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Signs and Prevention of Social Media Bullying in Your Classroom

Social Media Bullying, Teachers Guide

You’re an ace in keeping an eye out for pushing, shoving, and name-calling. But now teachers have a new form of bullying to deal with: cyberbullying. A lot of bullying that happens now is online. It may feel like this invisible part of your classroom might be impossible to monitor, but with the right tools, cyberbullying can be easily managed. We’re here to fill you in on everything you need to know about social media bullying and how to stop it in your classroom.

Types of Social Media Bullying

Social media has set up bullying to take on several ugly forms. Although online bullying can rear its ugly head in many ways, these are some of the most common you’re likely to see in your classroom. Understanding them will better prepare you to step in when problems arise.

  • False rumors or threats: When students share each other’s private or sensitive information, they are–knowingly or unknowingly–bullying.  
  • “Warning wars”: Students report a classmate’s post as inappropriate, even if it isn’t, in order to get the classmate kicked off the social media platform. 
  • Taking Control of a Classmate’s Account: Students who hijack a classmate’s account often do so to post harmful or embarrassing things.
  • Catfishing: Students pretend to be someone else using a fake account to trick a classmate into thinking they are developing a relationship with someone who doesn’t exist.
  • Fan Pages or Community Groups: These pages or profiles target a classmate in a negative way.

The Warning Signs of Online Bullying

According to StopBullying.gov, there are five recognizable signs of cyberbullying:

  1. Becoming frantic about whatever is happening on their phone or electronic device.
  2. Trying to hide their phone or electronic device when anyone approaches.
  3. Suddenly shutting down their social media accounts.
  4. Avoiding social interactions.
  5. Showing symptoms of depression, a sudden lack of motivation, or a loss of interest in class activities. This could also include a sudden change in behavior.

In you notice any of these signs in your classroom, you should watch the student closely and approach the situation delicately.

Tips for Managing Social Media Bullying

There are many approaches you can take to stop social media bullying. No matter the approach, though, it’s best to do so with sensitivity as bullying is often complicated and layered.

Hold a Private Meeting

If you think a student is being bullied on social media, set up time with them after class to talk privately. This will establish a safe space where they can have an honest discussion.

Bring in the Parents

Online bullying extends beyond your classroom, so it might be a good idea to involve other adults. Consider bringing in the student’s parents to discuss what you’re seeing in the classroom. Maybe they’ve noticed a change at home, too.

Prompt a Reflective Writing Exercise

Asking students to reflect on what’s going on inside and outside of the classroom – and what’s happening online – increases their self-awareness. This activity can accomplish two things: Some students may open up about being bullied, and students who are cyberbullying others may see the ways they hurt others.

Encourage Group Work

Class activities that stress students working together are effective for preventing bullying. As students interact with and learn more about each other, they develop a classroom community. Monitor and change up groups often to ensure a good mix of socializing.

Stand as a Positive Role Model

As the leader of the classroom, you have the power to create an inviting and inclusive environment. Celebrating and demonstrating positive behaviors help create a classroom where students feel more comfortable and able to learn.

Learn More About Student Social Media Habits

Arguably the best way to combat social media bullying is learn more about students’ online behaviors. As you increase your own digital awareness, you’ll be much better equipped to prevent and confront cyberbullying. Advancement Courses offers several programs to prepare you to reduce bullying in your classroom:

  • Bullying Today: Develop a practical strategy to address bullying in the 21st century. In this course, you’ll learn to create an inclusive classroom culture that prompts students to treat each other with respect, and you’ll examine the psychological reasons for cyberbullying.
  • Respect, Educate, and Protect: Cultivating Digital Citizenship in 21st Century Learners: Empower your students to use the internet safely, respectfully, and responsibly. You’ll develop strategies for teaching your students the most informed ways of using technology and communicating online.
  • Social Media Tools for Teaching and Learning: Integrate social media activities into your lesson plans so that your students become media literate and learn collaboration, communication, and critical-thinking skills that they will need for future success.

Advancement Courses offers K-12 educators more than 240 online, self-paced professional development courses covering both foundational topics and emerging trends. 

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