• Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, is available to discuss cyber bullying.

    What Teachers, Parents and Kids Need to Know About Cyber Bullying


    TRENTON, N.J. September 29, 2010 – Social media and technology have created thousands of new ways to be a bully, posing significant challenges for school administrators, staff, parents and students, according to the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA). Knowing how to effectively deal with these new circumstances will go a long way toward reducing the problem of cyber bullying.


    “With the pervasiveness of social media and mobile communications, kids can be bullied anytime, anywhere,” noted said Richard Bozza, Ed.D., executive director of the NJASA. “Bullying used to be confined to a physical location. Students could at least find refuge at home. But with cyber bullying, victims no longer have a safe zone. Technology has effectively moved bullying from the playground to the bedroom.”


    Cyber bullying is defined as harassment using electronic media. This may include sending mean, vulgar or threatening messages, impersonating others, or posting sensitive, private information. Cyber bullying can occur via email, Internet chat rooms, cell phone calls or texts, social network pages, instant messages, blogs, digital images and in any other form of technology. Even though it often occurs away from school grounds, cyber bullying still affects students at school. They suffer both socially and academically.


    A recent survey of middle school students1 revealed that 9% had been cyberbullied in the last 30 days, and 17% had been cyberbullied during their lifetime. In addition, 8% had cyberbullied others in the last 30 days and 18% had done so during their lifetime.


    Cyber bullying differs from traditional bullying in many ways, according to the NJASA. Because it is posted in a public forum, it is an easily accessible, often permanent, record. As bullies are emboldened by the anonymity of electronic media, they often don’t even identify themselves. Victims, fearful that they will lose technology privileges, are often reluctant to report cyber bullying to parents or teachers. This makes cyber bullying difficult to combat.


    “A community-wide approach that includes the school, the parents and the children is necessary to prevent cyber bullying,” said Dr. Bozza. “We need to arm our teachers, parents and students with the tools to effectively confront cyber bullying.”



    What Administrators and Teachers Can Do About Cyber Bullying

    • Define cyber bullying among students, faculty and parents.
    • Assess cyber bullying in your school via a survey.
    • Develop clear rules and policies about cyber bullying. Train staff on cyber bullying and encourage reporting.
    • Teach students online “netiquette,” safe blogging, and how to monitor their online reputations.
    • Train and use student mentors to help continue to monitor cyber bullying.

     What Parents and Students Can Do About Cyber Bullying

    • Keep Internet and social media devices outside of the bedroom. This will help to create the bedroom as a safe zone, and limit the opportunity for cyber bullying.
    • Talk about cyber bullying as an unacceptable form of behavior.
    • Emphasize that parents will not remove technology if children confide about a problem they are having.
    • Monitor children’s online activities. This is not an invasion of privacy but the action of a responsible parent.
    • If your child is a victim, strongly encourage him or her not to respond to the cyber bullying. Report it to the school and the appropriate authorities. Do not approach the bully or the bully’s family. Do not erase pictures or messages. Keep them as evidence.


      About NJASA

      The New Jersey Association of School Administrators is an organization of chief education officers and school administrators who lead school districts in New Jersey’s 21 counties. The association’s mission is to ensure a superior statewide system of education. Through ongoing professional training and education, the association shares knowledge among its members about best practices from both educational and administrative perspectives. Its goal is to move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all New Jersey’s children.



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      1Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2008).  Cyberbullying: An exploratory analysis of factors related to offending and victimization.  Deviant Behavior, 29, 129-136.