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.”

  • BP 5131.2 – Bullying
  • BP 5145.3 – Nondiscrimination/Harassment/Intimidation/Bullying

Link to EGUSD Board Policies Page

Cyberbullying Prevention – 5 Things Parents Can Do
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Comprehensive Parent Guide

Common Sense Media’s  – Cyberbullying, Haters, and Trolls includes everything parents need to know about cyberbullying, organized by age and stage.
Connect Safely – A Parents’ Guide to Cyberbullying

Video Resources
Family Tip Sheets

What should I do if my kid is bullied online?
What is digital harassment?

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

Recomendaciones Contra el Ciberbullying  – de ConnectSafely.org

¡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.

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.”

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.

Cyberbullying Resource Links for Parents

Elementary

Cyberbullying, Haters, and Trolls – From Common Sense Media, explore questions by age: cyberbullying tips for parents of elementary age children (Little Kids 5-7) and (Big Kids 8-9).
Tips, Discussion Starters and Videos – From NetSmartz, a program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Cyberbullying – From StopBullying.gov, cyberbullying happens when kids bully each other through electronic technology. Find out why cyberbullying is different from traditional bullying, what you can do to prevent it, and how you can report it when it happens.

Secondary

Cyberbullying Research Center – Researchers Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja regularly update this site to provide “information about the nature and extent of online aggression among adolescents.”
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, Haters, and Trolls – From Common Sense Media, cyberbullying tips for parents of middle and high school age children (Teens 13+).
Tips, Discussion Starters and Videos –From NetSmartz, a program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Cyberbullying – From StopBullying.gov, cyberbullying happens when kids bully each other through electronic technology. Find out why cyberbullying is different from traditional bullying, what you can do to prevent it, and how you can report it when it happens.
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.
Download Google’s Be Internet Awesome Pledge – English
Compromiso de Sé genial en Internet – Español