Securus

e-Safety and user monitoring solutions for education and the enterprise

How to boost the morale of a cyberbullying victim

Cyberbullying
Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

With the world becoming increasingly digital and the Internet a necessity, everybody, including children, should be given an equal opportunity to embrace this technology and develop as an integral part of our new digital world.

However, as parents and teachers it is understandable that you could have concerns about cyberbullying.  To keep your children or pupils safe online, teach them how to face cyberbullying with confidence. Start by implementing a culture of respect and safety right from the beginning and reassure them that cyberbullying is preventable.

The Cyber Scene project led by Masterclass is an interesting example of how to deal with cyberbullying and build innovative approaches to tackle such issues. The project was conducted in partnership with the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and a team of professional theatre makers. It revealed that working with young people in this medium helps explore and share their experiences of cyberbullying, as well as the effects it has on them and their peers.

Raising the curtain on cyberbullying

Have you considered using drama as a way to explore this topic? The Masterclass project creatively depicts how theatre-based workshops can help boost the morale of a victim. Let’s delve a bit deeper into the project.

Why theatre?

Through theatre workshops, the team at Masterclass develop victims’ stories into a play that is performed by them on stage. They also get the chance to work with a publisher to publish the play once it has been written. In order to raise public awareness about the very real and serious issues facing young people online, the team documents the project in the form of a recording, video, blog and of course, a performance.

“The Masterclass theatre project funded by the Royal British Legion was a turning point in my recovery. While the medical teams put my body back together, taking part in the play ‘The Two Worlds of Charlie F’ gave me back my self-esteem and confidence when it was at its lowest ebb,” said Cassidy Little, from Bravo 22 Company.

How can teachers deal with cyberbullying?

Read our article from the archives to get a thorough understanding of what cyberbullying is.  Here are some ways to help your pupils fight cyberbullying with confidence.

Understand

Cyberbullying can happen anywhere and therefore it is advisable for teachers to be aware of the forms that cyberbullying can take and its characteristics. Also, teachers should be aware of their school’s policy on tackling bullying, and how to prevent and respond to such incidents.

Prevent

To prevent cyberbullying in schools, teachers need to be proactive in discussing the issue with pupils. This will help students feel more comfortable in coming forward and sharing their experiences. In addition, awareness of cyberbullying must be raised across the whole school. It is not enough for just the teachers to be involved, the entire school community must join hands to promote mutual respect and trust, which can help combat cyberbullying.

Respond

Whenever a student encounters a situation that makes them uncomfortable online, it is important that they feel empowered to seek help from their teachers. Both teachers and pupils need to know how to raise their concerns. Students should also be advised never to respond to upsetting images or messages. Instead, they should be encouraged to save those messages for evidence.

If your school has been looking out for an e-Safety solution software that will help you detect cyberbullying incidents, then contact us today.

Are you prepared for the new “Keeping Children Safe in Education” Guidance?

Keeping Children Safe
Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

The UK Government has concluded the consultation for changes to the statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’. This came into effect on September 5th 2016 – schools and colleges must ensure that children are taught about safeguarding, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum. The new syllabus must include relevant issues through personal, social health and economic education or through relationship and sex education.

The Government issued a statement to explain the purpose of this guidance:

“Whilst local authorities play a lead role, safeguarding children and protecting them from harm is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play, which includes teachers, nurses, midwives, health visitors, youth workers, police, paediatricians and social workers.”

The other purposes are:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • Taking action to enable all children have the best outcomes

An article published by The Daily Telegraph revealed that nearly a third of teachers in the UK say they do not feel confident teaching online safety and two in five teachers have not attempted any lessons on the subject. Furthermore, it reported that online safety risks are increasing, with over 70 percent of those surveyed stating that sexting and cyber bullying cases have increased.

According to the same survey, teachers have criticised schools for not doing enough to protect pupils from online risks.

What’s new in the latest ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ Guidance?

Staff should read and understand Part One  

Schools should ensure that mechanisms are in place in order to assist staff to understand their roles and responsibilities. The biggest areas for discussion in the consultation was that all staff should ‘read and understand’ part one of Keeping Children Safe guidance.

Training

The guidance highlighted the need for Designated Safeguarding Leads to undertake training every year. In terms of training, the 2016 version refers to safeguarding topics such as:

  • Peer-on-peer abuse
  • Honour-based violence
  • Understanding the additional safeguarding vulnerabilities of learners with SEN and disabilities

Early help

 This update is to ensure the safety of vulnerable children in schools and that staff need to be able to identify learners who need this level of support. The 2016 guidance makes it clear that schools need to identify vulnerable learners, ensuring that staff understand the difference between a safeguarding concern and a child in immediate danger.

Safer Recruitment

Several issues around safer recruitment are highlighted in the 2016 guidance: it states that any concerns about independent school proprietors should be reported straight to the local authority designated officer – the LADO. All governors will need an enhanced disclosure and barring checks. And when the agency assigns a person for inspection checks, it is now obligatory for schools to check that the person is the same person provided by the agency for inspection.

Designated Safeguarding leads

There is an increased emphasis on having a job description for safeguarding leads. The new version of Keeping Children Safe underlines the fact that the designated safeguarding leads cannot delegate their work responsibility to others.

Online safety

A new annex has been added within the revised guidance, which addresses the online safety of students. It requires that the school trust should do all that they can to protect children from harmful and inappropriate online material. However, this must be balanced with ensuring they don’t ‘over block’ information available to children.

Schools are advised to establish an effective approach to online safety that protects and educates the whole school community in their use of technology. Another addition is the line to be taken regarding mobile technology – schools must have a clear policy on the use of mobile phones on the school premises.

How are you protecting your pupils online?

Securus has helped thousands of schools to detect and provide early intervention for student safeguarding issues. At Securus, we firmly believe that schools need to consider e-Safety as a serious issue and enforce strict policy to monitor the digital activity of their pupils.

Child internet safety expert, Professor Andy Phippen, said: “Schools need to take this seriously. They need to make sure someone in a senior position is leading on this, it can’t be down to the ICT teacher, particularly in large secondary schools. Monitoring is a far more proactive approach than trying to block pupils.”

Ian Skeels, Director of Point2Protect, emphasised the importance of schools taking responsibility for protecting children online. He said: “For too long there’s been confusion between government, schools, and parents over whose responsibility it is to protect young people from harmful online content, both within the classroom and beyond. Schools need to identify potential issues and start a positive, open dialogue between teachers and pupils about appropriate online behaviour.”

As a result of the changes in the new version of Keeping Education Safe guidance 2016, headteachers, governors and designated safeguarding leads will need to be accountable for safeguarding their pupils. They must ensure that the child protection policy in their schools reflects the different forms that peer-on-peer pressure abuse can take – it must never be tolerated or overlooked as ‘banter’ or ‘part of growing up.’

 

For more information about Securus e-safety monitoring software and the benefits it can provide to your school, please contact our sales team.

sales@securus-software.com or call 0330 1241750

From Isolation to Self-Harm and Suicide: How Cyberbullying Affects Children

child leaning on a wall
Greg Johnson Greg Johnson

 The bullying was painful and hurtful to me, and I wanted other people to know how it affected me. I made new friends who had also experienced cyberbullying, and together we decided that we wanted online bullies to realise that they could seriously hurt someone…..”

 – An excerpt from Jessica Davies’ story

Unlike school corridors and classrooms, the virtual world remains largely unsupervised, providing an open space for bullies to target children and victimise them. Unfortunately, because it happens online, cyberbullying frequently goes completely unnoticed by adults.

What is important for teachers to consider is that there is a lot of evidence that points to the fact cyberbullying has far reaching consequences for individuals, sometimes proving to be fatal. Here is a video of a brave 14-year-old girl who talks about her experience and how it almost led to her taking her own life.

As children go through the various stages of adolescence, they are already beginning to deal with emotional and psychological changes that make them vulnerable; add to that a bully, whose sole objective is to torment and terrify, and it will undoubtedly lead to an unhealthy and unhappy child.

Cyberbullying affects children in a number of ways and can have long lasting consequences, if not identified and addressed early on:

  1. Damaged self-esteem

Victims of cyberbullying often feel like punch bags, as bullies constantly target them across various internet platforms. Bullying robs children of their sense of self-worth and security, leaving them feeling exposed and weak. Emotionally, children may withdraw from activities they once enjoyed or perform poorly at school as they lose confidence in their abilities.

Constant name-calling and teasing can seriously hurt a child’s self-esteem causing them to develop deeper and more serious emotional problems as they go through adolescence.

  1. Anxiety and Depression

Naturally, once a child’s self-esteem is eroded, they begin to spiral down a path of negativity and self-doubt, eventually experiencing serious psychological issues. The constant stress of being targeted online can make a child feel isolated, humiliated and extremely nervous in social situations. Collectively, these emotions can lead to serious mental damage, causing full blown depressive episodes in some cases.

According to Dr Bijlani, who works at the Priory Hospital, Roehampton, in south-west London, “Children often fear reporting abuse and only later in life do these issues surface in the form of depression, stress, anxiety and other serious psychological conditions.”

  1. Aggression

In some instances, children might lash out and behave aggressively as a means to cope with the constant fear and pressure of being bullied. Unfortunately, in such cases the child is often subjected to further criticism from parents and teachers who are unaware of what is really going on.

  1. Self-harm and suicidal thoughts

Self-harm is more common than we realise and very often results from being constantly victimised and targeted by a bully. An article in The Huffington Post claims “almost half of school staff believe students under their tutelage have self-harmed and almost one in five were aware of youngsters attempting suicide, according to a new survey.” Some staff said cyberbullying and the desire to feel popular were among the most common causes of stress among their pupils.

A particularly alarming survey by ChildLine, Selfharm.co.uk, YouthNet and YoungMinds, revealed that 25% of children cited bullying as a cause for self-harm and almost 40% said that they had never talked about it to anyone in the ‘real world’.  Furthermore, ChildLine registered an 87% rise in calls about cyberbullying last year, a 41% increase in calls about self-harm, with the highest increase among 12- to15 year olds.

The Department of Health has recently commissioned a study into the possible links between suicide and the internet, the results of which will be made available in two years. A spokeswoman from the department stated that mental health was a priority for the Government and indicated the introduction of internet safety into the national curriculum.

If you are worried that your students are being bullied online, here are some signs to look out for: (keep in mind that these symptoms could be the result of other issues as well)

  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Reluctance to let parents or other adults anywhere near their laptops etc.
  • Finding reasons to stay away from school and other activities
  • Marks on the skin that could indicate self-harm
  • A marked change in personality i.e. anger, depression, crying, appearing withdrawn

Securus helps schools implement e-Safety measures that protect children from potential harm. Share your thoughts with us on this issue in the comments section, or connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter to know more about how we can help.

 

Page 2 of 3 123

To discover for yourself why more than 3,500 organisations have enjoyed the benefits of Securus solutions and to find out more about how Securus can help your organisation please call our customer service team on

+44 (0)330 124 1750 or email us at customer.services@securus-software.com

Alternatively, just click on the button below:

Contact Us