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Dear Dr. Cherrye,

Cyberbullying is widespread, growing and hard to handle. As a teacher how can I help with this form of bullying at the school level? 

~ Maybe there’s something I can do! ~

Dear Maybe there’s something I can do!

Yes! There is something you can do! I’m so happy you’ve asked this question. As we all know, most children have access to cell phones, tablets, and all sorts of electronic devices. It would be hard-pressed locating a child who doesn’t have a cell phone in their hand, or pocket at school.  After hours, teachers may have minimal effect, so School Officials should have rules in place governing cell phone use during the school hours.

Great Idea

Teachers can have a cell phone bin/chart for students to safely place their phones. This can be done in an orderly fashion with students agreeing to turn in their cell phones to the teacher in a numbered slot, and removing the corresponding number that matches their phone. Once class is over, students can turn in their numbers and retrieve their phones. This technique is not only clever, but it reduces:

  • distractions – allowing students to remain on task
  • texting – posting rumors and mean words
  • ability to use phone to video during class time
  • ability for students to video the teacher

Although teachers can get a handle on cell phone use during class time, students will have their phones before school, during passing times, lunch, and after school (tutorials, band practices, football practices and etc.)

Warning Signs of  Students Who Cyberbully

  • A child hides his/her phone, so that others can’t see their mean texting work
  • Children may create separate social media account(s) using fake names to hide their identity (this will be difficult for a teacher to learn)
  • Children may seem eager to check their devices (texts)

Warning Signs of Students Who are Targets of Cyberbullying

  • Observe children who seem upset when they are looking at their cell phones – sometimes they may become upset or very emotional
  • Observe students who avoid being around friends, or former friends

More Tips for Teachers

Pay attention to your students. Check to see if they use their devices more frequently, or less frequently.  See if you can find out why.

If you believe that a child is a target for cyberbullying, pull them aside and have a private heart-to-heart chat with them. See if the child wants to open up and talk with you about the problem. Perhaps the child will have proof on his/her cell phone.

Technology changes all the time. Determine how you can keep up with new fads and devices. To do this, teachers will have to be aware of their digital literacy and awareness, too.

If you have time, check out this resource, entitled: ‘Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral.‘ See if you like it and if so, talk to school officials about purchasing a copy for your campus.

I’ve made it my mission to assist parents in resolving the bullying issues their children are suffering. Offering your feedback and suggestions in the comment section could facilitate meaningful dialog on this critical issue among ourselves and I encourage this. I will respond to each comment in a timely way. Should you wish to speak privately with me, please email me at CherryeVasquez@gmail.com, and I will reply promptly.

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