Page 27

that your child is being bullied, including withdrawing from activities, behavioral changes, academic struggles and episodes of anger or sadness. Also, be sure to check your child’s social media accounts on a regular basis.

W h at a b o u t t h e b u l ly ? Dr. Sameer Hinduja, Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center at Florida Atlantic University (www.cyberbullying. us), says that “kids know when they have hurt someone with their words or actions. They may justify it or rationalize it away, but they know.” He says adults need to motivate kids to do what is right and to “cultivate empathy by helping them fully understand the implications of their actions.” Schools sometimes need to involve law enforcement in bullying situations. Serious threats to another child can result in criminal charges for the bully.

H ow s h o u l d s c h o o l s r e s p o n d to c y b e r b u l ly i n g c as e s ?

school also experience fewer problematic behaviors online,” he explains.

Dr. Hinduja stresses that it is important to condemn the behavior but not the child, while sending a message to the rest of the school community that bullying in any form is wrong. He says school administrators can work with parents “to convey to the student that cyberbullying behaviors are taken seriously and will not be tolerated.”

Beyond discipline and strict school policies centered on anti-cyberbullying efforts, a shift in focus can help, too. Hinduja points to a positive trend. “From pledge campaigns, to flash mobs, to anonymous Twitter feeds which compliment random students for being awesome, young people from around the world are spearheading initiatives to really make a difference,” he says. “We need schools to help youth get excited about ways they can harness the capabilities of peer influence and social media to show compassion toward others.”

“Kids know when they have hurt someone with their words or actions. They may justify it or rationalize it away, but they know.” Apart from responding to individual situations, Hinduja says it is essential to cultivate a positive school climate in general. “Our research demonstrates that students who report a positive climate at

For more information about Dr. Hinduja’s extensive cyberbullying research including tips for parents and students, visit www.cyberbullying.us. Visit the Safer Schools Ohio website at https://saferschools.ohio.gov/ for specific anti-bullying action plans for parents and schools.

MARCH 2015 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM

27

0315 cp issuu