St. Mary’s stands up to cyberbullying [vsopublicationsltd, 08/11/2012]

The tragic recent deaths of two teenage girls in Donegal and Leitrim have spurred one Mallow secondary school to address the issue of cyberbullying head on. St. Mary’s Secondary School has since the start of the school year been imple-menting a number of initiatives to raise aware-ness of cyberbullying among its student population. These have involved simultaneous classes, talks and a poster campaign. Cyberbullying is a term used to describe the misuse of information and communications technology (ICT) to harass, pester and embarrass others. Cyberbullies use email, mobile phones, blogs and social net-working sites such as Facebook, Bebo and to intimidate victims. It can be a particularly difficult problem to address as some online forums may allow bullies to act ann-onymously, impulsively and without constraints on time or place. As such, it is a problem that is confined to neither school nor home.

With this in mind, St. Mary’s has launched an awareness campaign among its students to empower, through education, the use of digital technology in a responsible manner. In September, all four first year SPHE classes were given a simultaneous lesson on bullying wherein the various types of bullying were discussed as well as the steps to follow if a student is being bullied or if a student knows of another who is being bullied. The school has put in place a structure of communication involving management, year heads, class teachers, fifth year mentors and the school’s two guidance counsellors. The effect of this is that there is a wide network of responsible adults and senior students who are always available to talk to a student who is being bullied or who knows of a student being bullied.

A recent visit to the school from the Bully4u service involved a talk given to all second year students. They gave the girls a one and a half hour workshop on cyberbullying. The workshop involved role-play exercises and audio-visual presentations. The Bully4u speakers, Jim Harding and Kevin Deering, tackled the unique features and impact of cyberbullying. They discussed in detail how students should respond to cyberbullying. The girls were asked to identify words to describe how a victim of cyberbullying might feel. Words such as lonely, sad and scared were printed onto a t-shirt. The t-shirt is currently on display in the canteen as part of the awareness campaign. Each student was given a certificate of participation at the end of the workshop.

On Thursday 15th November the school will hold its annual open night. The Principal’s address starts at 7.45pm in the school’s Aemilian Theatre. Parents of current sixth class pupils will, on the night, be given an information poster regarding the safe use of Facebook. The poster will give advice on how parents, teachers, friends and victims should app-roach cyberbullying on Facebook. The poster will also be on display in a number of high profile points throughout the school. Finally, for interested parents, St. Mary’s has published it’s ‘Anti-Bullying Policy’ on the school website.

‘No One Likes You’: And the Other Hurtful Ways Kids Bully One Another Online [ Securingtomorrow, by Toni Birdsong, 17/11/2017]

One of the most wounding things a young person can hear is “No one likes you.” Most likely because that one phrase sums up our deepest fears: The fear of rejection and the fear that somehow we may not ever measure up.And sadly, kids — bullying kids — use this phrase not always understanding it’s full weight along with other callous phrases such as:

“Why are you here?”

“Go kill yourself.”

“Why do people even like you?”

“You’re so annoying.”

“You gonna cry?”

“You’re ugly/stupid/fat.”

“Chill out. It’s just a joke!”

Cyberbullying is the intentional and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices — which means that it also comes with its own native language. And while we often associate it with youth, we can’t ever forget that every day — even all day — adults can be the worst offenders in the digital space.

Veiled VernacularNational Bullying Prevention Month

Often, coded messages may be a parent’s first clue their child is being bullied (or bullying) online. Here are just a few texting terms related to bullying to look out for in your child’s digital circles:

Dirl: Die in real life

Gcad: Get cancer and die.

Foad: F*** off and die.

Fugly: F****** ugly.

IHML: I hate my life.

KMS: Kill myself.

KYS: Kill yourself.”

182: I hate you

4Q: F*** You

GCAD: Get cancer and die

FINE: F***ed up, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional

FUB: Fat ugly b**tard

IWTKM: I want to kill myself

JLMA: Just leave me alone

Cyberbullying looks, sounds, and affects differently than traditional bullying simply because of the amplification factor of technology.

Cyberbullying Terminology

  • Dissing: Sending or posting cruel gossip or rumors about a person (target) to damage his or her reputation or friendships.
  • Target: The person who is on the receiving end of online social cruelty.
  • Bash Board: An online bulletin board on which individuals can post anything they want. Frequently, posts are malicious, hateful statements directed against an individual.National Bullying Prevention Month
  • Exclusion: Deliberately excluding someone from an online chat group, friend group, or event.
  • FlamingSending angry, rude, or obscene messages directed at a person or persons privately or an online group. A flame war erupts when flames are exchanged between individuals (or groups) repeatedly.
  • Impersonation: Breaking into someone’s account, posing as that person and sending messages to make the person look bad or damage that person’s reputation.
  • Outing: Sharing someone’s secrets or embarrassing information online.
  • Harassment: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude and wounding messages.
  • Cyberstalking: Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or are highly intimidating. Cyberstalking also includes engaging in other online activities that make a person afraid for his or her safety.
  • Trolling: Intentionally posting confrontational comments about sensitive subjects to create conflict and bait others into an online argument.

While we can’t singlehandedly shift an entire digital culture, we can educate ourselves and our kids about the power of words, the direct and indirect ways people bully, and how to respond if in a hostile or intimidating environment be it online or in other areas of daily life.

Family Talking Points

Tell someone. Encourage your child to come to you (or another trusted adult) at the first sign of bullying or conflict online. Monitor his or her online circles and take the time to evaluate the tone of conversations.

Sometimes it’s a friend. Though rarely discussed, sometimes the person bullying your child may be a friend. Look for signs of intimidation, jealousy, insincerity, and dishonesty — the bully could be closer than you think.

Offer perspective. The emotional roots of bullying run deep. Kids bully for some reasons. Often, bullies hurt others because they’ve been hurt. They lack compassion, empathy, and kindness because they haven’t been shown that in their home environment. While this is no excuse, talking about this with your kids can help them not take the words of a bully to heart.National Bullying Prevention Month

Words = power. Stress the consequence of hurtful words when they are shared and multiplied online. Be candid about the effects cyberbullying can have on another person such as depression, anxiety, and self-harm. Define and discuss kindness, empathy, and compassion and model it in your relationships.

Don’t respond. In the cyber arena, it’s wise not to respond to harassing, negative, or intimidating comments. The best thing to do (as hard as it is to refrain from engaging) is to print out the comments before you delete them and report the abuse. Also, save all evidence. If someone is bullying your child, print copies of messages and websites. Use the save feature on instant messages and take screenshots of posts or comments on social networks. Depending on the severity of the situation, report the abuse to the online platform, to school and/or the Internet Crimes Department of your local law enforcement agency.

Technology has elevated bullying to terrifying levels for kids. Be aware of your child’s demeanor by connecting and talking consistently. If your child’s schoolwork slips, he or she loses interest in friendships, or becomes anxious or depressed — it could be a symptom of being bullied. Follow your instincts, monitor devices, and err on the side of being intrusive if you suspect your child is suffering in silence.

The Best Answer to Cyberbullying We’ve Seen Yet.[, by Sue Scheff, 04/10/2013 ].

It’s a truth universally acknowledged: kids tune out their parents. They don’t tune out other kids, though; we all remember hanging on an admired peer’s every word when we were young.

Since so much of students’ lives together take place in various nooks and crannies of the Internet, let’s look at how teens can help each other out, making their social lives more satisfying and trouble-free by being cyber-shields for each other.

I’ve written about how both parents and teachers can play a pivotal role as cyber-shields to ensure a safe online life for their children by putting on their advisory hat and, when needed, shielding their kids from harm. We should also encourage children to act as social media role models for each other: friend-to-friend, sibling-to-sibling.

On Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere, reaching out to an acquaintance who’s struggling can be a small, simple act that changes a life. The fact that a crowd is always watching makes students each other’s best protectors.

From an early age, peers are enormous influences on kids’ lives – some researchers even conclude that kids learn more from their peers than from parents. Meanwhile, the “mean girls” and “cool kids” mentality extends beyond the schoolyard and onto the Internet, amplifying the messages children receive from schoolmates.

In a recent Vanity Fair article, a teen was quoted saying, “…There’s ‘The Rich Kids of Instagram,’ which is these kids trying to show off their wealth, and it’s so not OK, it’s revolting, but it still makes me feel bad about myself — kind of like I’m not part of it.” Social media maneuvering creates a divide between the “in crowd” and kids who feel ashamed that they aren’t a part of it, which is what some students now call FOMO, short for “fear of missing out.”

Instead of ostracizing peers for being unworthy of their circle of friends, what if teens fostered inclusiveness and acceptance?

For an example, we need look no further than the West High Bros in Iowa City, a group that uses Twitter to dish out compliments to other students in their high school.

A recent tweet to a fellow pupil stated, “you’ve been through so much yet you’re always there for everyone no matter what. That’s what makes you the best of the best.” In another tweet to a classmate, @westhighbros wrote, “you’re such a down to earth nice guy. Really appreciate your kindness and honesty to everyone. Love having classes with you!”

A Platform for Good featured the founder of the group’s insight, kicking off an entire movement, and the creation of West High Bros was a byproduct of an all-star student reaching out to a less “popular” classmate in his freshman year.

So, how do we help our children to build a mentorship program with their friends and siblings? It’s easy!

Begin with your own social media habits. Communication and being a social media role model always takes precedence. Lead by example and share with your children, tweens and teens to do the same. My Kindness Counts is another excellent resource — their mission is to encourage young people from around the nation to work together, brainstorming better ways to address bullying in their communities.

Discuss this article with them to show how kindness can go viral, and the value of being an upstander instead of standing by. They might be surprised at how many of their peers will follow their lead.

Everyone likes to be needed, and paying kindness forward is an attribute that we should instill in our children when they’re young. Its benefits reverberate well beyond just those on the receiving end.

High rate of cyber-bullying. [, by Niall Hunter, 01/10/2013 ].

One in seven adolescents have been the subject of cyber-bullying in the last three months and one in 11 admit to cyber-bullying others in the same timeframe, according to data presented at a major conference in Dublin today.

Dr Stephen Minton, TCD Lecturer in Psychology of Education, told the conference that levels of cyber-bullying and cyber-aggression appear similar in both boys and girls, particularly in young teenagers, and the behaviour tends to peak in adolescents around 13 years of age.

He told the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology (BSPAR) conference at Dublin Castle that
exclusion-type bullying is always more prevalent among females than males, and the physical forms of bullying are always more prevalent among males than females, but in terms of cyber-bullying, it is roughly even for most categories.

“Most of our data relates to 13-16 year olds. We can’t really say with great confidence whether kids grow out of it or not because we don’t have the hard numbers, but our experience of working with young people, working with teachers and with parents, would seem to be that this sort of thing seems to be a difficulty perhaps most associated with the early teenage years”, Dr Minton said.

He said it had been found that that conventional and non-cyber forms of bullying also peak at 13 years of age.

Dr Minton pointed out that certain social media sites had made substantial improvements in relation to cyber-bullying, but others continued to allow it and often gave the perpetrator relative anonymity.

He described the Government’s decision not to introduce legislation in this area earlier this year as ‘a mistake and a missed opportunity’.

He was addressing the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology (BSPAR) conference at Dublin Castle

The Annual Bullying Survey 2013 – UK Bullying Statistics. [, by ditchthelabel 03/02/2013 ].

What are the long lasting effects of schoolyard bullying? What is the ratio of young people being bullied to those that bully? What are the main causes of bullying and how can they be eradicated? Those are some of the questions that we have recently answered with our ambitious new project: the Annual Bullying Survey 2013.

Our 22 page report provides you with a wealth of bullying statistics extracted from a sample of over 1,800 British students predominantly aged 16-19. Our report also identifies how susceptibility to bullying can vary between 52 different demographic profiles. This report was recently covered by the Independent, the Telegraph and Radio 1.