TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES
“Be careful with the ‘net!”
SCENARIOS OF BULLYING EVENT:
CAUSES OF BULLYING EVENT:
FACTUAL DESCRIPTION OF THE BULLYING EVENT
Sergio is a 16 year old youth who lives in a chalet on the outskirts of the city. He is a boy who tends to excel at everything: he is good looking, he plays football, and his school grades are good. A year ago he added a person as a contact in one of his social network accounts. He did not actually know this person, but they had some common friends. Since then he has been receiving threats and insults from the person, calling him names like “lousy rich kid”, “poser”... He told his friends and they told him to ignore the person, he would end up getting tired of insulting, and to remove him from his contacts list, but Sergio finds it hard to stay silent and so he responds to the threats. He has told his parents and his teachers but they just say the person must be jealous of him. A month ago the person started asking Sergio for money, and told him that if he did not do what he said he would hurt his little sister. Sergio is desperate. He has removed the person from his network contacts but the person has somehow got hold of his cell phone number (he doesn’t know how). His parents have gone to talk to the tutor. He told them that he could do nothing about situations that arise outside the school but that he would look into the problem in class, in case the bully was one of Sergio’s classmates. The tutor spoke to Santiago, the school counselor, and they organized some group tutorials to discuss issues associated with convivencia (harmonious interaction). Before the tutor started, the counselor handed out a questionnaire to all the students in Sergio’s year to find out if anyone had something against him. The questionnaire did reveal that there was a boy who could not stand Sergio, but as the answers were anonymous there was no way of knowing who it was. Santiago then prepared some tutorial sessions on issues related to convivencia and respect for oneself and for others. He used short role playing exercises and the analysis of different moral dilemmas. He also talked about school bullying. The students found these classes very motivating, but Sergio continued to receive threats by telephone. The only solution he could think of was to change his telephone number, and since then he only adds a person to his list of contacts on the social network if he is sure who that person is.
Regarding the strategies adopted by the different people involved to deal with this case of peer abuse: The students say telling him to ignore the person, not to take any notice, eliminate him from his social network contacts, he would get tired in the end and stop bothering him... Others think they did a test. The teachers tried to find out who the boy was but couldn’t. The teachers think that this case of harassment was first reported to the student’s teachers, to try to identify the culprit. Secondly, there were tutorial sessions dedicated to the issue, questionnaires, small role playing activities and discussion of different moral dilemmas related to bullying. The parents informed Sergio’s school. They went to talk to the tutor. The school counselor says that first he handed out a sociogram, but it wasn’t of much use because it was anonymous. Then he worked on conflict resolution and afterwards he reported the harassment. In this case the counselor worked on the harassment from a preventive perspective: informing, working on conflict resolution ... as if he didn’t know a case of abuse was taking place in that class.
IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION
The students, parents, teachers, principal and school counselor believe that this situation influenced the learning and teaching process in the classroom. They also agreed on the consequences. It affects the academic performance of the person involved. If a student is the victim, their academic performance and behavior will be affected, and if it is a teacher or a person who works at the school, they will also be affected, both in the way they teach and in their general behavior. The boy would not be able to pay attention or concentrate, he would always be thinking about the attacks he is receiving and he would mistrust his classmates. This would result in academic failure.
Regarding whether or not the situation affects the students’ motivation (interest, effort, etc.), those questioned believe that it does affect motivation. The students think they are scared: if they feel threatened they will not act the same; he would be depressed, angry. The teachers and the principal think that it is vital for them to encourage motivation and boost the students’ self-esteem so that they will not be potential victims of school bullying. Being insulted or threatened directly affects their motivation to go to class. The parents think they cannot concentrate and will not feel good emotionally.
Possible effects on the students’ results. Those questioned think the victim’s grades will be lower; they would not talk openly and sincerely. They would be in dread of the bully. When there is a case of bullying at school, all the members of the school play an important role in solving the problem: the students involved, the victim and the bully/ies, the bystander students, the teachers and the family. The school principal thinks the situation will not affect the academic results of the other students in the class. He realizes that it may influence their conduct. The parents say that both the student’s work-rate and their grades will be lower. The victim’s results might well drop, but those of the others will depend on the extent to which they are involved in the bullying. Unless they have experienced a similar situation, the bystanders will not be affected too much.
Regarding potential problems of integration at school: All those questioned agree that problems of integration will arise because the victim will be afraid to talk to others, they will feel insecure, they will not make friends and will not be able to trust them. Some people might consider them strange and isolate them. Bystanders will reject them out of fear that if they make friends with them, they too will be bullied. The class in which the bullying takes place cannot make normal progress, either academically or socially. The counselor says it will depend on the victim’s personality and on the resilience of their social group. If it is a shy student with few social skills they will tend to become isolated, but if it happens to a socially integrated student I don’t think they will have problems because they will report what is happening, either to their friends, their tutor or their parents.
With regard to the possible impact of the bullying in adult life, as manifest in forms of social behavior, everyone thinks that bullying does impact adult life. The students think it will make them loners, dissocial, violent... They won’t trust people. The bullies will be delinquents and stalkers. The teachers think the bullying will undoubtedly affect the students’ normal social development, because a bullying problem is essentially more of a social problem than a school problem, regardless of where it takes place. The principal thinks they may be afraid to meet people, to use technology and, in short, to behave in a normal way. The parents say his self-esteem will go down, but it all depends on how long the bullying has gone on for, how intense it has been, how it has affected the boy... many factors. The counselor says that if the bystander students are encouraged actively to intervene in situations like this in their own class, he thinks it will then be easier for them to act in everyday situations.
Regarding whether or not the situation affects the atmosphere at school: The students think it does: they will not concentrate and will end up failing. People will get angry and fight, and there will be no companionship. The teachers say the climate at school will be negatively affected in all aspects. The principal thinks that any kind of physical or verbal threat or violence directly affects the atmosphere at school. The students are aware of what is happening and expect the teachers or the school management to do something to bring the conflict to an end. The parents think it does influence the atmosphere because the victims do not feel safe, and if, moreover, they cannot find support in their classmates, they will feel isolated. The counselor thinks that if a student feels supported by their teachers, tutors, counselor and principal and the others also see that action is taken when this kind of situation arises, the atmosphere at school will be much more positive.
POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM
With regard to the victim’s thoughts about the reasons why he is being bullied, The students think he doesn’t know why someone can hate him so much without his having done anything to harm that person. He would tell his friends, parents and teachers. Some students think he didn’t tell anyone. He feels that he has done something wrong. Someone should accompany him to places, in case the bully attacks him outside his house. The person will be scared. He will think he is inferior to the others. He will regret having added that person to his contacts. He thinks he has made a mistake in adding the person without knowing anything about him. He will wonder why it has happened to him. The bully is wrong, he should leave him alone.
Regarding the help the victim thinks he would find useful, the students expressed the following opinions: Telling adults, because they know how to handle these things best and find out who the abuser is... They should find out who he is. Eliminate him from the social network. Support and a solution from the teacher. He should change his mobile phone and use a different social network. He should move house and change to a different school, that way the bully wouldn’t bother him anymore. Report him to the police. If all the students stand up to the bully together.
POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S)
Regarding why the bully acts in the way he does, they say it’s because he has it in for him and doesn’t like him. To gain respect among his mates and to let others know he is there because he wants to be the centre of attention. Because he is jealous. Because they are quiet, weaker people. Because he is good looking and good at sport... Because he wants to attract attention.
The students think that the bully chose that specific victim rather than anyone else because he was weaker. Either because they are popular, or because they are people who are not fully integrated in the group and he wants to exclude him, I don’t know - there could be any number of reasons. Because things are going well for him and they want to be the same as the victim. Because he was good-looking, attractive, and good at sport... (jealousy)
Regarding the bully’s remorse, the students think the bully is not sorry for what he has done, because he kept bothering Sergio until he put a stop to it all by changing his mobile phone.
POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS
The bystander students knew what was happening when the victim told them and they told him to ignore him.
Regarding what bystanders thought about the causes of the bullying and what they did. They think they would have felt sorry about it. They stayed silent out of fear. They didn’t do anything so as not to get involved in any of that. Some of them don’t believe it. They help him because he is their classmate. Because he added him to his contacts on the social network. Others think they did nothing because they did not know who the bully was. The bully was jealous, that’s why he got at him and threatened him. The students told him to ignore him, because he would soon get tired.
POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS
Regarding the teachers’ awareness of what was going on: They think the student told his parents what had happened and they told the tutor, so the tutor processed the information about the problem. Although it’s not mentioned in the text, this implies that it was passed on to the student’s teachers and the school counselor.
Regarding what they did to find out and understand what was happening. The teachers say they did a series of role playing activities and analyzed different moral dilemmas about bullying in tutorial sessions, with the help of the counselor. They think it would also be convenient to inform students about what bullying is and what consequences it has for the victim, the bully and those known as bystander students, using videos and films on the subject, and then discuss the issue. Also, role playing seems to me a very useful way to place students in the shoes of the people involved in a case of bullying.
Regarding the help contributed by other teachers: The teachers think nothing is mentioned about this in the text: but not only would this be useful, it is also necessary if the problem is to be alleviated.
POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS
Regarding the principal's awareness of the problem, he believes that if the tutor and the counselor have intervened the principal should be informed. If he is not, he thinks he would not be running the school properly.
What should have been done in this situation. Once the case has been reported, the school management - Head of Studies and Principal – should be informed. Interview with the tutor and the other teachers to find out if any information is available Interview with the students involved. Interview with other students in the group who may have additional information. Interview with the parents/legal guardians to inform them of all that has happened and explain the seriousness of the affair, and to describe the steps to be taken as standard procedure. Monitoring of the measures adopted to ensure the situation is corrected.
Regarding the principal’s role in this type of situations, the principal of this school thinks that his job is to be informed of any cases of bullying in order to be able to implement the corresponding procedures and supervise all action that is taken.
POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED
Regarding the parent’s awareness of what was happening: They think that he told his parents, perhaps because they didn’t realize what was happening. At first they weren’t aware.
Regarding how parents would find out about what was happening and what information they would seek: They think through friends and specialists. At first, through the school and the Civil Guard services. Information about who the bully is and why he is doing what he is doing. Talk to their children, and also to their closest friends to obtain more information and then go to the school, and, as a last resort, to the corresponding authorities.
Regarding whether the situation could change: The parents think the situation could have changed if they had known who Sergio was talking to on the computer. By trying to discover who the bully is. If they had realized right at the beginning. Sergio shouldn’t have accepted a stranger on his social network.
POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL
With regard to what the counselor would do: Take direct action with the people involved and if necessary report the case.
To prevent this type of situation: Discuss it with the students in the tutorial session.
Regarding what could be done to improve communication and cooperation among students (and thus prevent school bullying in general). He thinks it is essential right at the beginning of the school year to conduct a series of group activities focusing on mutual understanding. The classroom group should feel united. He thinks this is the first step, so that later everything will go much more smoothly.
POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS
The present case this would be within 4% of children who have suffered cyberbullying online, and like most Spanish children, the main channel are the social networks (5% of all Spanish children who use the Internet aged between 15 and 16 years say they have been harassed through social networks, the same percentage applied to the Messenger).
First we highlight one of the fundamental problems is the lack of digital skills demonstrated in this case, and overall by all the minors who have to face a case of cyberbullying.
The advice he receives from his peers is ignore the bully, erase him from the social network, waiting he give up.
To remove a contact from their social network will not prevent the harassment. As it is demonstrated in the present case, the bully uses another channels to continue with harassment (in this case through mobile phone). Although only 2% of Spanish children who suffer bullying claim to suffer through mobile phones, this shows that it would be doubly serious. Harassment channels are two: social network (internet) and mobile messaging (phone).
The present case coincides with the results reflected in the survey of EU Kids Online. Most of the children who suffer cyberbullying, ask for help to a friend. Secondly, tell their parents, thirdly a brother or trusted adult and the results of the survey for Spain show that never would reach teachers.
Sergio's case, has several problems:
1. To rely on their peers to solve the case may aggravate it, as they usually do not propose appropriate solutions. It has been shown that only half of children between 9 and 16 years know how to change the privacy settings of the social network. Only 69% of minors between 13 and 16 say they know change this setting. However, 82% between 13 and 16 years know how to block messages from someone you do not want to contact. But it must be keep in mind that if you do not know how to handle the privacy of social networking, exposure to risk and potential damage is very high. In any case peers suggest to the victim to report the episode to a child protection initiative on the Internet, or to the Police. Peers also do not encourage victims to tell their parents or teachers. And never suggest something essential in these cases, which is the collection of evidence. If the first source to which the child comes for help is your peers, all efforts to alleviate this problem should be focused on training, awareness and digital education to the child.
2. As indicated in the present case, parents come to school to get help on how to handle the case. This shows that parents do not know how to act directly as mediators if the child is a victim of harassment. No mention whatsoever that the parents have gone to school with a prior complaint filed with the police. Well this is mediated by an initiative petition for protection and assistance to children and parents in using the Internet or on their own. It should be noted that in Spain, in these cases, although not the only solution, harassment of a minor in the network, showing the necessary tests, is a crime and is covered in the Penal Code. Understanding, as explained above, a parent must attend school for help in such cases and the school must provide the help, parents have to take into account the damage done to their child must be reported. This case coincides with the results for Spain in the survey by EU Kids Online, which shows that 67% of Spanish parents whose children have experienced cyberbullying say, their sons and daughters have not suffered any episode of cyberbullying, 9% as unknown and only 24% of those who have suffered know that their child has been bullied online.
3. Of most concern, and taking into account the present case, is that parents have more ignorance on cyberbullying cases when children are between 13 and 14 and 15 and 16 years. As can be seen in the case of Sergio, parents seem to have noticed anything until the child himself puts them abreast of the situation. In case of Sergio it is added another problem: victims of cyberbullying with ages between 13 and 16 state to suffer more damage than when they are younger.
4. Spanish parents, compare with European, usually imposes restrictions to minors on the Internet, called restrictive parental mediation. Evidence shows that restrictive mediation (norms and rules) may be beneficial in some ways, but most of the time these restrictions cause the child can not enjoy certain opportunities offered by the network and this may influence the development of digital skills. Sergio's case, confirms again the immediate need for Spanish parents whose youngest child internet make use of digital literacy. Spain, is now among the countries where children are accessing the Internet older than the rest of Europe, access to Internet at home is also under European average. This implies that the incidence of certain risk-harm as cyberbullying is still lower than in the rest of Europe. But, each year these figures are increasing and this means that if parents do not receive digital literacy to guide the children in something as essential as the proper use of internet, the incidence of injury may be increasing.
5. The answer given by the school seems adequate, but it is worrying that the Sergio’s course tutor is one of the last to know the situation. And as indicated, are the child's parents themselves who have to communicate to school the situation that is going on for the child. Once the parents communicate, the child talks to his course tutor, but not before. Given that the harasser is a classmate of the victim, each teacher or tutor Sergio, who are in contact every day with the student should have noticed it. The fact that no teacher, counselor, etc. were up to date confirms that children do not choose Spanish teachers as mediator in cases of cyberbullying. This can be considered as something serious, especially when secondary schools are the second favorite place for children to access the Internet. And students between 13 and 16 year olds use the Internet to visit a social networking profile rather than to do homework. Understanding that the school is not the most opportune place to use a social network, you cannot lose sight that they are doing it and not just through PCs but also through mobile devices with Internet access. Teachers need to claim their right to receive specific training on digital literacy which must be translated to their students. Maybe, if a specific subject focus on the proper use of new technologies was applied in the school, this case of cyberbullying may not have reached the limits of causing unwanted harm to the child.
In this case you can see as strengths, the performance by the school. Performance has been directed, first, to the knowledge and social consensus by all stakeholders involved in the disastrous consequences of the phenomenon involving bullying. The figure of guidance through prevention activities and conduct of the quiz to find out the aggressor from the victim. I found it very important role but also contradictory, since a situation of bullying, I think your intervention must be focused on the development of a remedial action (as there is a serious problem) and the investigation of the "aggressor."
Also note, the role of director of the center, which I think is developing a very successful performance given the seriousness of the problem.
Comments about this Case Study
Posted by: Rocío Muñoz
Type of school: Concerted
I agree with the comment Kaissoun Youssef, because I believe that in any case the procedure was adequate in tackling the problem.
The processes used are considered appropriate in a formative stage and prevention before there is the problem but I think in this case the problem is already there and harassment and threats are significant enough to simply apply methods of training of students, other hand when there was not even certain that were being developed in the group that was the stalker.
According to the information I think they should have informed parents of course, but also the police, or encourage parents to inform them who were public authorities and to receive support and legal and police.
I think even the fact of making such interventions in the classroom and the solutions adopted all I got was to give wings to center stage and getting his goal harassing, intimidating a student and show their weaknesses.
Posted by: E Spolin
Type of school: 11-18 Comprehensive
This is clearly a police matter. I am surprised that the school got involved as the police should be able to identify the source of the threats and prosecute appropriately.
In the course of our students' school careers we spend quite a lot of time revisiting the need to be vigilent over cyber-bullying. This starts when the arrive in Year 7 and has a regular place in PSHCE lessons and special assemblies. Despite all our efforts it is still one of the most common issues that our Pastoral Team have to deal with. It is also very frustrating as it is nothing to do with school and invariably occurs when the students are given unsupervised Internet access at home. The frustration is that it invariably finds its way into school.
At 16 Sergio should perhaps be a little more "street wise". Clearly the threats are upsetting but he needs supporting so that he can see them for what they are - threats from a mean-minded and jealous person. He can change his phone number and block this particular social "friend" and then get on with his life with just a little bit of support from the adults. If the bandit strikes again - Let the police deal with it. Cyber-bullying is against the law in the UK and I assume this will be common throughout the EU.
Posted by: Mariola Morillo Pareja
Type of school: Concerted
I think in addition to everything proposed here would be important to inform the authorities what is happening and that if such threats were more intense damage suffered or someone's sister threatened example would be very hard for the team education have been aware of this and have not reported to the police.
Posted by: Youssef Kaissoun
Type of school: Member of Mobile team - Ministry of Education
The adults’ weak reaction : the parents, the classmates and the teachers content themselves with giving explanations on the bully’s motivation rather than working on the situation and helping the vitim.
The inappropriate or clumsy responses : advice of good sense are numerous in this kind of situation. But unfortunately they are inefficient and they might reinforece the victims’ feeling of powerless in this kind of situation :
- For instance, advising the victim to ignore the bully or to change of mobile phone number suggests that the situation is normal and that the victim has just to adapt himself. No suggestion to call the police for instance to denounce an inrregular situation.
- Sharing the questionnaires amongst the classmates unintentionally suggests that the problem could come from the victim. That is potentially stigmatizing for the victim and very dangerous.
- Organizing activities on good manners is interesting but premature and it does not respond directly to the basic need to make the bullying behaviour cesse.
OUR INTERVENTION IN THIS KIND OF SITUATION :
- to recognize the victim and to clearly state that the situation he suffers from is not normal : there should be no ambiguity regarding the bully’s responisbility. The victims of bullying try to understand the reasons of what happens to them and they often doubt of themselves. Sometimes they consider themselves as responsible, even guilty. The culprit feeling is frequent is this kind of problematic.
- The fact to be clear for the others about the issue helps the victim to reposition himself to consider that he is not responsible of what happens to him. The woman in miniskirt is not a attenuating circumstance for the raper.
- Trying to stop the bullying as quick as possible and involving the victim. We must distinguish the measures that can be activated by the victim from the ones to be activated by the school. The victim’s support, regarding the measures he can activate, is based on the principle that it is better to face the situation rather than to avoid it. We will see how in the activities.
- Not giving in to the bully : it is clear that a balance of power settles between the bully and the victim. Giving in will encourage the bully to go on.
- Giving media coverage to the event :
o the victim is encouraged to report each new event by informing his circle and letting the bully know. It a position that consists of breaking the victim’s isolation and putting the bully under pressure. The fact that other persons are aware of his behaviour can sometimes be enough to make the bully stop
o With the victim’s agreement, keeping the classmates or the parents informed by asking their support. The underlying message is that there is no shame in being victim.
- Making the bullying cease :
o Immediate measures aimed at making the bullying cease : filing a complain by the police if it is about important and serious facts. If the facts occur within school, trying to identify the bully, and if so, imposing sanctions, etc.
- Supporting the victim : without necessarily speaking about psychological follow-up, we can organize a weekly meeting with the victim in order to focus in the evolution of the situation, to keep him informed on the extent of the measures taken by the school or on the development of the investigation. A school educator can be in charge of that task for instance.
- Taking action at long term : learning from the event and taking prevention measure when the bullying has stopped : once this single case is solved, then we must try, maybe with external workers’ support, to learn from the event and to bring responses : for instance, in this case the measures can be about the adequate use of the social networks, possibly about making aware of the respect of the others, and overall, about how to help the pupils to develop attitudes and strategies to face this kind of risk.
Posted by: AUDREY HEINE
Type of school: Obervatory of violence and school dropping out - Ministry of Education
Common elements : in this situation, the devices activated in a school would probably have been very similar : awareness campaign regarding the dangers of the Internet organized by skilled teams : CPMS, school mediators, mobile teams.
Divergent elements : In Belgium, the PLP 41 circular proposes to create contact points for the schools in each police zone, with a referent piliceman. This framework allows the school to have a privileged link with the police in cases such as the one mentioned. Furthermore, an assistance phone number is at the disposal of the headmaster’s offices in order to be informed of the devices and measures to be adapted in such a situation.
This case study shows the importance of the cyber-bullying situations the teachers are more and more confronted with and the interest to set up devices especially focussed on these problematics.
Recommandation : presentation of the dangers of the internet by the mediators : especially focussed on the use of internet tools : social networks, blogs,…
Training : a training to the dangers of the media exists in the training catalog of the Institute of continuous training.
Posted by: Carlos José Pérez
Type of school: Concerted
Although a little hard at first, share the view of Professor Thomson. If you have been threatening phone calls to a minor (in this case the victim's sister), the police should acudirse also work to be held in the school with students and parents, we do not know how aggressive you can show the bully.
Moreover, both agree with the answer given by the college as Professor Thomson. Coexistence is important work and citizenship. It is the only way we can today to protect the Internet as the network grows at a pace that is impossible to master and use patterns to everything in it, so it is better to work and civic values moral help to know how to use the Internet. Furthermore, as indicated in Professor Thomson, the Internet security is an important area and we invest time in it. If the victim had known better some guidelines, could have prevented everything from the beginning, not accepting as a friend on a social network to a stranger.
Posted by: Munteanu Emil
Type of school: Vocational School, Octav Bancila High School Iaşi
Also in Romania, this type of bullying is very common and started to be more and more aggressive. The following channels have been identified as ways to manifest this phenomenon:
- Downloading different software or applications
- Access pages containing illegal, immoral, violent, racist etc. content
- Direct communication with strangers (in chat rooms, forums, msn, etc.)
- Spam messages (threat, sexual harassment, etc.)
- Social networks, eg. Facebook
- Gaming addiction, gambling
- Intercept personal data
- Information of a questionable / dubious quality and reliability
- Copyright, rights violations
- Participation in frauds
- Uncertain financial transactions
- Internet Addiction
A lot of ciberbullying cases have been confessed by children. The proportions of the confession made by children are:
- Access pages containing illegal, immoral, violent, racist etc. content : 80,5
- Spam messages (threat, sexual harassment, etc..) : 70,5%
- Participation in frauds: 70,5%
- Uncertain financial transactions: 70,0%
- Internet Addiction: 70,0%
- Direct communication with strangers (in chat rooms, forums, msn, etc.): 70,0%
So there can be many cases, stories of harassment of children on the Internet. Aggression items on the Internet are generally the same throughout Europe, differing only in which proportions manifests.
In these cases the ones who identify/discover the situation must address to the parents, to see if they are aware of this situation. The parents are the most important factors in helping the children who confront with cyberbullying, they can make several steps to limit the children access to the internet:
- Being more involved in the child education
- Permanent communication with the child
- Risk awareness by the child through communication
- Discussing with the child the dangers of the internet
- Limiting the access time
- Personal example
- Computer password
- Restrictions on accessing various websites with illegal, violent, etc. content
As the experience express, the best measure used, is the communication between the parents and the child in order to install mutual trust. In this case the abused child will first address to their parents who are the person who can assure the best defend.
Then the counselor / school psychologist will conduct individual counseling activities with the child to combat, eliminate feelings, like: fear, anxiety or depression, lack of motivation for learning and work, marginalization or ignorance of their acts. He will intervene to develop children's assertiveness, empathy and open communication.
Also depend on the case the teacher can address also to the police or to the Child protection authority to take all the specialized measures.
From this case study can be learned that the threat of the Internet, affect motivation of the children to go to school (school efficiency decreases). Parents believe that children cannot concentrate and they are emotionally affected. It is extremely difficult to identify the aggressor on the Internet because they specifically hide their identity. Ignoring the situation does not solve the conflict. Parents and teachers, school counselors are the main support person for the abused children. Parents must participate in various trainings where they can learn how to develop a close relationship with the child based on communication.
The trainings for teachers should include aspects related to:
- Study on Internet use by children to identify dangers
- Ways to assure the safety of Internet use by children
- Type of extracurricular activities on this field
Posted by: Ian Thomson
Type of school: Catholic Secondary
When matters like this occur in our school we tell the parents to inform the police. We encourage pupils to print a copy of the dialogue out and to take it to school as evidence and to also show the police.
At our school we often photocopy any threatening dialogue and send it to the bullie's parents with a letter explaining what has happened. This often shocks parents and sometimes makes them more aware of their child's activity whilst on the computer. This is obviously harder to manage when the person sending the messages is unknown.
As a school we spend many Citizenship/PSHE lessons on the importance of internet safety. The community police officers often conduct group talks on this matter and often question people who have been 'caught' sending disparaging messages as a scare tactic and pupils often stop sending messages as a result of this.
Internet safety is becoming a significant area in education. It is something that all schools need to invest a lot of time in, so pupils are aware of how to protect themselves online.
Posted by: Carmen Carneiro Rodríguez
Type of school: Secundary School
The choice of this testimony is that two weeks ago in my coaching has been a case involving the use of new technologies in the center.
The physical education teacher noticed that one of the students in a group that normally refuses to participate in certain activities were using the mobile phone. The teacher was deeply affected by the severity of the crime and the nature of their classes and put him immediately notify the Head of Studies.
After researching and asking students, it was learned the name of the culprit and it was found that the student had uploaded photos of both peers and the teacher to a social network that use them. Other students also confessed that on that day, but others had used a camera phone in the center being totally prohibited by the rules. The rest of the class confessed that he was the first time that this was done.
The biggest surprise was the realization that this same student, the previous year also had something jokingly commenting the photos hanging from a teacher.
The center has been thought that the punishment must be exemplary and is campaigning against the use of mobile phones, explaining to students that the use of the image from peers and adults without their permission is very serious and a crime. They are also asked to attend the center without moving, they do not need.
It has also been reported to parents asking for their cooperation. If students do not bring mobile use and can not avoid the temptation to do so.
Students do not see the seriousness of the matter and for them to take the mobile phone is a must and totally necessary. All phones have the latest generation.
I think it is really worrying the use of phones by students in the center. It is a fact almost impossible to control. It is used not only during recess but in the course of the classes and we are all helpless against the misuse of them.
The solution seems complicated.
Posted by: Petya Marcheva
Type of school: Specialized school
The described situation is again related to cyber bullying, which progresses also to use of mobile devices. It is different from the situation, which we analyzed together with the vocational school for tourism from our town – a case of cyber bullying, in which two girls published a defamatory material on MySpace - because here the attacker and the victim are alone, there are no third parties or other participants. Like in our case, here the direct aim of the harassment is one particular boy, but the attack is direct. The perpetrator remains undiscovered until the very end. The school tried to solve this scenario through participation of the entire school team and general inclusion of the children in informational and educational activities - since the bully was unknown. From this and other similar cases we can draw the conclusion that the social networks and mobile phones can give the future offenders the tools for starting their unlawful activities. Here the motive is quite easy to catch - the wealthy boy should be extorted in order for his peace and safety to be preserved.
Prevention could be achieved via regular lectures and presentation of specific cases and the outcomes from them (including the harsh consequences and measures taken by the school management for sanctioning the perpetrators of such harassment) and in cases like this one - involvement of the police and IT experts who can try to identify IP addresses and track mobile numbers. Due to the specifics and the needs of our students, prevention lectures and situational games are very deeply integrated in our daily work and we are achieving excellent results.
Specific courses for teachers and psychologists on the topic of indirect and cyber bullying and the particularities of female empathy would be very useful. Ready lectures, which to be presented before the children, supported by similar thematic case studies.
Posted by: Maramotti Loretta - Pancosta Barbara
Type of school: High School
Intervention by the school
In Spain, the victim asks for help to parents and teachers
In Spain there are threats from the bully to the victim's sister and other threats to the victim
In the Spanish case the victim is a good student, intelligent, beautiful and rich (does not seem at all a weak guy), this is an unusual case because the victim rarely has the positive features and even more rarely the victim of his talks with other problem.
In Spain you would have found the support of a professional computer expert in new technologies to explain to students the proper use of new technologies (instant messaging, social networks, etc. ..) in order to avoid dangerous pitfalls.
From the Spanish case you can learn the importance of dialogue with professors and students with families in such a way that adults might step in and resolve any problems
It would be desirable to program in all classes of interventions outside experts or teachers competent to carry forward the appropriate use of new technologies and then bring the students to make a good and appropriate use of technology, for example by offering them a list of sites so please do not leave them alone to navigate the vast sea of internet
The teacher training is crucial to deal with any bullying events. It 'important that the Faculty Council is prepared
Required courses in teacher training would be appropriate to dedicate themselves to the issue of forms of bullying. Important is the presence of experts such as psychologists and sociologists that illustrate the strategies used by teachers to address issues related to bullying that might occur in the classroom.
It would also be appropriate in these meetings there was a confrontation with teachers who have already faced this kind of experience.
Important is to create a network among teachers who have experienced and overcome these problems and teachers who are involved in the same issue, so it would be appropriate for the classes that they live such a problem might confront students who managed to overcome this difficulty.
Our experience has taught us that the class action at all in law enforcement with the aim of illustrating the rules and the sanctions resulting from behaviors that violate the rules leads to a self-reflection and self-analysis following students on their inappropriate behavior resulting in behavioral improvement.
Therefore it would be good practice to include, however, an intervention of outside experts into the classroom to illustrate and clarify the rules on citizenship regardless of whether or not there are issues related to bullying.
Posted by: DIMITRIS ATHANASOPOULOS
Type of school: VOCATIONAL SCHOOL
The case I chose to comment on is so typical of cyber bullying that elements in common are really obvious. A teenager, who is using social networks without restrictions, adding friends he does not really know, ends up being bullied by the so called friend not only through the social network but also through mobile phone. He first turns out to his friends, then has to ask for his parents’ help till they inform his school and teachers in their effort to end this. The school informs them it has no jurisdiction when something is taking place outside school and intervention is planed with questionnaires and role playing activities that are trying to avoid this from happening again. This is so close to my experience. The teachers are the last to know and action is taken after something has already happened.
A difference i noticed is the intervention of the school counselor. In our educational system school counselors are responsible for teachers, their teaching abilities and knowledge, as well as the curriculum of each lesson. Problems as the one described are handled by the school principal and the teachers.
In order to deal with this bullying scenario I would have asked for help from people that are copying with such problems, people who have the knowledge and the experience to face such a situation. Websites like www.saferinternet.gr, www.safeline.gr, www.inach.net offer advice and activities that can be used by parents, students and teachers in order to minimize danger and avoid cyber harassment.
What I found out while studying this case is that the problems arising from the use of the internet are common and the reactions and inadequate knowledge of students, parents and teachers are the same. It is also obvious that what we do is react to harassment rather than act before it occurs.
In our school in order to inform students and parents we have watched a video made from students regarding bullying and we have also used the activities presented by www.saferinternet.gr that involve both students and their families. The strategies presented in this case study could be implemented in our school too, but it would be more useful if this happened at the beginning of the school year.
What is unfortunate is that teachers are not actually informed and prepared to prevent or face such kind of problems. What we know depends on our personal interest and involvement. It would be really useful if we would be educated by experts, not only through courses but also in our schools through educational programs that involve students as well.
Posted by: Anthi Karatrantou
Type of school: Vocational High School
The case of Sergio is unfortunately a bulling type of our nowadays life style. Social networks are used more and more by children, teenagers and youth. A recent research of Unicef shows that the youngest users of facebook are students of kindergarten! The majority of students at junior and senior high school are users of social networks and sometimes the facebook is one of their tools of communication between friends. The case of Sergio could be happening also in Greece. Students of that age react in the same way. Sergio’s way of using the social network is the common way teenagers use it. They tend to accept as friends people that they do no know and they feel proud in the case of having a lot of cyber friends even they do not know them. Sergio’s reaction to the bulling is also a common reaction of young persons. He discussed the problem with his friends, he answered to the bully and when the situation was really very bad he talked to his parents. The parents came to school. This procedure is one with a lot of common points with what could be happened in Greece.
The way the tutor, the teachers and the director reacted is in the correct direction and would be effective. It is really difficult to find the bully person but informing students about the risks they take every time they discuss in network and discuss with them on such topics is important and may really help them to be able to protect themselves.
What the parents or the school director might should do, is to inform the authorities for citizents’ protection against electronic crime or/and a child protection authority. There are lines open to the citizens to apply and ask help in situations like this.
The case of Sergio is a very good example to discuss with students in our classes in order to inform them about the risks in social networks.
In our school (a vocational secondary education school) every year we try to inform our students about the privacy settings in social networks and how to handle them. There is guide for students and parents about it coming from the Hellenic School Network and it is free for the members of school communities.
There is also one day per year dedicated in ‘Safe internet’ use. This day is common for all schools all over Greece and supported by an non-profit organization working on the safeness in the use of internet and internet applications (www.saferinternet.gr)
Every year teachers of ICT try to teach students who to use properly the network, social networks, mail accounts and chat or forum conversations.