Public Schools Required to Teach Anti-Cyberbullying Practices

Many public schools in the United States will soon be required to educate students about the dangers of cyberbullying and how to conduct themselves online. All schools which are funded with the Schools and Libraries Program – otherwise known as E-Rate – fund will be bound by these regulations. Grantees are already required to run some kind of online safety education class and to deploy filters “to protect students from accessing inappropriate content,” as stated by the Federal Communications Commission.

“‘Cyberbullying’ is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones,” according to one Cyberbullying website. The Cyberbullying Research Center defines the crime as as “incidents where adolescents use technology, usually computers or cell phones, to harass, threaten, humiliate, or otherwise hassle their peers.”

What types of behaviors are considered to be Cyberbullying?

  • Threatening e-mails
  • Nasty instant messaging session
  • Repeated notes sent to the cell phone
  • A website set up to mock others
  • ‘Borrowing’ someone’s screen name and pretending to be them while posting a message
  • Forwarding supposedly private messages, pictures, or video to others
  • Recording secret videos of a person doing something they wouldn’t want the world to know or see, and then uploading it for just that purpose

Another way to bully others online is to create the never-ending “Who’s Hot?” polls, and the “Who is the biggest (fill in the blank)?” polls. Such questions are often very offensive to others and are yet another way that kids can “bully” other kids online.

It’s about time that schools were forced to implement education such as this. There are far too many instances of Cyberbullying in the news… and we shouldn’t have to see any at all. What are your thoughts? Do you agree that this should be talked about in the schools – in addition to being discussed at home?