Additionally, research shows that when students are cyberbullied, more often than not, they’re also being harassed at school. Online abuse, therefore, can indicate school-based bullying, which schools are required to respond to.
Our research shows that students who believe schools will punish them for cyberbullying are less likely to torment their classmates than those who don’t fear punishment. If educators clearly convey that students who engage in cyberbullying will face consequences at school, the behavior will likely decrease.
Teachers and principals are best equipped to deal with issues that come up between students. Of course, it’s important that the school’s response to online bullying is appropriate and educational. For example, administrators could require students to create anti-cyberbullying materials or give a presentation to younger kids about acceptable online behavior. What they shouldn’t do is ignore cyberbullying by students, even if it’s done out of school.
—JUSTIN W. PATCHIN
Co-Director, Cyberbullying Research Center