How schools can stop eight types of cyberbullying
Social dynamics can be challenging to navigate at any age, but especially for students, who are required to spend time together every day — whether they get along or not. When a student is cyberbullied by another student or group of students, it can feel like there’s no escape.
Cyberbullying can be pervasive and destructive. About 20% of students ages 12 to 18 are bullied nationwide, and 60% of children and young people have witnessed harassment on social media. While students who are cyberbullied sometimes take matters into their own hands by blocking the bully (60%) and/or telling a parent (50%), the experience can still take an emotional toll with 68% of victims experience mental health issues.
As one of the major sources of digital connectivity for students, schools can play a role in identifying, stopping, remediating, and preventing cyberbullying. The first step is understanding what to look for.
Eight common forms of cyberbullying
Digital harassment is any repeated, threatening behavior toward someone online. When a student is repeatedly targeted by the same cyberbully or group of bullies, it can be particularly painful, alienating, and even frightening, depending on the nature of the threat.
Doxing is revealing another student’s personal or sensitive information as a way of causing harm. Gossip has always been a destructive form of bullying, but doxing takes it to a new level due to the wide and immediate spread of digital information.
Masquerading is a type of bullying that arose in the digital era. It’s the act of pretending to be another student or creating a made-up profile to harm someone. For example, a student may set up a fake social media profile using another student’s name and photo and use that profile to post embarrassing comments or information.
Fraping is similar to masquerading but involves a student using another student’s actual social media accounts to post harmful photos, comments, or other content. This can occur when a student leaves their device unattended or does not sign out of their profile after using a public device. This, too, can range in its severity, but can cause significant damage to the victim’s self-esteem.
Trolling is the act of provoking or baiting someone online by posting comments designed to upset them. Trolling can range widely in its severity, but it can be painful and destructive, and it can even happen among friends.
Flaming is a direct form of cyberbullying in which a student posts about or sends insults to a victim. Being targeted in this way can make victims feel intimidated, alienated, and helpless.
Exclusion is intentionally leaving another student out of a group message or event. Exclusion can leave students feeling isolated and confused and can damage their self-esteem. Exclusion can happen among classes, such as when a single student or handful of students are not included in an experience. It also happens among groups of friends.
Cyberstalking is sometimes used a colloquial term for researching another person online, but it can have a darker meaning. True cyberstalking is a crime that involves sending threats to another student, harassing them, or actually stalking them online to track their whereabouts.
How to identify and stop cyberbullying
Students may not always report cyberbullying for several reasons, including the fear of exacerbating the bullying or further alienating themselves. Some students may also internalize the event, feeling they deserved the bullying.
So for schools to identify bullying, it’s important to have the right technology and policies in place.
Lenovo NetFilter+ flags keywords in students’ searches and conversations to bring suspected cyberbullying behavior to the attention of teachers and administrators. It can also make it easier for adults to intervene before matters escalate if they are alerted to language or searches that indicate students may be considering self-harm or other concerning behaviors.
Educating students on what constitutes cyberbullying can help mitigate the activity by helping cyberbullies and cyberbullying victims alike recognize the impact of these events. When cyberbullying is identified, it’s important that schools have policies in place to take swift action. Just as importantly, schools should be ready to provide victims the counseling and support they need to process and contextualize the event.
Cyberbullying is a challenge that schools can’t overlook. In order to learn, grow, and reach their full potential, students need an environment that will support them without fear of intimidation or social shaming.
To learn more about how Lenovo NetFilter can help deter cyberbullying and other digital dangers in schools, contact us or request a demo.
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