Conference addresses cyber bullies and schools

    Modern bullies often don’t use their muscles or mouths to hurt other kids, but rather their cell phones and computers. A conference today addressed “cyberbullying” in schools.

    Modern bullies often don’t use their muscles or mouths to hurt other kids, but rather their cell phones and computers. A conference today addressed “cyberbullying” in schools.

    One hundred and fifty area educators and school counselors learned about different forms of cyberbullying and what helps prevent online taunting and name-calling.

    Keynote speaker Dr. Sameer Hinduja is Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. He says teachers shouldn’t monitor students’ online activity, but rather talk to them about the issues frequently:

    Hinduja: Mostly the role of teachers should be education and promoting awareness and just stimulating dialogue amongst youth about these issues. They are able then think before they actually act, because honestly, they tend to act in many cases without considering the long term ramifications.

    Nick Rotoli is director of curriculum for the Haverford School District, he says educators are often the last to know about popular websites and chatrooms where kids are posting hurtful information. Rotoli says being at the conference has given him ideas for engaging students in discussions about the ramifications of cyberbullying:

    Rotoli: You may put this on as a joke, you may not even know the student, but now you can cause some real significant damage and humiliation to the student, make that student hate school, feel singled out.

    The conference was put together by the Philadelphia office of the Anti-Defamation League, and also discussed creating partnerships between parents and schools to stop cyberbullying.

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