Cyberbullying is a form of bullying, and research reveals it has increased to affect 12% of young people in this country. To support schools develop effective strategies to understand, prevent and respond to cyberbullying Childnet (as part of the UK Safer Internet Center) have launched new cyberbullying guidance along with a practical toolkit for teachers.
The cyberbullying guidance is designed to support schools in preventing and responding to cyberbullying and comprises of four main sections:
- Understanding cyberbullying
- Preventing cyberbullying
- Responding to cyberbullying
- Cyberbullying – supporting school staff
The guidance can be viewed or downloaded as a complete document or in sections. The creation of the guidance been assisted by a range of experts in this area who formed part of an Advisory Board, as well as the voice of young people on this subject area. Childnet also included examples of good practice from schools regarding how they are preventing and responding to cyberbullying.
Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet said “In the wake of recent figures of an 88% increase in calls to Childline about cyberbullying in the last five years, it is crucial that school leaders understand the positives and negatives of internet culture within their communities and have the management strategies required. We know that cyberbullying is the key online safety issue that schools face; and we know the serious long-lasting impact it can have on children. In the development of our guidance and teaching resources we have been consulting with young people, teachers and experts to collect practical strategies for effectively preventing and responding to cyberbullying.”
Kent County Council recommend that all schools and settings download the cyberbullying guidance. Designated Safeguarding Leads may find it helpful to share the cyberbullying guidance with their staff. It could also be useful to help stimulate a discussion about cyberbullying (including preventative approaches, the schools responsibility and how to respond if a concern is reported) within staff training opportunities.
Childnet have also published a practical online safety toolkit for use within PSHE lessons which includes films and lesson plans to explore online issues with pupils aged 11-14 years old. The resource is Quality-Assured by the PSHE Association. The toolkit contains educators guidance which provides advice for teachers, as well as information about the law and a set of FAQs (including ways to engage pupils with online safety)
The toolkit is primarily aimed at Key Stage 3 (11-14 year olds), however feedback from teachers has identified that some activities (noted on the educators matrix) may be suitable for a mature upper key stage 2 class (10-11 year olds). It is recommended that teachers check the materials and activities in advance to ensure that it is appropriate for their pupils.
The toolkit aims to help educators in generating discussions with young people and covers:
- Peer pressure
- Self esteem
The resources explore the idea of ‘Crossing the line’. Young people like to push boundaries, and at times they might take a joke too far or engage in risky behaviour online. From behind a screen, they can’t always predict the consequences of their actions. Through discussion and activities, this toolkit enables teachers to challenge young people to not only reflect on their own behaviour online and discover what ‘crosses the line’ for them, but also to take steps to ensure that they also know who and how to report when/if aspects of their online lives go wrong.