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The practice of posting and sharing violent and gory videos on social networking site should be banned? Do you agree?
Introductory sentence:
Peoples are influenced by the practice of posting and sharing violent and gory videos on social networking site, and does the social networking site is the main poison of the problem and should be banned.
One conclusion (C)
In the conclusion, I agree that the practice of posting and sharing violent and gory videos on social networking site should be banned.
Two premises (P 1) and (P2)
(P1) :
Support each premise by using any two of the DSAERA:
Definition – (DEF),
Supporting Argument – (SA),
Assumption – (A),
Evidence – (EVI),
Reference to Authority – (REF),
Anecdote- (ANEC).
Your concluding remarks (CR)

Over the past decade, social media has become a widespread presence that touches the lives of countless people, including law enforcement officers. Certain risks and rewards face officers, as well as their departments, who use social media. Missteps in its use can endanger the safety of officers and compromise criminal cases, resulting not only in embarrassment to departments but exposure to civil and criminal liability. To combat these risks, law enforcement agencies must adapt to the social media outlets that affect the lives of officers every day. To do so departments must understand the forms of social media that exist, their benefits to law enforcement, the problems they may pose, and the need to establish criteria governing their use by law enforcement officers.
Understanding Social Media
Media is a means of communication with the intent to influence a wide audience.1 Historically, this referred to newspapers and television, but it now includes electronic forms, such as the Internet. The term social implies two-way communication in which the user interacts with a media source.

Departments that create a presence on social media sites open a new door of communication with the general public.

One form of social media is social networking, which allows multiple people to share information with one another. Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Twitter serve as examples of social networking Web sites. Users on a site, like Facebook, first must establish a profile containing personal data, such as their name, interests, employment, and geographic area. Other information, such as pictures, video, and texts, also can be shared. Users can form online relationships with other people, sharing the information they have uploaded. As a security precaution, most social networking sites have settings enabling users to control what information is shared and who can see it.
Social media has crafted its own language with common words and unique definitions. For instance, a “tweet” is commonly known as the text-based sharing of information on Twitter. Likewise, a “wall” is the public or semipublic area of Facebook users’ profiles in which information is shared in the social media world.2
Year after year social media sites continue to grow exponentially. For example, Twitter grew from 75 million registered users in 2010 to 175 million in 2011.3 Facebook experienced similar growth, rising from approximately 350 million active users worldwide in 2010 to near 640 million a year later.4Additionally, the rate at which people access these sites is significant. For example, YouTube, the popular video-sharing site, receives more than 24 hours of video every minute.5 Similarly, photo-sharing site Flickr receives more than 3,000 image uploads every minute.6
A 2011 survey conducted by the Institute for Criminal Justice Education (ICJE) found that over 78 percent of law enforcement respondents had a social media account.7 Of those, over 38 percent identified themselves on their profile as policing professionals.8 This finding illustrates the interest law enforcement officers have in social media, in addition to how they choose to identify themselves to others through social media.9
Applying Social Media to Law Enforcement
To their benefit law enforcement agencies can use social media for public relations, crime prevention, and criminal investigation. Departments that create a presence on social media sites open a new door of communication with the general public. By doing so citizens can receive real-time information, as well as an electronic method of asking questions, making suggestions, and providing tips that help solve crimes. For example, in 2011 Kentucky State Police investigators posted photos of jewelry, a tattoo, and a facial composite relating to an unknown body found 10 years earlier. The additional evidence provided in response to the post enabled investigators to identify the deceased person.10

[Social media] can help apprehend fugitives, single out associate suspects, link individuals to street gangs, and provide evidence of criminal activity.

Social media can provide an invaluable source of information for investigators. Criminals will use social media to share information about their whereabouts and those of their associates.11 They also have been known to share photos and videos of their criminal acts.12 Such electronic information can help apprehend fugitives, single out associate suspects, link individuals to street gangs, and provide evidence of criminal activity.
Encountering Problems
Law enforcement agencies must understand the problems that can arise when work and personal life converge in social media. Officers establish what they intend to be a personal presence in the social media world while identifying themselves as members of law enforcement. Mixing their personal and social lives with their professional ones can bring discredit to them and their departments.
Officers posting information about how sleepy they are on duty can call into question their fitness for duty in the event of a deadly force situation or a serious traffic accident. Additionally, posting photos of themselves with seized drug evidence can be harmful to the ongoing prosecution of a case because prosecutors should be consulted before evidence is shared with the public. Though officers may face disciplinary proceedings if their actions are discovered, departments may rely on a “conduct unbecoming” regulation and not a specific policy regarding social media.
When exposed, inappropriate information may lead to undesirable attention from the media and other parties. In one such instance, a defense attorney in Texas found the MySpace page of his client’s arresting officer. The page listed the officer’s occupation as “super hero/serial killer” and included expressions of interest in intense violence and graphic pictures of women with carvings in their skin. The defense attorney claimed this was evidence of the officer’s excessive force against his client.13
Criminals also can capitalize on private information publicly shared by law enforcement officers. For example, a 2011 arrest in Arizona led to the discovery of a CD containing information on over 30 officers and law enforcement support employees, all obtained through Facebook.14
Developing Solutions Officers cannot be expected to refrain from maintaining a social presence on the Internet. Therefore, law enforcement agencies must establish criteria for social media usage that balances the constitutional rights of officers while protecting the integrity of departments and investigations. The 2011 ICJE survey found that less than 40 percent of responding agencies had policies regarding social media use, and less than 15 percent provided training on what is appropriate to post.15 These findings point to the development and implementation of a comprehensive agencywide policy on social media use as a logical first step. This policy should be sufficiently broad to address the use of social media today and in the future. Consideration must be given to protect the free speech rights of off-duty officers using their own computers. However, personnel who choose to provide information about their work on social media sites will be open to scrutiny from their departments.16
Government entities can restrict the speech of their employees under certain circumstances, such as if the expression interferes with or compromises the mission of the department or brings into question the professionalism of the officers or the agency.17 Social media policy should clearly delineate between protected free expression and the speech that could impact departments or officers. Agencies generally are permitted to regulate officers’ conduct on social media sites if the individuals list law enforcement as their occupation or post law enforcement-related content. Administrators must decide the conduct and information to regulate.
Photos or videos of officers, suspects, evidence, police facilities, equipment, uniforms, or weapons
Employment, job assignment, work hours, or other related information
Public or nonpublic information regarding police reports, criminal history, arrests, or calls for police service
Profanity or unprofessional language and harmful images
Derogatory comments or images about superiors or coworkers
Work-related matters or other named officers in posts, blogs, or microblogs
Personal social media activities while on duty and with agency resources
Allowance by officers of the content of their social networking sites to be viewed by administrators during the course of an internal investigation
An agency’s social media policy also should address the official purpose for use and the desired objectives. It should define the person or group authorized to create and maintain the social media presence on behalf of the agency. The policy also must provide guidance on what officers can share and when.
Training officers on social media guidance can be done in two steps. The first should address general computer, Internet, and social media security and privacy issues, while the second should look at the practical application of social media policy as related to officers. The training curriculum should be frequently updated and repeated to keep up with evolving technology and ensure the information remains fresh in officers’ minds. Once educated, officers can take the initiative to properly protect themselves and their departments. Compliance can occur when officers understand the problem and buy into the solution.
Law enforcement administrators must establish appropriate controls over the use of social media to increase its benefits for their departments and reduce incidents of misuse by officers. This can be accomplished by setting criteria for social media use and training personnel on these policies. In doing so, the potential of social media as a law enforcement tool that can help departments better serve the public may fully be realized.

By Nancy Willard
Most educators working with middle and high school students are aware of the explosive involvement of youth on social networking sites. Few are prepared to deal with it. Internet safety expert Nancy Willard discusses the risks and benefits of such sites and offers schools a comprehensive approach to addressing student Internet access. Included: Advice for parents and teachers; online guidelines for students.
Educators working with middle and high school students likely are aware of the explosive interest and involvement of youth in such online sites as MySpace, Xanga, Facebook, Live Journal, and the like.
These and similar sites are a new phenomenon called "online social networking." In online social networking environments, youth register and establish profiles that provide personal information and photos. Then, they make connections or links with other members who share interests or connections -- so-called "friends." Members engage in a variety of forms of communication and information sharing, which can include personal Web pages, blogs, and discussion groups.

Problems are associated with these social networking sites, but the sites themselves generally are not the problem. Review the sites and look at the User Agreements or "Terms." These sites do seek to prohibit harmful activities. But with hundreds of thousands -- or millions -- of registered members, the sites cannot be expected to engage in effective "babysitting."
Social networking sites are very attractive environments for teens, as well as for adults. Such sites present opportunities for self-expression and friendship building. Youth "play time" in such environments can build skills that will be a foundation for career success in the 21st century. Many teens are safely and responsibly engaged in such communities.
Legitimate concerns do exist about youth involvement on these sites, however. Those concerns are grounded in three basic factors: 1) The sites are attracting many teens, some of whom are not making good choices. 2) Many parents are not paying attention to what their children are posting on the sites. 3) Sexual predators -- and likely other dangerous strangers -- are attracted to places where teens are not making good choices and adults are not paying attention.
Some teens are engaging in unsafe or irresponsible activities that include:
Unsafe disclosure of personal information -- providing potentially dangerous or damaging personal information. Many teens appear to have no understanding that what they post in those communities is public, potentially permanent, and accessible by anyone in the world.
Addiction -- spending an excessive amount of time online, resulting in lack of healthy engagement in major areas of life.
Risky sexual behavior -- becoming seduced by a sexual predator or child pornographer, posting sexually suggestive material or self-producing child pornography, or making connections with other teens for sexual "hook-ups."
Cyberbullying -- being cruel to others by sending or posting harmful material online or through a cell phone, or by engaging in other cruel actions.
Dangerous communities -- at-risk youth making connections with other at-risk youth or adults to discuss and share information, which can result in a shared belief in the appropriateness of potentially very harmful activities.
Is it appropriate for students to be participating in commercial social networking sites while at school? Probably not. It is advisable that schools seek to limit all non-educational, entertainment use of the Internet -- including social networking activities -- through the district Internet system.
Can and should schools block access to the sites? Well, they can try.
When the Internet first came into schools, the primary concern was youth access to pornography. Filtering software was promoted as the tool to effectively deal with that concern. Current concerns deal more with what students are posting, as well as how and with whom they are communicating. Do a search on the terms "bypass Internet filter" and you will see how easy it is for youth to find information on ways to get around the school filter.
Youth are unlikely to try to get around the school filter to access pornography because it would be pretty obvious -- even from a distance -- what they are looking at. Many youth are highly addicted to involvement in these social networking sites, however, and are willing to take the risk to use a proxy to access those sites, when it is far less likely that their access will be detected.
Should schools be concerned about off-campus Internet activities? Yes. Involvement in those communities might negatively impact student wellbeing and the quality of the school environment. Students might post material on the sites that harms other students, provides clues or direct threats about suicidal or violent intentions, or provides indications of hate group or gang involvement, or drug sales and use.
A comprehensive approach to addressing student Internet access is necessary. That approach requires:
1. A clear policy with a strong focus on educationally valuable use of the Internet -- no "Internet recess." The policy must be supported by curriculum and professional development, and a clear expectation for teachers that all student use of the Internet should be for high quality, well-planned instructional activities.
2. Student education about online safety and responsible use.
3. Effective technical monitoring.
4. Appropriate consequences. Schools and districts should consider a full review of Internet use management policies and practices. A needs assessment and evaluation of Internet use would provide helpful insight. Safe school personnel must be involved in that process.
All safe school personnel -- principals, counselors/psychologists, and school resource officers -- should be well informed about the sites and associated concerns. Ensuring that safe-school personnel have the ability to immediately override the school filter to visit those sites to review material in the event of a report of concern is essential.
Internet safety and responsible use is everyone's concern, but it is especially a concern for parents, because most youth Internet use occurs at home. Schools can help by providing information and guidance to parents and encouraging parental involvement in their children's online activities.
A "just say no" or "just say block" approach will not be effective in preventing youth involvement in online communities or in addressing concerns associated with them. Proactive strategies to help students gain the knowledge, skills, and motivation to make safe and responsible choices, and continued adult involvement are necessary.
About the Author
Nancy E. Willard, Director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, has degrees in special education and law. She taught at-risk children, practiced computer law, and was an educational technology consultant before focusing her professional attention on issues of youth behavior when using information communication technologies. She has spent more than a decade focusing on issues of Internet use management in schools. Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Cruelty, Threats, and Distress, a professional resource for educators, has been published by the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use. Information is available at Willard also is working on a book for parents entitled Raising CyberSavvy Kids: Empowering Children and Teens to Make Safe and Responsible Choices Online (and Remaining "Hands-on" to Ensure They Do).

Fact Sheet
Cyberbullying Identification, Prevention, and Response
By Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D.

Kids have been bullying each other for generations. The latest generation, however, has been able to utilize technology to expand their reach and the extent of their harm. This phenomenon is being called cyberbullying, defined as: “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” Basically, we are referring to incidents where adolescents use technology, usually computers or cell phones, to harass, threaten, humiliate, or otherwise hassle their peers. For example, youth can send hurtful text messages to others or spread rumors using cell phones or computers. Teens have also created web pages, videos, profiles on social networking sites making fun of others. With cell phones, adolescents have taken pictures in a bedroom, a bathroom, or another location where privacy is expected, and posted or distributed them online. More recently, some have recorded unauthorized videos of other kids and uploaded them for the world to see, rate, tag, and discuss.

What are some of the negative effects that cyberbullying can have on a person?

There are many detrimental outcomes associated with cyberbullying that reach into the real world. First, many targets of cyberbullying report feeling depressed, sad, angry, and frustrated. As one teenager stated: “It makes me hurt both physically and mentally. It scares me and takes away all my confidence. It makes me feel sick and worthless.” Victims who experience cyberbullying also reveal that are were afraid or embarrassed to go to school. In addition, research has revealed a link between cyberbullying and low self-esteem, family problems, academic problems, school violence, and delinquent behavior. Finally, cyberbullied youth also report having suicidal thoughts, and there have been a number of examples in the United States where youth who were victimized ended up taking their own lives.

Where does cyberbullying commonly occur?

Cyberbullying occurs across a variety of venues and mediums in cyberspace, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it occurs most often where teenagers congregate. Initially, many kids hung out in chat rooms, and as a result that is where most harassment took place. In recent years, most youth are have been drawn to social networking websites (such as Facebook) and video-sharing websites (such as YouTube). This trend has led to increased reports of cyberbullying occurring in those environments. Instant messaging on the Internet or text messaging via a cell phone also appear to be common ways in which youth are harassing others. We are also seeing it happen with portable gaming devices, in 3-D virtual worlds and social gaming sites, and in newer interactive sites such as Formspring and ChatRoulette.

How much cyberbullying is out there?

Estimates of the number of youth who experience cyberbullying vary widely (ranging from 10-40% or more), depending on the age of the group studied, how cyberbullying is formally defined, and the research methodology. In our work, we inform students that cyberbullying is when someone “repeatedly makes fun of another person online or repeatedly picks on another person through email or text message or when someone posts something online about another person that they don’t like.” Using this definition, about 20% of the over 4,400 randomly-selected 11-18 year-old students in 2010 indicated they had been a victim at some point in their life. About this same number admitted to cyberbullying others during their lifetime. Finally, about 10% of kids in this recent study said they had both been a victim and an offender.

How is cyberbullying different from traditional bullying?

While often similar in terms of form and technique, bullying and cyberbullying have many differences that can make the latter even more devastating. First, victims often do not know who the bully is, or why they are being targeted. The cyberbully can cloak his or her identity behind a computer or cell phone using anonymous email addresses or pseudonymous screen names. Second, the hurtful actions of a cyberbully are viral; that is, a large number of people (at school, in the neighborhood, in the city, in the world!) can be involved in a cyber-attack on a victim, or at least find out about the incident with a few keystrokes or clicks of the mouse. The perception, then, is that absolutely everyone knows about it.

Third, it is often easier to be cruel using technology because cyberbullying can be done from a physically distant location, and the bully doesn’t have to see the immediate response by the target. In fact, some teens simply might not recognize the serious harm they are causing because they are sheltered from the victim’s response. Finally, while parents and teachers are doing a better job supervising youth at school and at home, many adults don’t have the technological know-how to keep track of what teens are up to online. As a result, a victim’s experience may be missed and a bully’s actions may be left unchecked. Even if bullies are identified, many adults find themselves unprepared to adequately respond.

Why is cyberbullying becoming a major issue?

Cyberbullying is a growing problem because increasing numbers of kids are using and have completely embraced interactions via computers and cell phones. Two-thirds of youth go online every day for school work, to keep in touch with their friends, to play games, to learn about celebrities, to share their digital creations, or for many other reasons. Because the online communication tools have become an important part of their lives, it is not surprising that some kids have decided to use the technology to be malicious or menacing towards others. The fact that teens are connected to technology 24/7 means they are susceptible to victimization (and able to act on mean intentions toward others) around the clock. Apart from a measure of anonymity, it is also easier to be hateful using typed words rather than spoken words face-to-face. And because some adults have been slow to respond to cyberbullying, many cyberbullies feel that there are little to no consequences for their actions.

Cyberbullying crosses all geographical boundaries. The Internet has really opened up the whole world to users who access it on a broad array of devices, and for the most part this has been a good thing. Nevertheless, because of the issues previously discussed, some kids feel free to post or send whatever they want while online without considering how that content can inflict pain – and sometimes cause severe psychological and emotional wounds.

What are the biggest challenges in the fight to stop cyberbullying?

There are two challenges today that make it difficult to prevent cyberbullying. First, many people don’t see the harm associated with it. Some attempt to dismiss or disregard cyberbullying because there are “more serious forms of aggression to worry about.” While it is true that there are many issues facing adolescents, parents, teachers, and law enforcement today, we first need to accept that cyberbullying is one such problem that will only get more serious if ignored.

The other challenge relates to who is willing to step up and take responsibility for responding to inappropriate use of technology. Parents often say that they don’t have the technical skills to keep up with their kids’ online behavior; teachers are afraid to intervene in behaviors that often occur away from school; and law enforcement is hesitant to get involved unless there is clear evidence of a crime or a significant threat to someone’s physical safety. As a result, cyberbullying incidents often slip through the cracks. Indeed, the behavior often continues and escalates because they are not quickly addressed. Based on these challenges, we collectively need to create an environment where kids feel comfortable talking with adults about this problem and feel confident that meaningful steps will be taken to resolve the situation. We also need to get everyone involved - youth, parents, educators, counselors, law enforcement, social media companies, and the community at large. It will take a concerted and comprehensive effort from all stakeholders to really make a difference in reducing cyberbullying.

Are there any warning signs that might indicate when cyberbullying is occurring?

A child or teenager may be a victim of cyberbullying if he or she: unexpectedly stops using their computer or cell phone; appears nervous or jumpy when an instant message or email appears; appears uneasy about going to school or outside in general; appears to be angry, depressed, or frustrated after using the computer or cell phone; avoids discussions about what they are doing on the computer or cell phone; or becomes abnormally withdrawn from usual friends and family members.

Similarly, a child or teenager may be engaging in cyberbullying behaviors if he or she: quickly switches screens or closes programs when you walk by; gets unusually upset if computer or cell phone privileges are restricted; avoids discussions about what they are doing on the computer or cell phone; or appears to be using multiple online accounts (or an account that is not their own). In general, if a youth acts in ways that are inconsistent with their usual behavior when using these communication devices, it’s time to find out why.

What can parents do?

The best tack parents can take when their child is cyberbullied is to make sure they feel (and are) safe and secure, and to convey unconditional support. Parents must demonstrate to their children through words and actions that they both desire the same end result: that the cyberbullying stop and that life does not become even more difficult. This can be accomplished by working together to arrive at a mutually-agreeable course of action, as sometimes it is appropriate (and important) to solicit the child’s perspective as to what might be done to improve the situation. If necessary, parents should explain the importance of scheduling a meeting with school administrators (or a teacher they trust) to discuss the matter. Parents may also be able to contact the father or mother of the offender, and/or work with the Internet Service Provider, Cell Phone Service Provider, or Content Provider to investigate the issue or remove the offending material. The police should also be approached when physical threats are involved or a crime has possibly been committed.

“She kept texting me so many mean things that I wanted to throw my phone against the wall. I told my mom and she called her. After that the mean girls texted me, wow you can't fight your own battles!”
-11-year-old from Michigan

Overall, parents must educate their kids about appropriate online behaviors (and kids must follow these guidelines!). They should also monitor their child’s activities while online – especially early in their exploration of cyberspace. This can be done informally (through active participation in your child’s Internet experience, which we recommend most of all) and formally (through software). Cultivate and maintain an open, candid line of communication with your children, so that they are ready and willing to come to you whenever they experience something unpleasant or distressing when interacting via computer or cell phone. Teach and reinforce positive morals and values that are taught in the home about how others should be treated with respect and dignity.

Parents may also utilize an “Internet Use Contract” and a “Cell Phone Use Contract” to foster a crystal-clear understanding about what is and is not appropriate with respect to the use of technology. Within these documents, both the child and the parent agree to abide by certain mutually-acceptable rules of engagement. To remind the child of this pledged commitment, we recommend that this contract be posted in a highly visible place (e.g., next to the computer). When there are violations to this contract, immediate consequences must be given that are proportionate to the misbehavior, and that leave an impact. Kids need to learn that inappropriate online actions will not be tolerated. Victims of cyberbullying (and the bystanders who observe it) must know for sure that the adults who they tell will intervene rationally and logically, and not make the situation worse.

If a parent discovers that their child is cyberbullying others, they should first communicate how that behavior inflicts harm and causes pain in the real world as well as in cyberspace. Depending on the level of seriousness of the incident, and whether it seems that the child has realized the hurtful nature of his or her behavior, consequences should be firmly applied (and escalated if the behavior continues). If the incident was particularly severe, parents may want to consider installing tracking or filtering software, or removing technology privileges altogether for a period of time. Moving forward, it is essential that parents pay even greater attention to the Internet and cell phone activities of their child to make sure that they have internalized the lesson and are acting in responsible ways.

What should schools do to prevent cyberbullying?

The most important preventive step that schools can take is to educate the school community about responsible Internet use. Students need to know that all forms of bullying are wrong and that those who engage in harassing or threatening behaviors will be subject to discipline. It is therefore important to discuss issues related to the appropriate use of online communications technology in various areas of the general curriculum. To be sure, these messages should be reinforced in classes that regularly utilize technology. Signage also should be posted in the computer lab or at each computer workstation to remind students of the rules of acceptable use. In general, it is crucial to establish and maintain a school climate of respect and integrity where violations result in informal or formal sanction.

Furthermore, school district personnel should review their harassment and bullying policies to see if they allow for the discipline of students who engage in cyberbullying. If their policy covers it, cyberbullying incidents that occur at school - or that originate off campus but ultimately result in a substantial disruption of the learning environment - are well within a school’s legal authority to intervene. The school then needs to make it clear to students, parents, and all staff that these behaviors are unacceptable and will be subject to discipline. In some cases, simply discussing the incident with the offender’s parents will result in the behavior stopping.

What should schools do to respond to cyberbullying?

Students should already know that cyberbullying is unacceptable and that the behavior will result in discipline. Utilize school liaison officers or other members of law enforcement to thoroughly investigate incidents, as needed, if the behaviors cross a certain threshold of severity. Once the offending party has been identified, develop a response that is commensurate with the harm done and the disruption that occurred.

“I get mean messages on Formspring, with people telling me I'm fat and ugly and stupid. I don't know what I ever did to anyone. I wish it wasn't anonymous.”
-15-year-old from Illinois

School administrators should also work with parents to convey to the student that cyberbullying behaviors are taken seriously and are not trivialized. Moreover, schools should come up with creative response strategies, particularly for relatively minor forms of harassment that do not result in significant harm. For example, students may be required to create anti-cyberbullying posters to be displayed throughout the school. Older students might be required to give a brief presentation to younger students about the importance of using technology in ethically-sound ways. The point here, again, is to condemn the behavior while sending a message to the rest of the school community that bullying in any form is wrong and will not be tolerated.
Even though the vast majority of these incidents can be handled informally (calling parents, counseling the bully and target, expressing condemnation of the behavior), there may be occasions where formal response from the school is warranted. This is particularly the case in incidents involving serious threats toward another student, if the target no longer feels comfortable coming to school, or if cyberbullying behaviors continue after informal attempts to stop it have failed. In these cases, detention, suspension, changes of placement, or even expulsion may be necessary. If these extreme measures are required, it is important that educators are able to clearly demonstrate the link to school and present evidence that supports their action.

How is cyberbullying and school climate related?

The benefits of a positive school climate have been identified through much research over the last thirty years. It contributes to more consistent attendance, higher student achievement, and other desirable student outcomes. Though limited, the research done on school climate and traditional bullying also underscores its importance in preventing peer conflict. For instance, researchers have found that bullies view their school climate as substantially inferior as compared to victims. Another study based on data collected from students in New Brunswick found that disciplinary climate – the “extent to which students internalize the norms and values of the school, and conform to them” reduced the frequency of bullying among youth.

One of our recent studies found that students who experienced cyberbullying (both those who were victims and those who admitted to cyberbullying others) perceived a poorer climate at their school than those who had not experienced cyberbullying. Youth were asked whether they “enjoy going to school,” “feel safe at school,” “feel that teachers at their school really try to help them succeed,” and “feel that teachers at their school care about them.” Those who admitted to cyberbullying others or who were the target of cyberbullying were less likely to agree with those statements.

Overall, it is critical for educators to develop and promote a safe and respectful school climate. A positive on-campus environment will go a long way in reducing the frequency of many problematic behaviors at school, including bullying and harassment. In this setting, teachers must demonstrate emotional support, a warm and caring atmosphere, a strong focus on academics and learning, and a fostering of healthy self-esteem. Additionally, it is crucial that the school seeks to create and promote an atmosphere where certain conduct not tolerated—by students and staff alike. In schools with healthy climates, students know what is appropriate and what is not.

What can youth do?

Most importantly, youth should develop a relationship with an adult they trust (a parent, teacher, or someone else) so they can talk about any experiences they have online (or off) that make them upset or uncomfortable. If possible, teens should ignore minor teasing or name calling, and not respond to the bully as that might simply make the problem continue. It’s also useful to keep all evidence of cyberbullying to show an adult who can help with the situation. If targets of cyberbullying are able to keep a log or a journal of the dates and times and instances of the online harassment, that can also help prove what was going on and who started it.

Overall, youth should go online with their parents – show them what web sites they use, and why. At the same time, they need to be responsible when interacting with others on the Internet. For instance, they shouldn’t say anything to anyone online that they wouldn’t say to them in person with their parents in the room. Finally, youth ought to take advantage of the privacy settings within Facebook and other websites, and the social software (instant messaging, email, and chat programs) that they use – they are there to help reduce the chances of victimization. Users can adjust the settings to restrict and monitor who can contact them and who can read their online content.

What can bystanders do?

Bystanders also have a very critical role to play. Those who witness cyberbullying generally do not want to get involved because of the hassle and problems they fear it might bring upon them, yet they often recognize that what they are seeing is not right and should stop. However, by doing nothing, bystanders are doing something. We have a responsibility to look out for the best interests of each other. We believe that bystanders can make a huge difference in improving the situation for cyberbullying victims, who often feel helpless and hopeless and need someone to come to the rescue. Bystanders should note what they see and when. They should also stand up for the victim, and tell an adult they trust who can really step in and improve the situation. Finally, they should never encourage or indirectly contribute to the behavior – by forwarding hurtful messages, laughing at inappropriate jokes or content, condoning the act just to “fit in,” or otherwise silently allowing it to continue.

What can law enforcement do?

Law enforcement officers also have a role in preventing and responding to cyberbullying. To begin, they need to be aware of ever-evolving state and local laws concerning online behaviors, and equip themselves with the skills and knowledge to intervene as necessary. In a recent survey of school resource officers, we found that almost one-quarter did not know if their state had a cyberbullying law. This is surprising since their most visible responsibility involves responding to actions which are in violation of law (e.g., harassment, threats, stalking). Even if the behavior doesn’t immediately appear to rise to the level of a crime, officers should use their discretion to handle the situation in a way that is appropriate for the circumstances. For example, a simple discussion of the legal issues involved in cyberbullying may be enough to deter some youth from future misbehavior. Officers might also talk to parents about their child’s conduct and express to them the seriousness of online harassment.

Relatedly, officers can play an essential role in preventing cyberbullying from occurring or getting out of hand in the first place. They can speak to students in classrooms about cyberbullying and online safety issues more broadly in an attempt to discourage them from engaging in risky or unacceptable actions and interactions. They might also speak to parents about local and state laws, so that they are informed and can properly respond if their child is involved in an incident.

Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at Florida Atlantic University and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin‐Eau Claire. Together, they lecture across the United States on the causes and consequences of cyberbullying and offer comprehensive workshops for parents, educators, counselors, mental health professionals, law enforcement, youth and others concerned with addressing and preventing online aggression. © 2010 Cyberbullying Research Center

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