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What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of electronic devices and media to repeatedly harass, threaten, humiliate and otherwise hassle people.

According to Common Sense Media, “Whether it’s creating a fake social media page (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat) to impersonate a fellow student, repeatedly sending hurtful text messages and images, or posting cruel comments on the internet, cyberbullying can have a devastating effect. Nasty comments, lies, embarrassing photos and videos, and snide polls can be spread widely through instant messaging (IM) or phone texting, and by posts on social networking sites. It can happen anytime — at school or home — and can involve large groups of children. The combination of the boldness created by being anonymous and the desire to be seen as “cool” can cause a child who normally wouldn’t say anything mean face-to-face to show off for other children.”

Defining Bullying/Cyberbullying

“Isn’t ‘cyberbullying’ just another form of ‘bullying’? Why label it as a separate issue?”

In addition to Common Sense Media’s definition, we also reference stopbullying.gov when asked the difference between bullying and cyberbullying.  Cyberbullying is a form of bullying. Ideally, there would not be a need to add “cyber” in front of “bullying.” However, based on regional, community and school events we have attended in the past few years regarding “cyberbullying,” we believe it is important to continue to make the distinction. While anonymity is difficult in a physical setting, typically online, students falsely assume they can remain anonymous and therefore will not be held accountable for anything they post/upload. For this reason something that perhaps would have never been an issue face-to-face, becomes one. Images or video are often altered using editing tools and then uploaded to YouTube, spreading the reach far beyond school hours and school grounds.

Whether a bullying incident happens in the cafeteria or online, the damage to a student’s well-being and the negative impact on the school culture can have far-reaching consequences. We appreciate that many of our favorite go-to resources on bullying, such as StopBullying.gov, also recognize both the differences and the connecting threads between bullying and cyberbullying.

EGUSD Board Policies – Bullying

The Elk Grove Unified School District Governing Board believes that all students have a right to a safe and healthy school environment. The Board also believes that the district, its schools, and community have an obligation to promote mutual respect, tolerance, and acceptance. Student safety is of the highest priority, and the Board will not tolerate behavior in the form of bullying that infringes on the safety or emotional or physical well-being of any student.

The Board finds that bullying takes place through the internet or other forms of technology and electronic acts, i.e., cyberbullying. Cyberbullying includes the transmission of harassing communications, direct threats, or other harmful texts, sounds, or images on the internet, social media, or other technologies using a telephone, computer, or any wireless communication device. Cyberbullying also includes breaking into another person’s electronic account and assuming that person’s identity in order to damage that person’s reputation.”


EGUSD Incident Reporting System

The Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) online Incident Reporting System offers students, parents and community members a web accessible method to report incidents of bullying/cyberbullying, discrimination and/or harassment, harm to school and/or property or harm to self. The Incident Reporting System can be accessed from anywhere online through a unique link located on every school’s website. For emergencies and/or urgent situations requiring immediate help, people will still be encouraged to call 911 or contact EGUSD’s Safety and Security office at (916) 686-7786. In Elk Grove Unified, the community is encouraged that “if you see something, or know something, to say something.”

Incident Reporting System FAQs


Leading Cyberbullying Research Institutes

  • The Cyberbullying Research Center is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents. Researchers Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja regularly update this site to provide “information about the nature and extent of online aggression among adolescents.”
  • PEW Internet and American Life Project – Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites.

Cyberbullying Prevention – 5 Things Parents Can Do

  1. Teach your child empathy. Nothing drives home a point faster than walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. If children truly understand what someone else is going through, they’re less likely to bully someone — or passively witness others being bullied.
  2. Help children understand the line between funny and cruel. Children’s online communication is often purposely ambiguous or accidentally cruel — both of which can lead to misunderstandings. If drama starts brewing, ask your child to call or speak face to face with his/her friend to clear it up.
  3. Make sure they talk to someone (even if it’s not you). As children enter the middle school years, their circle of friends and trusted adults widens. Children need a responsible adult to confide in — their school counselor, their music teacher, even the parent of a friend. Talk to your children about who they can go to if trouble is brewing.
  4. Help your child be an upstander — not a bystander. Children are hesitant to get involved, in case the bully turns their sights on them. But there are ways to allow your child to work behind the scenes to reach out to the victim, get an adult involved, and prevent more cruel behavior.
  5. Show your child how to stop cyberbullying. Tell children not to respond or retaliate. Not feeding the bully can stop the cycle. And — if anything does happen — save the evidence.

5 Ways to Stop Cyberbullying

  1. Don’t respond or retaliate. If you are angry or hurt, you might say things you regret later.
  2. Block the bully. Block phone numbers, screen names and email addresses and remove the person from friend/buddy lists.
  3. Save the evidence. Print out or take screen shots of abusive messages and keep them as proof.
  4. Report it. Most websites/apps have rules against cyberbullying. Check out the sites community guidelines or terms of use to report abuse.
  5. Tell a friend or trusted adult. Telling a teacher or a parent isn’t tattling, it’s standing up for yourself.

Source: Common Sense Media  – 5 Ways to Stop Cyberbullies  |  Como Prevenir El Ciberbullying


Cyberbullying Resource Links for Students

Elementary Resources

  • Hero in the Hallway – Video created by a team of high school and college students to empower younger students to take a stand against bullying and exclusion.
  • Be an Upstander  – Video by the NED show, gives four tips that help kids go from bystander to upstander.
  • It Starts with Me – Video created by Ryan Miller and staff/students at the Stevenson School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
  • Wanted – PSA created by EGUSD students Antone & team (Foulks Ranch Elementary School).
  • It’s Ok to Tell – Netsmartz: Clicky, Nettie, and Webster race to stop Look-At-Dis Louie from spreading bad pictures online. But they better get to him fast, before he turns the whole town gray!
  • Bystander Revolution – Over 300 short videos for a wide variety of problems and situations, each with a focus on simple but powerful actions bystanders can take to help.  – “No matter who you are or what you’re facing, you can find personal stories, suggestions, and encouragement from someone who has dealt with a similar issue. Search by problem or solution to find tips from people who have been targets, people who have been bystanders, and even people who have bullied.”
  • NetSmartz – Cyberbullying – Keeping Kids and Teens safer on the Internet.

Secondary Resources

  • The Price of Silence – Anti-bullying PSA from ShakeState.
  • Broken Friendship – One of several cyberbullying videos from Netsmartz.
  • Cyberbullying – Think Before You Type (YouTube) – PSA created by EGUSD students Meg Hamrick & Tyler Church (Elk Grove High School).
  • Bully Bystanders: You Can Make a Difference – PSA will make you think about the difference between being part of the problem or part of the solution.
  • Bystander Revolution – Over 300 short videos for a wide variety of problems and situations, each with a focus on simple but powerful actions bystanders can take to help.  – “No matter who you are or what you’re facing, you can find personal stories, suggestions, and encouragement from someone who has dealt with a similar issue. Search by problem or solution to find tips from people who have been targets, people who have been bystanders, and even people who have bullied.”
  • That’s Not Cool – The That’s Not Cool program is built on the belief that young people must lead the way in creating change online, in their schools, and in their communities. That’s Not Cool works to lift the voices of the most silenced and marginalized communities of young people including (but not limited to – we are always looking to grow!) LGBTQI youth, Native youth, youth living with disabilities, and youth of color.
  • Who is an Upstander – Video created by Facing History and Ourselves.
  • NetSmartz Teens – Watch teens share their own “Real-Life Stories” about issues affecting them on the Internet such as cyberbullying, online enticement, and giving out too much personal information.
  • Stand Up. . . Be InCtrl! – Student Video from NCTA on Vimeo. –  Yes, cyberbullying is different from bullying, yet the two are interrelated, often inseparable, and continue to be equally serious issues. 

Cyberbullying Resource Links for Parents

Comprehensive Parent Guides/Fact Sheets

Video Resources

Family Tip Sheets – Common Sense Media 

Español

¿Qué es el ciberbullying y cómo prevenirlo? – El ciberbullying es un problema en de la era digital. Te explicamos qué es y cómo puedes aconsejar a tus hijos para evitarlo. By Common Sense Latino

¡Explora el Nuevo “Be Internet Awesome” en Español! – Google – “Be Internet Awesome” ayuda a los niños a ser seguros y confiables exploradores del mundo en línea.

Other Resources

  • Cyberbullying Is a Serious Problem, But Is It an Epidemic? – Technology journalist and internet safety advocate Larry Magid advises that we approach cyberbullying programs based on research rather than media hype.
  • Cyberbullying and Online Gaming – From StopBullying.gov, tips on preventing cyberbullying for gamers.
  • Tips, Discussion Starters and Videos – From NetSmartz, a program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
  • That’s Not Cool – Once you register for the That’s Not Cool Adult Allies section of the website, you’ll have access to extensive campaign research, interactive videos, That’s Not Cool Callout Card designs, support information, and helpful tips on engaging teens in your local community –  building on the belief that young people must lead the way in creating change online, in their schools, and in their communities. That’s Not Cool works to lift the voices of the most silenced and marginalized communities of young people including (but not limited to – we are always looking to grow!) LGBTQI youth, Native youth, youth living with disabilities, and youth of color.

Pledge

Be Internet Awesome Pledge – Google
Parents driving the online safety conversation at home can encourage the entire family to get on the same page by reviewing the fundamentals and taking this pledge together.