These are my notes from the Oklahoma Dept of Education statewide Title I Health videoconference on “Cyberbullying” on 14 Feb 2007
- I am a panelist for this videoconference, my links are on http://teachdigital.pbwiki.com

Wed Mar 7 1:30 – Brand new “healthy Oklahoma manual”
speaker from Oklahoma Poison Control Center

FBI Parent guide to Internet Safety – www.fbi.gov/kids/parents/parents.htm

No-cost school program to address Internet Safety:
- www.webwisekids.org
- www.isafe.org

Bullying is intentional harm of others, it is NOT teasing

405-521-2107 is the phone number here for Gayle Jones, Oklahoma state dept of education Health director

Additional internet safety sites
- www.getnetwise.org
- www.wiredkids.org
- www.netsmartz.org
- www.media-awareness.ca
- www.safewiredschools.org

also on cyberbullying:
www.cyberbully.org

Presentation on Cyberbullying by Eric Hileman
- define cyberbullying
- profile of the cyberbully
- provide examples
- offer solutions

Bully stereotypes: on Nick Jr, lots of television programs
- only boys bully
- once a bully, always a bully
- low self-esteem
- low income families
- low academic students
- takes place away from school

Traditional bullying
- during recess and after school
- name calling
- cornering
- leaving someone out
- starting mean rumors
- shoving, hitting, pinching
- picking on people

Elements of cyberbullying
- not confined to school grounds or daytime hours
- tools include email, blogs, IM messages
- technology seems to incite a deeper level of meanness (it allows users to inflect pain without directly seeing its effects)

There are no bully police online

Tricks of the trade
- sending cruel, vicious and sometimes threatening messages
- creating websites that have stories, cartoons, pictures, and jokes ridiculing others
- breaking into email accounts and seeing vicious or embarrassing material to others as someone else
- engaging in IM and tricking someone to reveal personal information
- taking pictures in locker room and sending the image to hundreds of people in a cell phone address book

Saving evidence of the cyberbullying is often VERY important (saving documentation)

Why do people cyberbully?
- illusion of anonymity: many kids do and say things on a computer they wouldn’t have nerve to do in person
- # of kids using the internet makes it the preferred way to communicate: PEW reports 17 million kids age 12-17 use the Internet now
- easy to pose as someone else

Tidbits:
- iSafe survey: 42% of students in a survey of 1500 4th – 8th grade reported being cyberbullied, 53% admitted saying something mean or harmful to someone else
- Oak View Elementary in Virgina, student did a “top 5 most hated” kids survey online
- new weapons in teenage arsenal: stealing each other’s screen names, derogatory comments on blogs, forward private material

A blog is an online journal or online diary [THIS IS ERIC'S DEFINITION]

LaFlor county they have shut down all social networking sites
- had a kidnapping due to social networking (Lance Ford knows about this case)

In cyberbullying you have to protect kids from kids

Theory: traditional bullying is about power imbalances
- cyberbullying provides increased opportunities for bullying
- many victims of cyberbullying never know the identity of their bully
- outcomes of cyberbullying have potential to be worse
- goes into the home: both schools and home are supposed to be places where kids can feel safe and happy

Research shows that online bullying has particular appeal to girls, because of emotional rather than physical harassment to avoid direct confrontation
- proper term is relational aggression
- boys are not immune from this however
- cross-gender harrassment is more common with cyberbullying

livejournal.com is another blogging location besides myspace, xanga, facebook

Eric has a protected blog for his family, members love to gossip and comment (Whiner’s Circle)

is a push in the language arts community to allow free expression in schools

Good scenarios are available from the website “bullying.org”
- very sad

House Bill 1804 sponsored by Cargill focused on harassing digital messaging/communication passed in May 2005
- 1st offense is misdemeanor
- 2nd offense is a felony
- schools may need to modify their acceptable use policies to reference this House Bill in Oklahoma and the consequences which exist now in law

Possible solutions
- identify correlates and predictors of cyberbullying
- teaching Internet safety as part of traditional anti-bullying curriculum
- take Internet harassment seriously. If Internet bullying includes physical threats (including death threats) notify plice immediately
- guard you contact information, don’t give people your cell number, email address, etc.
- you wouldn’t send your children into the playground without supervision, don’t send your kids into the virtual world without supervision

Action steps for schools
- let kids know what behavior you find unacceptable, ask how they would feel if they were called x, y or z
- ask for students’ help in becoming cyber-saavy
- establish relationship with “cyber cops” on your local police force
- include cyber-ethics in the school curriculum

Solutions
- being harassed online: kids should log out and tell an adult
- don’t reply to harassing messages
- save harassing messages as documentation

[MY THOUGHT: HOW ABOUT CONFIGURING YOUR ONLINE WEBSITES FOR COMMENT MODERATION?]

- AOL Guardian” is available for AOL users, “snooper-vision”
- Yahoo’s “parental controls”, have weekly report card, four different levels available
- Microsoft’s “content advisor” is built into the IE browser
- 1-877-SAFE-CALL extension 651 (OK1) is toll-free hotline for students, parents, teachers and neighbors concerned about the safety of their local school

Comments by Fred Poteete, with Tahlequah Public Schools
- former teacher / coach / assistant principal / parent liason

I deal with bullying all the time
- I wish there was a formula for bullying, but there isn’t
- there are some guidelines, but not formulas

One guideline is to intervene immediately, but at times if you do you can embarrass the victim even more
- in one case like that, Fred invited the student in and asked her to brainstorm

I went to iSafe academy, taught classes on this back at Tahlequah JHS
- 1 in 3 young people have been solicited online, I had not really believed that at the academy in Carlsbad
- the very first class I taught, I encountered a girl who was being “groomed” online by a child predator (eventually leads to direct contact with the young person)

You’d never think that could happen in Howe, Oklahoma

Internet safety training is key
- education is a KEY

Problem with bullying on the Internet is kids think this is the wild west
- we have to teach kids that there is a community online just like in the F2F world

Had a situation where kids were creating a hate site about other classmates
In another case, had an “education session” with kids who were posting messages

every school needs to have an off-campus misconduct policy
- we do have one in Tahlequah, says if there is conduct off-campus that affects the learning environment you can do something about it as an administrator
- you have to, if you don’t stop it when it is small it is going to get worse
- like your bullying policy, you can have step 1, step 2, etc and/or have it open ended
- ours is open ended, gives a list but says consequences not limited to this
- you need administrators who will ACT if you have an open ended policy, if you have less action-oriented admins you may need a policy with specific step 1, step 2, etc.

Having evidence and witnesses are key
- had a situation after school on the weekend where someone was beat up
- you need to put some teeth into things like that
- your school attorney plays a key role in all of this

iSafe curriculum

Bullying: “Bullying happens whenever someone uses his or her power unfairly and repeatedly to hurt someone”
Violence: “any word, look, sign, or act that hurts a person’s body, feelings, or things”

The Bullied Person’s RIGHTS
- to tell about being bullied without being punished
- to be listened to sympathetically
- to have a person in authority investigate incidents and act on what is discovered
- to get feedback as soon as possible
- to have the bully made aware of what their behavior has done to them

Bullies may not remember bullying, but victims almost always remember being bullied

I always went over these RIGHTS with kids the first time

I think bullying comes down to 3 things: contempt, hurt or power
- recommended site “Kids are Worth It” and author’s book “The Bully, The Bullied and The Bystander”

Have a no-bullying pledge, encourage kids in school to develop thse
- for community members, faculty, parents, students

Have a bus driver survey relating to bullying
- bus rider survey
- has been helpful for Fred as a bus driver (that comes from “Bully-proofing your school” curriculum, they have lots of surveys like that)

Hot spot surveys also very helpful: have students mark a map of the school
- B = Bullying
- T = Tobacco
- D = drugs (including alcohol)
- X = place where kid feels unsafe
- a star or asterisk shows where kids feel SAFE

Make EVERY kid write on the back of the hotspot survey, otherwise the only kids who are writing on the back are reporting

Hot spot surveys also helped administrators
- helped kids have voice and power

Main goal of having drop box is to identify patterns of behavior, for students who are “displaying bullying behavior”
- it is a learned behavior, it can be unlearned
- better to not label someone a “bully” – instead use the words “displaying bullying behavior”

In one case we immediately suspended a student for choking another child until he passed out
- we had to prove there was repetition since that was in our definition
- you can have violence without bullying, but not bullying without violence in our case because the word “repeated” is in the definition

What do I say when confronting a bully?
- it can be different in every context
- don’t need to use an accusatory tone of voice, can use an inquiring tone of voice
Ideas
- hey, what’s going on here?
- should I be concerned about what I see here?
- do you people need some help?
- more

it is very important HOW YOU SAY IT (body language, tone of voice)
- if kids know you are aware of it, a lot of time behavior will change and even stop
- don’t embarrass the person being victimized

www.advantagepress.com has resources dealing with Bullying: DVDs volume 1 and 2

This is more about restitution: what am I going to do or not going to do next time, the focus is on behavior change
- we don’t always see the results of that

Go to www.k12coordinator.org has good training on cyberbullying, on day 3 Tahlequah is featured
- lots of links and resources
- have video clips, action steps, lots of great resources

Book: ““Bullies: From The Playground to the Boardroom” (Jane Middelton-Moz, Mary Lee Zawadski)

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  • http://WiredSafety.org Parry Aftab

    Thanks for mentioning wiredkids.org. Our main site on cyberbullying, though, is stopcyberbullying.org. We have done extensive work in the field of cyberbullying and harassment and have lots of free resources and activities for educators to use.

    thanks again,
    Parry Aftab
    Exec Director
    WiredSafety.org

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