How can we raise more awareness so cyberbullying occurs less?

Dear school administrators, policy makers, and board members:

“We wanted to spread awareness because people need to know what bullying is and people need to know that it exists in our school. I think addressing it and defining it and spreading the awareness that it exists is the first step in preventing it and combating it.”

The quote above said by a student at Orange High School in Pepper Pike, Ohio really touched me because it shows how young people can really make a difference when given the opportunity. These students came together to spread awareness in their school by determining which areas in their school are bully “hotspots.” Then, they came up with their own creations of what bullying looks like and they performed it during lunch time.This was the icebreaker that allowed discussions of bullying and cyberbullying to finally occur. Allowing students to have a voice and take part in their own school to fight against cyberbullying will make a great difference.

You can view more information about these students and their courage to fight bullying here http://www.niot.org/nios-video/students-map-bully-zones-create-safer-school?gclid=CJ2l7_6M2K4CFcrrKgodFRy1bQ. This is just one great example of what students can do to make a change, just imagine if we all came together to raise more awareness, and what impact that can make.

Another way we can fight cyberbullying is through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Students and adults spend a great chunk of their time on sites like these anyway so why not create anti-cyberbulling campaigns such as this one?!

“Essentially, the feature will encourage users to take a stand against cyber-bullying as well as make it easier to report online bullies.”

This option might make it easier for people who do not feel as comfortable talking about cyber bullying in person. Hopefully young people will find this feature useful and start taking action through Facebook. The first step is talking about it. To find out more information visit the following website: http://www.shortstack.com/2011/07/facebook-teams-up-on-anti-cyber-bullying-campaign-plus-6-social-media-tips-parents-and-students-should-know-before-school-starts/.

“PARTICIPATE, EDUCATE, ADVOCATE, INSPIRE”

You can make a bigger difference than you think. Moms from the webiste: http://www.momseveryday.com/reno/justformoms/misc/Act_Against_Bullying_And_Cyberbullying_Now_130595243.html share their input on how to battle cyberbullying. You can do anything from teaching students how to stand up and help each other to creating cyberbullying prevention videos and even creating events in your community to combat cyberbullying.

As you can see the possibilities are endless if we want to make a change. As I mentioned above the links above provided a couple great examples of how students, parents, and teachers went to outside the box to spread awareness of cyberbullying. There are people out there who are willing to take action and you too can do the same. Every little action counts and those actions can bring us closer to decreasing cyberbullying. We just have to start somewhere. The first step is to talk about cyberbullying! Once we create a space to discuss these issue there are no boundaries to what we can do in our fight to raise awareness on cyberbullying.

Original image from: http://www.operationawareness.com/about.html

 – Tin Hean

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