Cyber Bullying: Being Mean Behind the Screen
Internet is, indeed, a virtual wide world within itself. Its versatility and resourcefulness have enabled students to use it, not only as an educational tool, but also as means of entertainment and communication. Unfortunately though, Internet’s usefulness goes beyond those “positive” aspects. Students are adhering to its negative traits. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that the increase in Internet exposure and usage has also led to an increase in cyber bullying occurrences. Cyber bullying has been added to the already existing forms of bullying.
Bullying is defined as repeated, aggressive, and deliberate behaviors that are meant to hurt another person. It can be physical or emotional. Physical bullying employs inflicting physical pain, such as hitting and shoving. Emotional bullying incorporates name-calling, starting rumors, and making fun or laughing at someone, among other emotionally distressing actions.
In particular, cyber bullying entails using technological tools, such as the Internet, cell phones, and social media, to harm someone else. Those tools could be used to post cruel misconceptions and assumptions about a person. They can also be used to send mean text messages or comments that can include foul language and false accusations. Even agreeing with someone who is posting such material is considered to be a facet of cyber bullying.
Regardless of its form or type, bullying is a result of power imbalance. It is evident that the bully possesses more power than the bullied person. Power, in this sense, does not have to be physical. It can be mental or social, as well.
Causes to bullying are numerous and are, in part, dependent on the bully’s wellbeing and experiences. The consequences of such practices weigh heavily on the bully and the bullied. The intensity of some bullying occurrences might necessitate the presence of professional help to amend what has been done.
Eastwood strives to be Bully-proof
Eastwood proudly strives to be bully-proof. At Eastwood, we empower students to speak up and be strong, we share love and smiles, and we show students how influential we can be if united we stand! Educators and administrators are always on a mission to foster tolerance and acceptance among students. Our diverse student body and the harmonious culture that Eastwood adopts corroborate the extent of students’ embracement of this variety.
To share a secret, here are some ways to ensure that bullying does not take place on our campus. At Eastwood, we:
1) Know about bullying: Every member of the Eastwood community knows what bullying is and what it looks like. When the need arises, and with students, educators, and administrators being able to identify it, bullying does not go unreported, and actions are always taken.
2) Connect with and make time for our students: Eastwood educators and administrators do believe that their mission goes beyond the set curricula. We focus immensely on other social skills and personal skills that are necessary for student integration in society. Accordingly, we promote a safe environment, where students feel comfortable and are able to speak out if need be
3) Are always present: Part of promoting a safe environment is being present when students need support. Our presence does not only support students emotionally, it also shows them that we are willing to intervene on the spot to protect their wellbeing.
4) Smile: Most importantly, we spread smiles. You are not a true “Eastwooder” if you are not dressed with a smile!
A Positive Impact!
Eastwood International School is always ready to take action and combat such negative behaviors in and outside school premises. In doing so, Eastwood conducts regular (and free) professional development sessions that tackle school-related concepts and issues. In fact, on the 31st of January, Eastwood hosted its third professional development opportunity. The workshop, given by Dr. Pauline Nadjarian, was very educational and informative. It tackled cyber bullying-related topics, such as, causes, consequences, and preventions. Attendants consisted of educators, administrators, counselors, and parents.
Eastwood International School is among the very few schools in Lebanon that provide such opportunities. The following link will keep you posted on all of Eastwood’s future sessions: Eatwood Schools Professional Development. You can also visit Eastwood’s Facebook and Instagram pages for more information.
Michel A. Khoury
Eastwood Schools Director