Cyberbullying Behavior: Identifying Signs in the Classroom
Author: Leader in Me
August 14, 2019
Cyberbullying behavior can be found in many schools and has reached epidemic levels as technology continues to encompass more and more aspects of our lives. According to the Pew Research Center, a September 2018 study found that 59% of US teens have been a victim of harassment online. The study also found that 90% of teens believe online harassment is a problem that affects people their age and that “majorities of young people think key groups, such as teachers, social media companies, and politicians are failing at tackling this issue.”
As an educator, it is vital that one knows how to listen for cyberbullying terms and how to spot cyberbullying behavior in the classroom through common telltale signs. The most common cyberbullying behavior signs include but are not limited to:
Cyberbullying Behavior Signs
Sporadic Changes in Personality or Behavior
- Has the student become more anxious lately? Angry? Withdrawn? Sad?
A Decline in Academic Performance
- Grades may suffer as a result of a lack of focus from the cyberbullied victim
Easily Distracted and/or Lack of Attention During Class
- The student may feel embarrassed or afraid about a recent cyberbullying incident and may lose interest in school-work
- The student may want to avoid attending class in order to avoid their attackers
Loss of Interest in Extracurricular Activities
- Victims of a cyberbullying attack may lose interest in activities they may once have enjoyed like sports, theatre and dance programs, or other educational pursuits out of fear of being hurt again
- Loss of confidence is common, especially when the victim begins to believe the negative things said to/about them
Poor Physical Health
- The emotional and mental toll that cyberbullying takes on a victim may cause them to care less about their own physical health
Suddenly Changes Circle of Friends
- The student’s own friends may be the perpetrators and so they may try to distance themselves from them.
Often Appears Lonely and Distant From Others
- Are they having trouble trusting others? Are they withdrawing from their friends?
Technology has supported bullying with its 24/7 accessibility. This, in turn, has made it more difficult for teachers to spot the characteristics of bullying. Cyberbullying is more difficult to spot and teachers should make sure to keep an open eye out for these signs of distress in their students.
Only by identifying cyberbullying behavior can teachers and administrators take the next steps in curbing the problem. Having a conversation with a potential victim of cyberbullying can mean all the difference in the world to them, remember: the earlier one can intervene to stop the problem at its source, the better your students’ mental health.