Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cyberbullying Resources

Cyberbullying is a growing concern in communities around the world.  A number of teachers have contacted me asking, “What can we do to help stop this kind of thing?” and "What do we tell our kids when they ask about this?"  The answer is simple:
  • Teach kids about cyberbullying,
  • Teach them what to do when cyberbullying occurs, and
  • Teach them how to help stop the cycle of cyberbullying.
The basics of dealing with a cyber bully are: Stop, Block, and Tell:
  • STOP - Don't respond to a cyber bully's words.  Once you do that, they've won: they have begun to control your choices and actions.
  • BLOCK - Use whatever resources, filters, etc., are available to block those unwanted messages from appearing.  On Facebook, for example, "un-friend" them, flag the site and/or comments as inappropriate, and use the account controls/preferenc 
  • TELL - Kids should tell a trusted adult (parent, teacher, principal, police officer, etc.) about the situation immediately.  Adults can contact the Web site administrator, cellular service provider, Internet service provider, etc., to have the site banned. 
Below are some resources to help teachers recognize & take action against cyberbullying at any grade level.
In the State of Illinois, cyberbullying is covered under the legal terms involving bullying.  "Cyber Bullying," "Cyber Harrassment" and "Cyber Stalking" are increasing legal concerns and should not be taken lightly.  For example, "Cyber Stalking" can be prosecuted as a Class 4 felony.  A Class 4 felony in Illinois is generally punishable by a prison term between 1-3 years and/or fines up to $25,000 per occurrence.  After the third occurrence, it becomes a Class 3 felony. In Illinois, Class 3 felonies are generally punishable by prison terms between 2-5 years and/or fines similar to those involved with Class 4 felonies.

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