Is this the key to addressing cyber bullying?

Education in Australia has come a long way from chalk on slates, and unfortunately bullying has also had a digital revolution.

University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Educational Technology Associate Professor Petrea Redmond said cyber bullying was on the rise and had a devastating impact on children and adults alike.

“Bullying is no longer restricted to the playground – widening in reach with the mobile phone, and the ever changing and limitless internet (including email, social media and online gaming),” Associate Professor Redmond said.

“It’s an issue that’s happening globally, getting worse rather than better, and is effecting both academic outcomes and the mental health of all involved (the bullied, the bully and the bystanders).”

In her recently published article, ‘Developing a cyber bullying conceptual framework for educators’ in Technology in Society journal, Associate Professor Redmond proposed a system to use as a tool to investigate the issue.

“Educators need to be able to identify cyber bullying, implement effective management strategies that align with school policies, as well as engage in pro-active programming for prevention,” she said.

“Existing frameworks focus on root causes of cyber bullying, and my research builds on this to give educators the tools they need to deal with this new reality of teaching.

“My framework breaks it down to three categories, identification, management and prevention, with many key elements and indicators explored.

“For example: What kind of bullying is it? Who are the key players (victim, perpetrator and bystander)? What is the role and responsibility of the school when it comes to both management and prevention?”

Associate Professor Redmond said it was clear that a coordinated approach was needed to share the responsibility of addressing cyber bullying.

“This complex problem requires school communities, families and the border community to work together,” she said.

“Cyber bullying can occur anywhere and anytime, so teachers and parents cannot respond in isolation.

“I hope this framework can be used to form the basis of a common understanding that schools and educators can implement to support parents and students.”

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