Dowen College Lagos: Latest technologies that can combat bullying in schools

As we all know, bullying is a widespread issue in today’s schools, both inside and outside the school walls. Every year, more than one in every five (20.8 percent) students report being bullied, making bullying the most common type of violence among children under 18. Bullying was historically considered natural for children and was not taken seriously. On the other hand, teasing and bullying are now recognized as significant concerns that can inflict emotional and psychological harm to victims, offenders, and onlookers (CDC, 2015). Both boys and girls bully others, but in different ways. Boys are more likely to participate in physical bullying, whereas girls are more likely to be part of emotional and psychological bullying.

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Many schools have now put anti-bullying policies in place that mainly address bullying. However, resolving this issue requires more than a single section of a school handbook. Teachers and other school personnel act as the eyes and ears of bullying awareness, just as they are the first line of defense in identifying and preventing child abuse. Every member of the school community is accountable for keeping abusive language and behavior out of the classroom and the school culture. Openly discussing the topic of bullying is likely the most effective strategy for educators to prevent it from occurring by making victims feel less solitary in their battle. Schools, for their part, must provide instructors with the strategies and resources they need to combat bullying in all of its forms.

To do so, schools must be informed of the most recent research and developments in bullying prevention.

The purpose of this article is to describe the various ways in which research-based education technology, such as NetSupport DNA, can help schools prevent bullying events from occurring and respond to bullying incidents that have already occurred.

What exactly is bullying?

Bullying is described as aggressive, deliberate behaviors committed frequently and over time by a group or an individual against a victim who cannot easily protect themselves. Bullying can take many forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse.

• Physical bullying includes hitting, pushing, hair pulling, beating, biting, choking, kicking, and causing property damage to the victim.

• Unwanted name-calling, gossip, and teasing are all examples of verbal bullying.

• Emotional bullying comprises ostracizing, threatening, defaming, embarrassing, and blackmailing; grading or assessing individual characteristics such as physical limits, height, weight, ethnicity, race, or perceived sexual orientation; peer pressure, isolating, and so on.

• Sexual bullying encompasses many of the behaviors mentioned above, exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual innuendos or comments, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and unwanted touching.

• Cyberbullying is defined as bullying that occurs via electronic media and devices such as e-mail, text messages, social media, and other Internet-based platforms.

Bullying is characterized by an unbalanced relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. The victim loses power as the bully gains power. As a result, dealing with the problem is difficult for the victim. Physical strength, social prestige, and other factors can contribute to a power imbalance. Understanding a person’s perceived shortcomings (e.g., appearance, disability, home life, personal qualities) and utilizing this knowledge against them can also lead to power.

What is the impact of bullying on students?

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We, as adults, must stop telling children that bullying is a normal part of growing up.

Bullying, in truth, is incredibly difficult for the victims (CDC, 2016). It has an immediate negative impact on a child’s academic achievement and pleasure in school. Children who are bullied report difficulty concentrating, physical problems, mental health issues such as anxiety and sadness, and low self-esteem. Feeling helpless and powerless to halt the harassment might cause long-term psychological harm.

Bullying has a harmful influence on bullies as well. Researchers discovered that confident children who bully others regularly have mental health concerns and engage in criminal and antisocial behavior later in life (CDC, 2015). This is not to say that bullying leads to criminal behavior as an adult, but it is a warning indication that something is wrong.

Children who are victims of bullying are not immune to its consequences. They may be worried and anxious about witnessing something they know is wrong but are helpless to prevent it from happening. They may be afraid about their safety or the possibility of losing social standing. They may also be terrified of being bullied themselves (CDC, 2015).

You’re still learning how to be in relationships during your school years. The internet adds a new layer of complication to this experience. While the internet world can be a terrific place to build relationships, it can also be a place to destroy them. Students don’t appear to realize that another person is on the other end of the keyboard—another person who feels the same way they do. Bullying is undesirable in both the actual and virtual worlds, and it can have disastrous implications in both. We must encourage young people always to ask themselves if what they are posting may harm others.

How can we utilize technology to combat bullying?

Despite all national attempts to eradicate bullying in schools, many parents are still concerned about their child’s safety. Every state has approved some law or policy prohibiting school bullying, but it persists. As a result, many tech businesses are developing technologies to assist schools in preventing and responding to all forms of bullying. Schools have shown receptivity to the concept, investing in bullying prevention and school safety programs to make their campuses safer.

NetSupport is one of the most promising bully prevention/school safety firms. NetSupport DNA, their award-winning IT Asset Management and Internet Safety solution, assist technicians in tracking, monitoring, and managing IT assets across individual schools and entire districts.

NetSupport DNA has a “Report a Concern” option that allows students to quickly and anonymously report any problem (e.g., cyberbullying) to a staff person they trust. NetSupport DNA even includes contact information for national support resources, allowing students to reach out to these organizations if they require assistance. Students can now tackle bullying without fear of retaliation from their tormentors.

School IT administrators can use NetSupport DNA to set up real-time monitoring and search for specific keywords or phrases in many languages to keep an eye on student activity. These keywords and other information are displayed in a word cloud manner, allowing school officials to identify trending subjects across student clusters. If phrases that you believe suggest bullying/harassment or may put the student in danger appear, they will be displayed in the word cloud. It not only displays the word cloud, but it also places the word in the context in which it was used. A triggering phrase used in a Word document during instructional time, for example, would be seen as less dangerous than the same term used in a chat app around lunchtime. The technology within NetSupport DNA can evaluate the severity of the phrase used and assign different sensitivity levels based on those conditions. Another tool that instructors appreciate is taking screenshots and video footage to aid in more severe cases of bullying.

Educators can also use the word cloud feature to discuss the significance of leaving a positive internet footprint. This can help kids comprehend that, whether they like it or not, they are shaping their reputation when they are online. It is equally essential for us to set a positive example as adults and professionals by being responsible digital citizens. This can assist teachers in reducing cyberbullying and assisting kids in gaining crucial digital literacy skills.

Conclusion

A School should be a place where children feel safe and secure and expect to be treated with dignity. Unfortunately, many kids are victims of bullying incidents, which can have profound, long-term academic, physical, and emotional implications. It is upsetting to learn that school employees frequently minimize or undervalue the scope of bullying and the harm it can inflict. Harassment is often ignored or accepted. When instructors fail to help, some victims take matters into their own hands, sometimes fatally.

Bullying, for example, would not exist in a perfect society. As educators, we must live in the real world, where harassment is still a severe issue in classrooms worldwide. However, as companies like NetSupport DNA indicate, the intentional use of technology can prevent and respond to bullying situations. Educators can exhale a sigh of relief now that they know how to protect their pupils from bullies, and students can also exhale with the knowledge that NetSupport is keeping them safe.

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