October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

School Improvement Programs to Prevent Cyberbullying

How to Prevent Cyberbullying at Your School

Just when people thought bullying couldn’t get any worse, the world gave them social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The birth of social media sites provided bullies with an innovative way to torment their targets – Cyberbullying. Cyberbullies victimize others through their smartphones, instant messaging, and other forms of communication technology. However, schools and counselors can prevent the occurrence of cyberbullying by adapting a school improvement program into their curriculum.

Bullying Others from behind a Screen

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”

In this day and age, this phrase has lost its meaning because words have had serious effects on children.

Internet allows cyber bullies to take on a masked identity, thus concealing their identity on social media sites. A bully’s computer screen protects them from facing any consequences and their identity remains unknown unless they choose to use an account that reveals their identity. However, that’s usually not the case. Cyber bullies make multiple accounts to target, harass, and stalk their victims. With cyberbullying getting out of hand, it’s time counselors and schools come up with a form of a school improvement program to handle the issue.

School Improvement Ideas Counselors Should Consider

Counselors should learn more about cyberbullying and encourage children to talk about their issues. Bullying usually occurs in school, but what can a school improvement program do to help kids who are bullied on social media sites? Just because it’s not happening on school grounds, doesn’t mean the issue is avoidable. Counselors can tackle this issue by incorporating the following measures into the program:

  1. Spread awareness amongst teachers, students, and parents.
  2. Inform parents of different ways they can talk to their child about bullying and tell them to monitor their child’s internet usage at home.
  3. Counselors can train the school staff to spot common signs of cyberbullying.
  4. Counselors should encourage students and parents to keep proof of cyberbullying so that disciplinary actions can be taken.
  5. Keep open communication with administrators, teachers, and parents.
  6. After counselors have successfully implemented awareness, they can help the school set-up a bully prevention program for school effectiveness and school improvement.

School Improvement Ideas that Should be Considered

(Download a great PDF from counseling.org on preventing cyberbullying at school.)

After counselors have controlled the situation by spreading awareness about the effects of cyberbullying, schools should request for a meeting with the school administration. The meeting will reinforce the issue of cyberbullying and help strategize plans that work towards implementing a program to deal with bullying cases.

The program will help the school staff keep track of bullied kids and help maintain communication between everyone. Schools can even purchase an anti-bullying program that helps them sustain communication with each other about cases related to bullying.

Counselors should discuss the following school improvement ideas that the school administration and principal should implement into the program:

  1. Informing students about rules, they should follow in school when using the internet.
  2. Just as students are required to take health class, schools should also implement at least 1 or 2 sessions teaching students about various forms of bullying and the negative effects such behavior has.
  3. Instituting new policies student should follow regarding the use of electronic devices and internet in school.
  4. Informing teachers and students that it’s mandatory to report cases of cyberbullying.
  5. Establishing a system of anonymous reporting of bullying incidents and encouraging students to come forward and report.
  6. Encouraging students to make friends with other students they don’t normally make friends with.
  7. Maintaining a zero-tolerance policy against bullying and instating tough consequences for students caught bullying.
  8. Sending newsletters home to parents informing them about bullying.

In order for bullying to be prevented, schools and counselors first need to understand what cyberbullying is and how they can prevent it. Only then, they can successfully incorporate anti-bullying improvement programs in their school.

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