Cyberbullying is a huge problem our students face daily. With the rise of smartphones and social media your students are communicating 24/7 with each other and others across the world. This means that it’s even easier for bullying to occur. This type of bullying is often persistent, permanent, and hard for us to notice.
An important part of preventing cyberbullying is first familiarizing yourself with the different types of bullying that happen. Just the same, familiarize yourself with how these platforms work. Having a decent understanding of how a snapchat story might differ from an instagram story or a tweet can help you help your students being bullied online.
Here are four types of cyberbullying to look out for:
1.Posting Lies and False Accusations
Social media and social apps make it far too easy to spread lies and false accusations around. Whereas previously lies, rumors, and false accusations might be spread via word of mouth, over the phone, or through notes in class, they’re now spread through group chats, instagram stories, tweets, and a snapchat or two.
Often bullies will make up a lie about someone and trickle it out to people across the school or community. They can post these lies publicly or keep them secret in group chats. It’s entirely possible for the student at the center of all these lies might not even know who originated the lie.
2. Creating Fake Profiles
Did you know most social sites and apps have no real way of verifying who their users are? Facebook might require you to use a real name, but has no way to prove if you’re that person. Twitter only verifies important accounts, snapchat and instagram are the same requiring just an email and any phone number to work, and the list unfortunately goes on.
Often bullies will create fake profiles of their targets. They’ll post fake statuses, or even fake pictures. They might smear the person publicly, or simply pretend to be them privately. Bullies also pretend to be someone to get personal information from their victims and then turn around and spread that information to others.
Doxing is a serious and growing issue that has the potential to seriously hurt your students. One of your students might express her dislike of a game or community online. People that like that game, or the online community she’s speaking about will then search online for her personal information and make it public. This can include email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, social media handles, and more.
Your student can then receive hateful emails, text messages, calls, or even strangers appearing in person at her house.
The best way to handle cyberbullying is to keep a diligent eye on it and teach your students appropriate online strategies to keep them safe. You might discuss how to adjust their privacy settings on various accounts or how to be mindful of who they add as friends.
Additionally you can help your students document and report these occurrences as they happen. By being aware of the different types of cyberbullying that occur, you can also better support any student who’s being bullied online. You can also check out StopBullying’s online resources on cyber bullying.