Anonymous Bullying Reporting: Works with Olweus and PBIS Programs

By Paul Langhorst

This week we posted two new articles on the CyberBully Hotline website that detail how anonymous bullying reporting solutions such as the CyberBully Hotline can work in concert with popular bullying prevention programs such as Olweus and PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports). The hallmark of both these programs is opening the lines of communication between students, and between students and staff/faculty.

These “whole school” bullying prevention programs are built around a framework of classroom meetings during which communication principles are modeled and practiced.  For example, PBIS teaches the Stop, Walk and Talk model where bullying victims are taught to stop the bullying or abusive behavior with a combination of a verbal and hand signals and then taught to seek a trusted adult to report the abusive behavior.

Anonymous reporting fits into these programs nicely in two key ways:

  • An anonymous reporting solution helps expand the ways in which a victim or bystander can report incidents. May victims and bystanders are filled with fear and an anonymous reporting method can help open a path resolution.  Experts indicate that as much as 50% of bullying and cyberbullying goes unreported due to student fears.  An anonymous reporting solution helps address the problems that may be lurking, unseen below the surface.
  • The classroom meeting is an ideal platform from which the anonymous reporting program can be discussed and promoted.

I encourage you to review the above articles depending on whether your school is running Olweus or PBIS to learn more specifics.

 

 

Cyberbullying vs Physical Bullying’s Impact on LGBTQ Youth

By Paul Langhorst

The Examiner recently posted a great article on the impact of cyberbullying vs. physical bullying on LGBTQ youth (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Questioning). The article by Gregory Kelly,  suggests that cyberbullying has a far harsher impact on LGBTQ youth.

Citing the statistics below, Gregory suggests that cyberbullying is far more damaging to LGBTQ youth than physical bullying, because of the wide spread nature of cyberbullying vs. physical bully.

Sobering statistics:

  • Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt (2007 , The American Association of Suicidology, Grossman, D’Augelli, “Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening Behaviors”)
  • Approximately 20% of the students report experiencing cyberbullying in their lifetimes.
  • Mean or hurtful comments (13.7%) and rumors spread (12.9%) online are the most common types of cyberbullying.

Physical bullying is typically one-on-one, or by a small group upon a single individual, which keeps the stigma of the attacks within a smaller sphere. Cyberbullying, played out on the internet and trough social media, can have a far wider reach to non-involved individuals (bystanders). For example, imagine that a popular student tweets that he/she thinks “Johnny Student is gay.” The popular student may have hundreds of Twitter followers, both at Johnny’s school and at others.  Whether or not he is gay, Johnny’s life is instantly turned upside down. Such rumors spread like wildfire and Johnny is instantly cast as gay, causing him to battle emotionally internally and externally with the mantel.  In addition, what starts online can lead to physical bullying to compound the matter.

Therefore, in the battle against bullying at your school or organization, pay special attention to reports of cyberbullying against LGBTQ youth, for those students may be at a greater risk of suicide than other  students.

 

 

“Nice” Twitter Accounts Used to Combat Cyberbullying

By Paul Langhorst                        August 15, 2012

I’ve been reading about students creating “nice” Twitter accounts to combat “negative” Twitter accounts that are started to harass and bully students.  This is a very encouraging trend and I hope one that continues to gain momentum.

An example is  @OsseoNiceThings, a Twitter account started by 17-year old Kevin Curwick.  As reported on KARE-11 (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Curwick, one of the football team’s captains, decided he could no longer sit on the sidelines when online bullying became a spectator sport in his school.

Several anonymous Twitter accounts had sprung up that were ripping on individual students. Curwick was not a student being attacked, but had had enough.  He started tweeting nice things about students who were targeted by the negative accounts.  Finding good things to say about them.

In a very short time, the negative Twitter accounts that were harassing students ceased to exist – an example of Good overpowering Evil.  And, a prime example of how bystanders can step in and stop bullying quickly.  Bullies are empowered by the inaction of their peers. They see no action as acceptance and it emboldens them to do more.  When bullies see that their peers do not accept their behavior, and take proactive steps to bring the bullying behavior to light, the bullying stops.

Examples of other “nice” Twitter accounts reported by KARE-11 are:

Way to go Kevin Curwick!!! The CyberBully Hotline salutes you!

‘No More Bullying’ Event Recap

By Paul Langhorst              August 6, 2012

SchoolReach and the CyberBully Hotline participated in the ‘No More Bullying’ event held at the St. Louis Mills Mall over the weekend.  We co-sponsored the Radio Disney Road Crew and their appearance helped increase traffic and added excitement and energy by engaging kids in dancing, singing, and activity-based games.

Tine Meier of the Megan Meier Foundation was the main draw and she spoke to an

Cyberbullying information

The CyberBully Hotline balloons were a big hit at the No More Bullying event!

audience of parents and their kids in the 57-degree Ice Zone – an ice rink attached to the Mills and home of the St. Louis Blues practice facility.  Her recap of Megan’s Story was captivating. Many parents approached Tina with their kids afterwards to speak to her personally about their ordeal with bullying.

We were moved by the many many parents who also stopped by the CyberBully Hotine table who told us of their challenges with bullying. Their stories were all very similar…”my son/daughter is being bullied and the school is doing nothing about it.”  Parent after parent said this to us during the 2-hour event.  It made me think back to when I first watched the “Bully” movie and its scenes of inept school administrators doing nothing in the face of severe bullying.  I can only hope that these parents and their kids someday get the help they need to resolve their situations and I am thankful that SchoolReach is now playing a role to help students more easily report bullying.