Cyberbullying: Educators and Parents

Cyberbullying: Educators and Parents

Joanna Lizut (Janusz Korczak Pedagogical University in Warsaw, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8076-8.ch008


Parents and educators fill a number of functions for children and young people. Amongst the most important functions that close relatives can provide is to support a child through the type of difficult, stressful situation in life which cyberbullying represents. The sense of parental responsibility for the safety of children using the internet is very important. However, they do not always feel well prepared for this role. In this context, the involvement of educators is also important. Good practices exist, but they are not universally applied and require promotion and dissemination. The way the family functions significantly influences the way children are brought up, and the future lifestyle of young people depends on the nature of the relationships and interpersonal relations they will create in adult life. In guiding young people towards proper social functioning, the involvement of educators, social workers, and teachers is extremely significant. They have a special role in the case of cyberbullying. The safety of the young depends on their competences and qualifications, but also on the correct application of appropriate measures. There are already some good practices in this area that are worth exploring.
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The disintegration of the post-industrial society, referred to differently in terms of the information civilization, of global capitalist, commercial, and cultural changes, and of the disappearance of traditional authorities, has resulted in a remolded world in which the current generation of young people is, in some ways, the more knowledgeable generation. (Karmolińska- Jagodzińska, 2012). The influence of information and communication technology is also present in everyday life of the families. The internet supports learning, obtaining information, access to knowledge from various fields of science, technology, cultures in communicating, establishing contacts through internet (Iskandarani, 2008). However, digital technology can have negative influence on children and their relations with parents.

What is crucial for establishing good relations between generations is to understand communication processes and build new intergenerational bonds based on positive interactions between generations. This new process of intergenerational communication must be followed on the basis of new communication standards (Livingstone & Byrne, 2017), which will enable new forms of dialogue, ones based on understanding and on developing new standards of interpretation of reality and virtual life.

The message to parents is clear. Parents need to go online with their children, learn what they like to do most and where they like to go. They need to talk to their children about what they encounter online and develop, with input from their children, family rules for safe and appropriate Internet use. They need to keep the lines of communication open about what the Internet has to offer, being careful not to blame kids for inappropriate content. In addition, parents of young children need to inform themselves of the best that the Internet has to offer for children. (Swift &Taylor, 2003, p.276)

Not only the standards of communication have changed. Internet is building new types of communities around the world. The authors of the report emphasize that there are several main trends that can be identified impact of time spent using digital technology on children’s social relationships which were examined in many surveys (Kardefelt-Winther, 2017)

Literature review shows several studies indicating that online activities replace contacts in the real world, at the same time, many results shows that they are complement and strengthen existing activities. Moreover, the use of online social networks and the use of digital technologies will benefit those children, who generally have greater competences and social skills. For children and young people who are socially withdrawn, shy or isolated, communication on the internet can become a rope to establish social contacts because they can feel more at ease while creating friendships online. Individual - positive behavioral paths of digital involvement and their consequences are very difficult to determine.

Figure 1.

Teens opinion about social media's effect on people their age, 2018

Source: Report Teens, Social Media &Technology 2018, PEW Research Center,

That is why such a significant role of parents who can strengthen the positive elements of using the Internet and protect from risk for e.g., exposition on pornographic, violent and hateful material. Many parents realize the benefits of using the Internet and technology and want to support their children with a proper use but still we observe technological gap between generations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intervention Procedure: Defines the rules of behavior of the school, teachers, and other people involved in the cyberbullying act. The intervention procedure should include providing support to the victim of violence, securing evidence and determining the circumstances of the incident, drawing consequences against the perpetrator of violence and working on changing the student's attitude.

Digital Natives: Those for whom virtual space is not another area of activity and the natural field of their daily activities.

Digital Immigrants: Those that, although they use new technologies, move much worse in their world.

Internet Etiquette or Netiquette: Is the set of rules defining the forms of behavior in the online community.

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