What To Do When Your Child Cyberbullies Others: Top Ten Tips for Parents

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on June 26, 2015

By Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin

This document discusses considerations for parents who have children who have engaged in cyberbullying behaviors.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J.W. (2015). What To Do When Your Child Cyberbullies Others: Top Tips for Parents. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved [insert date], from http://cyberbullying.us/tips-for-parents-when-your-child-cyberbullies-others.pdf

Keywords: cyberbullying; parents; aggressor

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Digital Citizenship Activities for Educators

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on

By Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin

This document discusses ten ideas for classroom activities that educators can utilize to teach digital citizenship to their students.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J.W. (2015). Digital Citizenship Activities: Ten Ideas to Encourage Appropriate Technology Use Among Students. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved [insert date], from http://cyberbullying.us/Digital-Citizenship-Activities-Educators.pdf

Keywords: cyberbullying; online safety; online responsibility; online integrity; cyberbullying; classroom activity; teachers

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Cyberbullying Less Emotionally Impactful than In-Person Bullying?

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on June 5, 2015

36725296Researchers at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) just published a paper in the journal Psychology of Violence that explores the question of whether technology “amplifies” the harm for youth who are harassed. Anecdotally, we have heard this to be the case from many youth over the years: that the bullying they experienced online was as bad, and in some cases much worse, than the bullying that they experienced at school. Adolescent targets, for example, often reported feeling less equipped to stop cyberbullying. They confronted more barriers when confiding in adults about these behaviors. Educators have policies and are trained to deal with the bullying that occurs on school grounds, but up until very recently this wasn’t the case for online bullying that occurred away from school. Moreover, sometimes the aggressors are anonymous, and the hurtful content is posted in a public place for all to see. So in many ways it seems that online bullying has the potential to be much worse for some who experience it.

But one particular finding in the UNH paper has called this conventional wisdom into question. Specifically, students who experienced cyberbullying by itself (with no accompanying in-person bullying) were less emotionally impacted than those who experienced face-to-face bullying. The media has interpreted this as “cyberbullying is not as bad as in-person bullying.” This is part of the story, but not the whole story.

Different Methodology

Kimberly Mitchell and her colleagues took a somewhat different approach to studying youth harassment. Instead of simply asking students to report whether they had been bullied (online or off), and how many times they experienced various forms of bullying during the previous year, they drilled down on particular incidents and detailed questions about the bullying they experienced in a singular incident. This is different from most other research in that the unit of analysis in this study is the incident, not the student. They interviewed 791 students, and 230 of them (29%) had been bullied at least once in the previous year. If students had been bullied more than once, researchers asked about the most recent and the most serious incident (only focusing on a maximum of two unique incidents). This led to 311 independent incidents of bullying (about a third of the students were bullied more than once). Of those incidents, 44% involved in-person bullying, 19% involved cyberbullying, and 38% involved both.

This last group, those who were bullied both online and off—in the same incident—were the most distressed by their experience: “Mixed incidents had the most emotional impact, possibly because they occurred across multiple environments and because perpetrators tended to be more socially connected to victims.” Indeed, if we review many of the high profile incidents where teens took their own lives after experiencing cyberbullying, we see that in addition to the online bullying, the teens also struggled with other family and social problems, including being bullied at school.

In our research, we find that youth who are bullied online are also very often bullied at school. For example, in a recent survey we found that 12.4% of students had been cyberbullied within the previous 30 days. Over 80% of those were also bullied at school during that same time period. So it is very likely that students who are being bullied online are also being bullied at school. The UNH study doesn’t necessarily account for these kinds of crossover experiences, if they are viewed by the student as separate incidents.

Other Interesting Findings

Also of note, even though most researchers define bullying in a way that requires repetition and a power differential, 12% of the students who said they were harassed in the UNH study reported that there was no power differential and only 41% said it happened repeatedly. This of course calls into question our definitions of bullying (see also, this paper). Sameer and I have a paper forthcoming in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior that discusses these issues in much more detail. Mitchell and her colleagues have always used the term “peer harassment” instead of bullying because they recognize the important differences between the two types of behaviors. So, to be precise, this isn’t a study of bullying, but of the broader experiences of peer harassment (some of the differences between harassment and bullying are discussed here).

Finally, the UNH study also reaffirmed that more students experience peer harassment at school than online (see my earlier post about this).

Conclusion

So, does technology amplify harm for youth? Even though most reports based on this article conclude that the answer to this question is “no,” that clearly does not follow from the results. For just about every emotional outcome explored (upset, embarrassed, worried, angry, sad, unsafe, lack of trust), the percent of students who reported experiencing each outcome increased when technology was a factor in the bullying. For example, among the 136 incidents where students were only bullied in-person, 13% resulted in embarrassment. For the 117 incidents where students were bullied in-person and online, 30% were embarrassed. Similarly, 22% of the in-person incidents left students worried, while 34% of the mixed incidents left students worried. Also, 15% of students who experienced an in-person only incident felt like they couldn’t trust people, compared to 42% of the students who experienced bullying in-person and online. Finally, the average total “emotional impact score” was 19.1 for in-person only incidents, compared to 23.1 for mixed incidents. So it sure seems like technology amplifies some of the emotional harm.

Focusing only on the singular finding that those who were “just” cyberbullied felt less harmed than those bullied only in-person misses a lot of important insights we can learn from this study. I don’t believe that the take-away message is that cyberbullying is not as bad as in-person bullying (even though that seems to be the focus in the media). It is just as accurate to conclude that “Technology Increases the Emotional Harms Associated with Bullying.” But I haven’t yet seen that headline.

As always, more research is necessary.

Nothing Works? Taking Stock of America’s “War on Bullying”

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on May 18, 2015

2012-12-03 - North Kingstown High School - Rhode IslandThe Obama administration arguably declared war on bullying in the fall of 2010 when it convened the first federally-supported Bullying Prevention Summit. In 2011, stopbullying.gov was launched. That same year, I attended a conference hosted by President Obama at the White House, where he said: “If there is one goal of this conference, it is to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.” Since then, significant resources have been directed toward various programs and initiatives, resulting in what could be characterized as a “Bullying Industrial Complex.” Many companies now offer simple “solutions” to bullying. But are any of these efforts working?

Lessons Learned from Efforts in the Criminal Justice System

Forty years ago, sociologist Robert Martinson published an article that changed the course of history, or at least the history of the American criminal justice system. He quite appropriately sought to ascertain the effectiveness of programs that were being used to rehabilitate those among us who choose to break the law. Upon reviewing the available evaluation evidence, he came to the conclusion that: “… with few and isolated exceptions, the rehabilitative efforts that have been reported so far have had no appreciable effect on recidivism” (1974: 25). This was subsequently converted by politicians and the media to a much more concise and headline-worthy “Nothing Works.” If Twitter had been around back then, you can bet #NothingWorks would have been trending.

The reason this article and its subsequent public interpretation was historic can be easily seen in the impact it had on incarceration rates in the US. Martinson’s paper has been credited as being the magnetic force that powerfully and almost instantaneously pushed the penal pendulum away from a medical model–focused on treating the underlying causes of a person’s criminality–to a retributive regime wherein community safety and crime control became Priority Number One. The result was three decades of mass incarceration, fueled by mandatory sentencing schemes, and the abolition of release-readiness determining parole boards. However, most people–even staunch tough-on-crime-minded folks–would agree that this policy has failed miserably, resulting in more crime and not less. To say nothing of the social and economic toll on society.

Bullying Prevention Efforts in 2015

Some could say that we are at another Martinson moment with respect to our efforts to curb bullying. The work of federal, state, and local governments has definitely prompted increased public discourse about bullying. Simultaneously, though, resource-strapped schools continue to struggle with heightened expectations that they “handle” these situations. Many educators have therefore turned to various bullying prevention programs, initiatives, and campaigns to make some headway in reducing the problem. Unfortunately, only a small handful of these efforts have been rigorously evaluated. And many of those that have, have been shown to fall short in making truly significant gains. If you believe the research, most of what we have done to prevent bullying over the last two decades has not yielded the kind of results we would hope for. University of Illinois Psychologist Dorothy Espelage summarized the sentiment succinctly in a 2013 paper: “the impact of bullying prevention programs in the United States has been disappointing.”

Recent high-profile analyses of dozens of bullying prevention program evaluations have all generally come to the same conclusion: nothing works. Most troublingly, a study published last year suggested that schools that implement a bullying prevention program are actually doing worse when it comes to preventing bullying than schools that do not. Specifically: “…students attending schools with bullying prevention programs were more likely to have experienced peer victimization, compared to those attending schools without bullying prevention programs.” This was picked up by the media and shared widely as evidence that bullying prevention programs do not work.

The researchers in this study (one of whom is a friend of mine from graduate school) examined data from 7,001 students from 195 schools across the United States. Sixty-five percent of the schools had some bullying prevention program, presumably as reported by the students from within those schools. Students who said their school had a bullying prevention program were significantly more likely to self-report that they had been both physically and emotionally victimized. Victimization included several different types of behaviors, but it isn’t specified how exactly “bullying prevention program” was defined. So it is hard to view this as evidence of failure, since we don’t know anything about the programs that “failed.” Also of note is the fact that these data were collected nearly 10 years ago – well before the federal and state governments mobilized their efforts against bullying.

More recently, Espelage and her colleagues reviewed 19 evaluations of bullying prevention programs and found that these efforts do ok with younger students (7th grade and lower), but largely fail among students in high school: “Altogether, the present analysis suggests that we cannot yet confidently rely on anti-bullying programs for grades 8 and above.” David Finkelhor, a sociologist from the University of New Hampshire, and his colleagues surveyed 3,391 5-17 year-olds and asked about their exposure to various violence prevention programs. They found that lower quality programs, and those that targeted older youth, had less success in preventing participation in, and experience with, peer victimization. Taken together, these academic papers paint a generally gloomy picture of the bullying prevention landscape.

So Where Does This Leave Us?

Despite the depressing findings, I don’t believe we should give up all hope. Sameer and I travel throughout the United States and speak with educators and students who are doing great things in their schools to prevent bullying and promote kindness and compassion. Our conversations with these people lead us to believe that some efforts are fruitful. The problem is that these initiatives have not been formally evaluated. In short, we are confident that there are effective actions being taken in schools, but they need to be scrutinized, documented, and publicized.

In fact, Maria Ttofi and David Farrington (both from the University of Cambridge) conducted a more sophisticated analysis of forty-four bullying prevention efforts (excluding programs that targeted violence or aggression generally) and uncovered some promising evidence: “…school-based anti-bullying programs are effective: on average, bullying decreased by 20–23% and victimization decreased by 17–20%.” Ttofi and Farrington also go into specific detail about the elements of anti-bullying programs that seem to be the most effective (e.g., parent training, playground supervision, and classroom management). Finkelhor and his colleagues agreed that there were some bright spots in the research: “Peer victimization rates and bullying perpetration rates in the past year were lower for the younger children (ages 5–9) who had been exposed to higher quality programs in their lifetime.” Higher quality programs included “multi-day presentations, practice opportunities, information to take home, and [a] meeting for parents.”

This brings us back to the lessons learned in our attempts to curb crime. Upon closer review of Martinson’s paper, readers will realize that he wasn’t saying that nothing could work, just that our efforts at rehabilitation weren’t being adequately funded to expect much of a change. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We still provide far too little funding to bullying prevention initiatives to help them do what they are intended to do. As with research on how to effectively prevent crime, Ttofi and Farrington find that “…the intensity and duration of a program is directly linked to its effectiveness.” We can’t spend just a few minutes once a year talking with students about bullying and expect it to be a long-term solution to this pernicious problem. A complicated social problem demands a comprehensive solution.

And there’s also emerging evidence that bullying behaviors are decreasing (or at least not significantly increasing). Recently-released data from the National Crime Victimization Survey’s School Crime Supplement shows that the percent of students who said they were bullied in 2013 declined to 21.8 (from an average of 29.3% in the four previous biennial studies conducted between 2005 to 2011). Cyberbullying rates also dropped in the most recent survey (from 9% in 2011 to 6.7% in 2013). It’s still too early to tell if this is the beginning of a trend, or even if the numbers obtained are representative of an actual decrease in bullying behaviors across the U.S. Other national sources of data don’t depict similar decreases. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System data, for example, found that 19.6% of students were bullied in 2013, compared to 20.1% in 2011.

All of this said, I think it is safe to conclude that some programs work for some kids in some schools under some circumstances. In short, something works. The bottom line is that we need to: 1) identify promising programs (with meaningful intensity and duration); 2) fully fund these programs so they can do what they were designed to do; and 3) carefully evaluate the effectiveness of these programs. Armed with this information, legislators and policymakers can work with local school districts to promote best practices in bullying prevention. Only then will we begin to see sustainable reductions in bullying behaviors.

What To Do When Your Child is Cyberbullied: Top Ten Tips for Parents

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on December 30, 2014

By Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin

This Top Ten List outlines strategies that parents can use if their child is the victim of cyberbullying.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. (2015). What to do when your child is cyberbullied: Top ten tips for parents. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved [insert date], from http://cyberbullying.us/tips-for-parents-when-your-child-is-cyberbullied/

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Yakety Yak: What’s Up With Yik Yak?

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on December 19, 2014

yikyakI first wrote about Yik Yak back in March, when the app took several suburban schools by storm. High school administrators around Chicago were deluged with incidents stemming from inappropriate student use of this app, ranging from bullying to bomb threats. To their credit, the administrators of the app responded quickly and restricted its use in and around most middle and high schools. Of course this didn’t stop persistent and inquisitive teens from using the app in other spaces, but it was a start. Since then, the app has slowly made its way to other parts of the country, including mine.

What is Yik Yak?

For those of you who have yet to encounter Yik Yak, it works like an anonymous, location-based Twitter feed. Posts are called “yaks,” and like Twitter, users are limited in the number of characters that can be posted at any one time (200 for Yik Yak). Anyone can download the app (though users are supposed to be 17+), and, without setting up an account or entering any personal or identifying information whatsoever, can immediately post yaks, and see what others in their general geographic vicinity are “yakking” about. Currently, users can view posts by anyone within 10 miles of their present location, though this distance has changed a couple of times since the app’s launch about a year ago. You can also “peek” in on what is being yakked about in other areas. Viewers are able to rate each yak by “upvoting” or “downvoting” them. The most popular posts are highlighted in a special area of the app which designates them as “hot.”

It’s Taken a While to Catch On

When I downloaded the app back in March, no one within 10 miles of me was using it. I re-checked sporadically over the summer, but there was still no action. When I traveled to speak in different parts of the country, I would load the app to assess its popularity, but usually there weren’t any active posts. In the last couple of weeks, however, the app has really caught on at my University. The local NBC affiliate in town called me last week to ask if I had ever heard of it. I pulled up the app and saw that there was quite a bit of traffic. The topics were about what you would expect from a college-aged audience: alcohol, exams, and relationships.

yik-yak-2
Overall, though, I was pleasantly surprised at how relatively tame the posts were. There was nothing that you wouldn’t expect college students to be talking about while hanging out with their friends. There was no bullying or harassment or “Juicy Campus”-type disclosures about the sexual impropriety of certain students. Crass comments were generally downvoted – a clear statement by users that those kinds of posts are not welcome. I assume this varies by location, but the Yik Yak community in my area seem capable of self-regulation.

It’s Not for Everyone

To be clear, this isn’t an app that is appropriate for most adolescents. Keeping it out of their hands, however, may prove challenging. If college students are using it, high schoolers will want to as well. And if high schoolers like it, eventually middle schoolers will be drawn to it. Because of this, we need to educate youth about the reality of these kinds of “anonymous” apps. First and foremost is that their posts are not really anonymous. The app knows the device that the posts are coming from, and if necessary the police can track comments of a criminal nature back to the user. It is also important to recognize that users may be inclined to say things in these environments that they wouldn’t say to someone face-to-face. Hurtful, demeaning, or generally inappropriate posts can have real-world consequences—whether the original poster sees them or not. Larry Magid and Anne Collier over at ConnectSafely just posted some tips for the safe use of apps like Yik Yak.

In addition, like many games and other social media spaces, this app can be addictive. When creative or humorous posts are upvoted by others, it increase ones “Yakarma.” Similar to likes, shares, and re-tweets, these upvotes are seductive and highly sought-after. When I posted something that I thought was kind of funny, I found myself refreshing the app every few minutes to see how the community would respond. I also wanted to see what funny comments my students were capable of. As it is final exam week on my campus, many posts played on the fact that students are struggling with the realities of college life during this stressful time: “Check out my new mixtape…it’s my GPA and it drops tonight.” Quite a few students actually lamented the fact that they stumbled upon Yik Yak during finals week.

Who’s Responsible for the Proliferation of These Apps?

Anonymous and ephemeral apps (those where the content of posts seemingly disappears after a period of time) are all the rage these days. They are cropping up like Whack-A-Mole as parents and educators desperately try to keep up. People regularly ask me what legitimate purpose these apps serve. I just remind them that they wouldn’t be developed if there wasn’t a market for them. For one, teens have been listening to adults who have warned them for years about the potential permanence of their digital footprint (digital tattoo, really), and they are looking for ways to interact with others without the stress of having to worry about how a future employer or mother-in-law might judge them based on previous online indiscretions. Apps like Yik Yak, Ask.fm, Snapchat, and numerous others, can fill this role.

Plus, I don’t think it is necessarily fair to put the blame exclusively on the app (or the company that created the app). For example, should we blame Daniel Tosh for telling a crude joke on TV, or Comedy Central for broadcasting his show, or me for watching it? When it comes to Yik Yak and others like it, should we blame the app, the poster, or the consumer of the content? If nobody watched Tosh.0, Comedy Central would cease to air the show. If nobody downloaded or posted to Yik Yak, it would disappear very quickly.

Whether we like it or not, apps like these are here to stay. And we all have an obligation when it comes to policing them. Parents need to ensure that their kids are only interacting in age-appropriate environments. They should also take the time to explain the concerns that they have about particular social media spaces, and equip their kids with information that they can use to understand the potential consequences of misbehavior (even in places that are promoted as private or anonymous). It is best if parents focus more on the behaviors they are attempting to prevent rather than the online environments in which they could take place. The environments will change, but the behaviors generally don’t.

Social media administrators need to work to cultivate a community where members look after one another and not target each other with hate or humiliation. Posts that violate commonly-accepted norms or site-specific terms of service—including bullying—need to be removed immediately, and repeat violators need to have their accounts suspended. Yik Yak is clear in its rules that it will not tolerate bullying. And it appears as though they are doing their best to maintain this standard. We’ll see if they can keep up as the yakking increases.

Cyberbullying Activity: Laws

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on December 1, 2014

By Justin W. Patchin and Sameer Hinduja

Use this activity to help your students learn about laws related to bullying and cyberbullying.

Patchin, J. W. & Hinduja, S. (2014). A Leader’s Guide to Words Wound. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.

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You can also download the complete (and free!) Leader’s Guide to Words Wound by clicking here.

Cyberbullying Activity: Crossword Puzzle

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on

By Justin W. Patchin and Sameer Hinduja

Use this Crossword Puzzle activity to introduce students to important concepts related to cyberbullying and Internet safety.

Patchin, J. W. & Hinduja, S. (2014). A Leader’s Guide to Words Wound. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.

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You can also download the complete (and free!) Leader’s Guide to Words Wound by clicking here.

The Case for Including Intent in a Definition of Bullying

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on November 26, 2014

36725556Last week I presented at the International Bullying Prevention Association’s annual conference in San Diego, CA. This was the second time that I have participated in this event, and both experiences were enjoyable and educational. The attendees (over 700 strong this year) are generally very interested in the work that we are doing at the Cyberbullying Research Center, and the other presenters are uniformly among the best in the business.

The conversations that occur between the formal presentations are just as enlightening and thought-provoking as anything within the scheduled sessions. Talking with attendees and other speakers sparks insights about issues we are working on and allows us to view our research and writings from the perspective of informed others. It was a couple of these conversations that sparked my interest in writing this post.

Right before my first presentation, I got to talking with Stan Davis about how bullying is defined and specifically whether intent was a necessary component. Most definitions include this element, and ours is no different. Specifically, we define cyberbullying as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, or other electronic devices.” Like most others, we argue that to be considered bullying, the behavior in question needs to be intentional.

Stan suggested that whether a behavior was deliberate or not was beside the point. If it was hurtful, or if the person doing it should have known that it could have resulted in harm to another, then it is bullying. His position was supported by Elizabeth Englander, another researcher at the conference whose work I very much respect. She added that the problem with including intent as a defining criteria is that it requires teachers in the classroom to get into the heads of students to try to figure out what they were thinking when they did what they did. This is a fair point, though one easy way to determine intent is to see if the behavior was repeated after some initial intervention. If the student is made aware that their behavior is causing harm to another (either by the target, a bystander, or other third party), and yet they continue to behave in the same way, then it’s clearly intentional.

After my presentation, Lori Ernsperger, another speaker who attended my session, came up to me to also discuss whether intent was really a necessary component of bullying. Lori and I chatted briefly about our respective positions on this issue, but because others were waiting to speak with me, we weren’t able to dig into the details enough to clearly explain where each other was coming from. I don’t think that Stan, Elizabeth, and Lori collectively conspired to critique this component of my presentation, so I did feel the need to consider this question further.

That’s why I was happy to receive an email from Lori shortly after the conference with additional information about why she felt it was imperative that we adjust our definition by removing the element of intent. She was particularly concerned with the implications of requiring intent to define something as bullying when it came to behaviors targeting students with disabilities. “Disability harassment,” she argued, “does not consider the intentionality of the bully, only if it is ‘unwelcome conduct.’ When the term ‘willful’ is used for defining bullying it requires schools to have separate policies and definitions for students within protected classes.”

She presented me with a hypothetical incident to consider:

A 16-year-old high school tennis player has a genetic disorder and diabetes. His teammates have been harassing him about going to the nurse’s office and requiring more snack breaks during practice. This goes on for a year. Coaching staff have observed this, but as required by law (FERPA), most school personnel do not know he is a child with a disability. After repeated teasing, he stops going to the nurse and eventually drops out of tennis. This is a clear violation of his civil rights, but the school said it was not “intentional” on the part of the other students (“they were good kids from good homes and did not mean it”) and they did not see this as willful behavior. But is does not matter, it was unwelcome conduct that changed this student’s educational experience. All school personnel should observe and intervene regardless of the intentionality.

First of all, regardless of intent, I agree wholeheartedly with the final sentence in her vignette. School personnel should intervene whether the behavior is defined as bullying or not. One thing is clear, the tennis players were being mean toward their teammate and that should be addressed. But was it bullying? If the students involved in harassing the tennis player for a whole year genuinely didn’t realize that what they were doing was harming the target, then it isn’t bullying. Or, if a reasonable person would have known that the behaviors were causing harm, then it would be intentional and be accurately categorized as bullying. As I have previously written, best friends can say things to each other that appear to be mean or that could unintentionally make someone upset. But are these things really bullying?

As a comparable example, maybe I say something to someone on a repeated basis, just thinking I am being funny, and that person completely ignores or even laughs along with what I am saying. But it turns out that the person is actually very hurt by my comments, yet he never expresses that to me (nor does anyone else). What I am saying may be mean or rude, but it isn’t bullying. Should it be addressed? Of course. Should it stop? Absolutely. If we were students at the same school it would be completely appropriate for a teacher or counselor or whomever to make me aware of the harm that I am causing. At that point, I should definitely apologize and not do it again. If I do repeat it, then that clearly demonstrates willfulness because I was informed of the hurtful nature of what I was saying, but still continued. And that would be bullying.

Lori insisted that the “unwelcome conduct” standard is really what matters. If something is unwelcome, then it is bullying. I don’t think it is that simple. What if I bump into someone in the hallway? Or spill my hot tea on someone’s lap? What if I crash into another vehicle when that person is stopped at a stoplight? These are all clear examples of unwelcome conduct, are they not? Would it be accurate to classify these as bullying—even if they were isolated events and completely accidental? Plus, in order for any of these behaviors to be considered “harassment” in a technical/legal sense, one would have to prove that they were done because of a person’s status (based on race, class, gender, disability, etc.). Harassment is different from bullying. Some bullying behaviors could accurately be classified as harassment, and some harassment could be bullying. But the overlap is not 100%. For example, harassment (again, as formally defined) is always based on a protected status, whereas bullying is not. Harassment could be a singular incident (though often not), whereas bullying is always repetitive (or at least presents an imminent expectation of repetition). I still can’t think of an example of a behavior that should be accurately defined as bullying where intent to cause harm is not present.

The bottom line is that we simply cannot call every harmful or hurtful or mean behavior between teens “bullying.” That dilutes the problem and is confusing to everyone involved. Bullying is a specific and more serious form of interpersonal harm and the term needs to be reserved for behaviors which are repeated and intentional.

That’s what I think. What about you?

Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying (2nd edition)

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on October 31, 2014

By Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin

The #1 cyberbullying prevention book just got better!

Cyberbullying occurs when three components intersect: teens, technology, and trouble. This perfect storm of elements manifests as harassment, humiliation, and hate that can follow a child everywhere. Drawing on the authors’ own extensive research, this groundbreaking eye-opening resource incorporates the personal voices of youth affected by or involved in cyberbullying, while helping readers understand the causes and consequences of online aggression.

Since 2007, school leaders, teachers, and parents have relied on the bestselling and award-winning first edition of Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard for practical strategies to address cyberbullying. Now in its second edition, this essential guide is completely updated with new research and evolving best practices for prevention and response, including:

– Summaries of recent legal rulings related to teens and technology, and their implications
– Discussion of the responsibilities of school personnel, and how that translates to policy and programming
– Guidance on how educators, parents, students, and law enforcement can work individually and collectively to prevent and respond to cyberbullying
– Useful “breakout boxes” highlighting strategies you can implement
– Practical resources, including an assessment instrument, scenarios, and staff development questions

Written in an accessible and informal tone by leading experts in the field, this must-have book provides the tools to prevent and respond to cyberbullying in your school community.

“This is an excellent resource that clears up much of the confusion and sometimes hysteria generated in the media on cyberbullying.  It provides prudent and do-able strategies from crafting policies, to investigating and responding to incidents. Most importantly, it provides the right mindset and philosophy for helping schools prevent the problem in the first place and for empowering all members of the school community to work together. Policymakers, administrators, teachers, parents, and students would all benefit from the knowledge contained in this book.”
– Jim Dillon, Author of No Place for Bullying (Corwin, 2012) and Director of the Center for Leadership and Bullying Prevention, Measurement Incorporated

“In a society that is grappling with the ramifications of the rapid pace of technological advancement, cyberbullying has emerged as a serious issue in education.  This book provides real-life scenarios, timely data, and best practices to help school leaders protect the children and adolescents in their schools.  All educators will find these resources useful in detecting and preventing cyberbullying and ensuring the safety of students.”
-Gail Connelly, Executive Director,
National Association of Elementary School Principals

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2015). Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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