Cyberbullying is a serious and growing problem. In most states, schools have a legal responsibility to stop cyberbullying when it happens, but what can be done to prevent it? The internet stakes its claim on openness and anonymity…how can well-meaning educational institutions stay one step ahead of cyberbullies?
Smoothwall is serious about stopping cyberbullying. There’s no place for cyberbullying in today’s academic environment…it damages confidence, it siphons administrative resources, and it detracts from every student’s ability to learn.
Here are three actionable ways to curb cyberbullying in schools.
1. Consider Self-Reporting Programs
Self-reporting tools can be a powerful deterrent against cyberbullying. A new app aimed at schools in Utah, for example, has been credited for bringing to administrators’ attention over 86 violent threats over the course of two years. Using the app, students and teachers can “self-report” potential threats to professional counselors trained in crisis management. Fielding over 800 tips a month, the app offers students a tangible way to stop cyberbullying before it manifests into serious incidents of violence. It also opens up lines of communication between students and counseling professionals who can help them deal with cyberbullying they’ve been experiencing.
2. Increase Visibility Through Technology
If technology is the root of cyberbullying, it must also be the solution. Safeguarding, a proactive technology tool from Smoothwall, is designed specifically to provide educators with a way to actively monitor dangerous online behavior. Through Content Aware web filtering, the Safeguard proactive alert system notifies administrators whenever an attempted breach of the school’s network policy has been made, such as a student clicking on a link to a website known for being a bullying platform. When teachers and administrators can see the context around an attempted breach, risky online behavior can be nipped in the bud.
3. Put Processes in Place
All schools should have a process in place for reporting and responding to cyberbullying. The appropriate responses to cyberbullying are as varied as the techniques used by cyberbullies themselves. Twelve-year-olds sending mocking memes to a classmate should not receive the same kind of repercussions as a 17-year-old who threatens to bring a firearm to school. All forms of cyberbullying, no matter how severe, must be dealt with as real-world issues with the potential to translate into offline behaviors. Having a process in place that includes online behavior monitoring, counselors available to students, and a means of involving parents and even the authorities if necessary is critical to ensuring the safety of all students online.
Smoothwall’s filtering tools are designed to stop cyberbullying before it happens. From real-time Content Aware filtering to proactive Safeguarding alerts, schools with Smoothwall security feel more confident about their ability to keep bullying from affecting students.
Our cyberbullying tools are designed to make kids’ online activities more visible and actionable to administrators. If information is power, it might also be the key in stopping one of the most inappropriate – and unnecessary – forms of online abuse today.
Need a better way to stop cyberbullying in your school?
Smoothwall can help. Reach out today to talk to one of our technology experts and find out why more schools choose Smoothwall for their network security needs.
Our specially developed technologies deliver real-time Dynamic Content Analysis™ of web pages, all without impacting on the users’ experience.