The International Bullying Prevention Association’s Conference in Seattle once again provided excellent sessions and resources to address bullying in schools and online. This year’s conference had a special focus on cyber bullying with a day-long panel series on the issue as part of the pre-conference. Nancy Willard of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use did an excellent job organizing the series of panels that were moderated by Larry Magid and Anne Collier, both of ConnectSafely.
Cyber bullying needs to be addressed from multiple perspectives and the panels helped bring researchers, school-based practitioners, youth involvement organizers, and law enforcement together to share their best ideas and strategies for addressing this complicated and multi-faceted issue. As the conference proceeded we learned more about the overlap between traditional and cyber bullying.
Dan Olweus reported that approximately 85 percent of the students who reported being cyber bullied on his surveys report being traditionally bullied as well. While there are some unique features to cyber bullying, it increasingly appears that cyber bullying is directly related to the school-based peer group. Thus taking a “whole school” approach to addressing cyber bullying makes a great deal of sense, recognizing that conversations in the classroom and at home need to adapt to reflect the fact that youth increasingly socialize online. It also means that youth have to be a driving force in our prevention efforts since much of this socializing occurs without adult supervision.