Cyber-bullying is all over the news, and parents are concerned about it. But are schools prepared to deal with multimedia bullies?
A new study claims “not really.”
The study surveyed 400 school social workers and found that half of them felt that they were not prepared to deal with the issue of cyber-bullying. Eighty percent said their schools did not have appropriate policies in place. Jonathan Singer is assistant professor of social work at Temple University, and one of the authors of the study.
“Almost all of them felt that it was a significant issue, and that it could contribute to suicide, and that it was something that school social workers should be responsible for dealing with, but that they didn’t have the appropriate training,” said Singer. “Only 20 percent said that their schools had appropriate policies around cyber-bullying” said Singer.
Singer added that most of what educators know about bullying relates to physical incidents–and doesn’t apply. “For example, you have school social workers trained to intervene when they see or hear something,” said Singer. “Well, if there’s cyber-bullying going on, they are not going to see or hear it.”
Singer said both educators and kids have to learn what constitutes cyber-bullying, and discuss ways to intervene, and since adults are typically “locked out” of kids’ social networks, kids need to be trained to alert adults when cyber-bullying occurs.
The study was published in Children & Schools magazine.