Legal: Reducing cyberbullying in schools
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 2, 15 March 2019, page no. 29
In recent years, the Union has been involved in two Australian Research Council funded projects related to cyberbullying.
The first, in 2008-2010, was entitled “Cyberbullying: an evidence-based approach to the application of reform of law, policy and practice in schools”, the second, in 2011-2014, was entitled “A legally informed intervention for schools to prevent and intervene in cases of cyberbullying”. The Union’s solicitors were also involved in both projects.
In 2018, “Reducing cyberbullying in schools – international evidence-based best practices” was published by Academic Press, an imprint of Elsevier. The senior editor is Professor Marilyn Campbell of Queensland University of Technology, who was also involved in the two projects referred to above. Professor Campbell is a registered teacher and a registered psychologist and her main clinical and research interests are the prevention of and intervention on anxiety disorders in young people and the effects of bullying, especially cyberbullying, in schools.
Her co-editor, Professor Sheri Bauman, is a professor and coordinator of the school counselling graduate program at the University of Arizona, who conducts research on bullying, cyberbullying, peer victimisation, and teacher responses to bullying. Both editors have substantial publications in areas relevant to bullying, and particularly cyberbullying.
A substantial number of scholars from a number of countries have contributed to the text, which reflects a diverse range of experience and research. The focus is on evidence-based solutions, but the contextual material is valuable as well.
After perusing “Contents”, we recommend reading next the 10-page summary at pages 273-282, which begins: “There is no disagreement that cyberbullying is a serious global problem, and that strategies to combat the problem are sorely needed. Without evidence-based interventions readily available, practitioners are left to their own devices to create programs, sometimes in collaboration with researchers. In this book, we have provided the most current information available on efforts to reduce cyberbullying in schools. The reader will notice that the strength of the evidence of effectiveness varies among the programs, but all at least show preliminary findings that hold promise. Readers will need to weigh the results of these evaluations with care and note whether the context for the interventions will make it possible to adapt the program for their own setting. For example, in some countries, students remain together as a class throughout the day, while in others, secondary students change classes (and classmates) multiple times each day. This means that programs based on a cohort will be difficult to apply where classes are not as cohesive.”
Part 1, “General Strategies”, contains five chapters addressing issues such as definitions, prevalence, and consequences, traditional school-based bullying, technological solutions for cyberbullying, cyberbullying and the law, and a chapter in relation to parental coping.
Part 2, “Programs”, deals with a wide range of issues, including attempts to create cyber-friendly schools, a school-based preventative intervention program and various other specific topics.
Part 3, “Reflections”, contains a substantial commentary on ways of preventing cyberbullying and evidence-based practice, and a 10-page summary by the editors.
The various chapters identified specifically above are probably those which will be of most direct relevance to school leaders and teachers generally, but some of the more narrowly focused chapters may well be of interest to people whose interests reflect those topics.
This is an important and significant publication. Its clear structure, indexing and numerous references will enable time-effective access to material on specific topics.
Special Counsel, Holding Redlich
Cybersafety help for teachers
The Department of Education’s Cybersafety and Reputation Management team has produced new and updated resources to help state school teachers protect their online reputation and inform students about cybersafety.
There are guidelines to manage cybersafety incidents, checklists to audit digital footprints, and classroom resources for students.
Email Cybersafety.ReputationManagement@qed.qld.gov.au for more information, or search ‘cybersafety’ on the department’s intranet.