read about it on was It is referred to as, “Stop. Block, and Tell!”I think children and adolescents would be able to relate to and remember this saying because it sounds very much like the fire safety slogan, “Stop. Drop, and Roll!”

    “Stop. Block, and Tell!” is a great tool to use against cyber bullying because it is simple and does not require much training. First, victims of cyber bullying are encouraged to immediately sign off the computer, or put the mobile device away when they encounter a cyber bully. This will allow the child to begin a plan of action without further engaging the bully. Other research suggests after stopping the interaction, to “Take 5” and allow for some time to regain composure. Next, children should block the cyber bully from being able to further communicate with the victim or post on the victim’s personal web site. Finally, victims should be encouraged to tell an adult – a teacher, a coach, a guidance counselor, etc – if they experience trouble from a cyber bully.

    This tactic gets to the root of the problem and allows for children to feel empowered because they have the right knowledge to deal with their problem and they also will be supported by adults who will help deal with the bully. Hopefully, this will get the problem to stop.

  25. As a teacher of 10 year olds, I am amazed at the number of my students who are members of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Parents have come to me asking for advice on how to monitor their child’s use of these sites. I give the typical answers of making sure that the computer is centrally located in the home and not in their child’s bedroom, looking at the history of the sites that are visited on the computer and putting software on the computer that will allow them to track the activity on the computer. While most social networking sites state that you must be at least 18 years of age to join, research shows that about 50% of 10-18 year olds polled are members of Facebook and about 38% of 10-18 year olds polled are members of MySpace. I find that some parents of my fifth graders are unaware of age requirements for using these sites and are shocked at how simple it is to explain to a 10 year old that they are not allowed to use the site based on their age. This takes the blame off of the parents when they attempt to rein in their child’s computer usage. As teachers, we need to help parents to understand the importance of staying current with their child’s interests and be aware of their options as the parent in the situation.

  26. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "recent cyberbullying legislation reflects a trend of making school districts the policy enforcers of such misconduct. As a result, statutes establish the infrastructure for schools to handle this issue by amending existing school anti-bulyying policies to include cyberbullying or electronic harassment among school age children. The majority of these state laws establish sanctions for all forms of cyberbullying on school property, school buses and official school functions. However, some have also extended sanctions to include cyberbullying actrivities that originate off-campus. The sanctions for cyberbullying range from school/parent interventions to misdemeanors and felonies with detention, suspension, and expulsion in between. Some of these laws promote Internet safety education or curricula that covers cyberbullying."

    At a time when cyber-bullying is on the rise, is it enough that states are making schools the policy enforcers? Is a school imposed sanction enough of a deterrent for a student considering cyberbullying, or should more severe penalties/sanctions be imposed by the state, as seems to be the case in cyberstalking or cyberharassment. I teach in a very privileged community where "entitlement" seems to be the underlying/unspoken culture and philosophy that governs thoughts and actions of students, parents, and to a certain degree, administration. Students are not always justly held accountable for their actions. Would cyberbullying statistics be any lower if the penalties for such crimes were more fitting? Disciplinary actions taken by the school is perhaps not an effective way of dealing with the crime.

    Ultimately, of course, the schools greatest and most important role in this epic problem is not that of sanctioner, but to be a trouble shooter long before the problem begins. We must educate all, but especially our primary and middle school children, about internet safety.

  27. An interesting aspect of cyber bullying is the way law enforcement is dealing with this growing problem. Many states have or are currently adopting policies to combat this growing issue. For example, the governor of Rhode Island is currently trying to pass a bill that would force repeat cyber bullying offenders to appear in family court, where they would be charged as delinquents under the terms of the state’s laws for young offenders. This would open a lot of eyes in my opinion about just how serious this problem is becoming. New Jersey is also a leader in fighting cyber bullying. New Jersey has always maintained tough laws about bullying, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the laws were amended to include bullying via “electronic communication.” These laws give additional power to the school system to enforce bullying-related punishment for actions that may not take place while on school grounds. Many, many instances of cyberbullying happen to school-age people, but since they sometimes don’t place at school it doesn’t matter. This is a great way to deter cyberbullying with the thought that, “As long as I don’t do it while I’m at school I won’t get in trouble.

  28. The majority of people now adopt text messaging and social networking sites as the preferred method of communication, cyberbullying has become one of the worst cyber-crimes yet.  Every kids needs to know their words hurt forever, especially when they are immortalized in cyberspace. Cyberbullying is an epidemic and is spreading like wild throughout schools and social circles.  The laws surrounding cyberbullying are getting stricter and stricter as time goes on and kids do more.  Most local laws do not cover "cyberbullying" as such, but do cover "bullying" in general. More than 35 states have anti-bullying laws specifically mandating school districts adopt anti-bullying policies. And now 15 states now have some type of cyberbullying law on the books, and another seven with pending legislation before their state legislators. On April 2, 2009, a federal level bill addressing cyberbullying was placed before the House of Representatives titled the "Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act" .  Many states need to follow this lead and continue the fight against cyberbullying.  Many times I see the effects of cyberbullying with middle school students.  These kids do not understand the effects of their actions right away, however, when they get “caught” it only sometimes hits them.  Many times there are numerous actions by staff and officals in order for the effect to take place.

  29. Technology is wonderful. it allows us the opportunity for growth in so many different aspects of our society. However, with all the advancements made in technology, there comes more exposure to cyber bullying by the children of this generation. Children are exposed to all forms of technology being thrown at them from all angles. Smart Phones, Lap tops, Tablets, Kindles, and not to mention the social media sites such as facebook and twitter. Technology, technology, technology. How fast is your lap top? How many songs can your smart phone hold? How about pictures? Videos? Apps? Its outrageous! Children are so obsessive over the newest and greatest form of technology and this all leads to their chances of being cyber bullied skyrocketing. In some of my research on cyber bullying, I came across the statistic that 20% of children between the ages of 12-17 are solicited or approached sexually online in a one year period of time. That number is only bound to go up unless we can come up with a way to stop cyber bullying. I read in someones post about the STOP, BLOCK, TELL method and how that should be taught to all students. As educators we need to teach our students to STOP what they are doing when they are being bullied, BLOCK the bully, and TELL someone immediately. We need to teach our students not to be afraid to discuss their situation with their educators or parents. 1 in 10 students only report cyber bullying to an adult. Children cannot internalize this as it only leads to more problems. Its time all educators make it a priority to discuss cyber bullying with their classes and stop it before it runs rampant. With our technology increasing by the day, we need to rein this in before more children's lives are destroyed.

  30. I believe that saying "a poor climate or culture results in more problems". More factors are needed. For example, socio economical standing, sports, clubs, and electives that are offered to the students. Yes, "the quality of life for students and staff on campus contributes to better attendance and student achievement". However, I work in a Middle/High School and although I am a big proponent of sports, I believe a school that is very sports orientated can lead to a hidden atmosphere of exceptable bullying. The typical age of a student who is being bullied is 9-14. I have been in too many situations where the "jocks" run the school and the climate is that it's more important what you do on the field. They may not be a large percentage of the bullying population, but I think that with being on a sports team, many students feel a sense of empowerment and that may lead to" I can do what I want."

  31. continued——-
    Football kids calling soccer players, "foot fairies" or making teasing the chorus or drama club. To increase the climate in a building and lower the amount of bullying, I believe that is important to hold athletes accountable. Also, it is important that the students that are involved in teams be the role models. I have seen coaches fight at board meetings to lower penalties for his/her players so they can play. Even though they bullied or cyber bullied.
    Walk around a school and look at all the posters and plaques, you may think that you have entered a fair and well rounded institution. Work in that building for years and observe who gets away with what. When a district is cutting funds, where does the money in the budget go to and what programs are cut. How many cyber bullying presentations are cut and the training for teachers? Wonder why bullying exists. Whats the true climate?

  32. In my research, I always find new information that is very interesting to me. In the article, “A logical Solution to Cyberbullying”, it states that most children start thinking logically by twelve. However, new brain science has found that certain parts of the brain are still not fully functional until about age 25. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that takes the longest to mature. That is the part that is largely responsible for impulse control. A child may understand the effects of a nasty text message or mean posts online, but the part of the brain that says maybe this is not a great idea, is not fully developed yet. So what is the answer? Experts say to be proactive rather than reactive to incidences of cyberbullying. I think that this is an extremely important responsibility of educators today. Teachers, administrators and parents need to talk to their children about the dangers of cyberbullying. The more information adults know and can pass onto children, the better. School climate and seems to have a direct effect on bullying. The authors of the book, School Climate 2.0 Preventing Cyberbullying and Sexting argue that “educators who establish a nurturing and caring classroom and school climate will make great strides in preventing a whole host of problematic behaviors, both at school and online.” Studies show that students who experienced cyberbullying, both those who were victims and those who admitted to cyberbullying others, perceived a colder climate or at their school than those who had not experienced cyberbullying. Children were asked questions, such as if they “enjoy going to school,” “feel safe at school,” “feel that teachers at their school really try to help them succeed,” and “feel that teachers at their school care about them.” Those who admitted to cyberbullying others or who were the target of cyberbullying were less likely to agree with those statements. chool is an environment where children should feel safe and protected. It is the job of administrators and educators to do everything possible within the school to make that sense of security happen for students. As an educator, lessons on cyberbullying will definitely be a part of my class. The attempt of assemblies, second step programs, etc. are effective, but not enough. Children need to know the outcome and the dangers of cyberbullying. Today, we hear so many different people say, we are not just teachers anymore…we are parents, psychologists, advocates, etc. Well, in my opinion this is just another responsibility that we have taken on in our careers.

  33. I couldn’t agree with you more. School climate is extremely important to creating the mood and expectations of student behavior. It allows students and teachers to create a cohesive environment that is both welcoming and safe. Students need to feel that there school is a safe haven which promotes positivity and growth. Promoting and encouraging positive behavior will definitely diminish negative behavior and hopefully bullying as well. Teachers and administrators need to make a conscious effort to embrace their students on a personal level and make personal yet appropriate connections to their students. School climate is detrimental to the success to any school.

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