In our media driven world, our online presence can take a different persona than the one we use in day-to-day life. It’s still a close part of who we are though. It’s still personal.
And it happens all the time these days. I’ve had many children come and tell me that someone said something awful to them or about them online. It’s reported, and students are held accountable when it’s possible. If students used a private account, or a username that’s different from their name, it’s difficult to figure out who said what. We can stay vigilant, and most importantly, responsive. We can listen and help those students who are victims of cyber bullying. Isn’t that what we do as educators a majority of the time, listen?
Another excellent thing we can do is provide an example of responsible online behavior. We can use social media and educator platforms respectfully. We can be respectful in emails to the student and the parents. We can be respectful when we tweet or post something on FB. We can be respectful of a student’s identity, their sensitivity, and their penchant to make mistakes without mocking them online.
We need to set the example, furthermore, by not giving a free pass to those we see bully people. That’s a large part of stopping the bullying from continuing. You’ve got to call it out when you see it. We’ve got to say something when we see comments that are bullying someone. We’ve got to say something when we see a relative say something, write something, or share a photo to bully someone else.
It’s a problem. It’s around us every day. What are we going to do about it?