Inclusive Leaders Stand Up For Cyber-Safety

submitted by Linda Hill

On February 27 Pink Shirt Day in 2019,  Inclusive Leader Valerie Townsend and I facilitated a Win-Win Quiz Show in the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island BC about preventing and stopping cyberbullying. Congratulations to all the teams from Clements Centre who shared so many great answers. These tips that we researched and discussed about how to stand up for Cyber-Safety will be helpful to Inclusive Leaders everywhere.

Clements Centre is a bully-free zone every day of the year

  1. The Golden Rule for getting along with others on the internet is: If you wouldn’t be that way with a person face to face, then don’t do it online.
  2. A rule you can follow that will make your computer and your phone a bully free zone is:“I use my computer and my phone to be with people in ways that feel safe for me and everyone.”
  3. Many schools and community centres teach kids AND adults how to use our W.I.T.S. (W = WALK AWAY. I =IGNORE IT. T = TALK IT OUT. S = SEEK HELP. Some ways you can use your W.I.T.S. if you are being bullied on your computer or on your cell phone are:
    • Walk away: Put your phone away. Turn your computer off.
    • Ignore it: Do not try to get revenge by typing mean things back to a person who has hurt your feelings. 
    • Talk it out: If it is safe, you could try to solve the misunderstanding with a kind and compassionate conversation.
    • Seek Help: Say No, Go ask someone for help, Tell them what is going on.

People can get pulled in cyber-bullying in four ways:

  1. Someone could be a victim of cyberbullying,
  2. Someone can be a cyberbully online (or or on their phone)
  3. Someone could be provoking and encouraging cyberbullying.
  4. Or they could be doing all 3 things.

Some signs that someone has been pulled away from cyber-safety into cyber-bullying are:

  • Telling people about bullying or being bullied or about others bullying or being bullied.
  • Noticeable increases or decreases in cell phone and computer use – including texting.
  • Emotional responses (laughter, anger, upset) to what is happening on the person’s device.
  • Hiding screens or device when others are near, and avoiding discussion about what they are doing on their device.
  • The person starts to avoid social situations, even those that were enjoyed in the past.
  • The person becomes withdrawn or depressed, or loses interest in people and activities.

Some ways to help a person who has become pulled into cyber-bullying are:

  • Assess the situation to check out what is happening. Notice, watch, talk, ask questions, document with screen shots etc and save the evidence.
  • Breathe and be calm.
  • Listen, listen, listen to everyone to get the full story.
  • Support the person being bullied to be safe.
  • Support the people doing the bullying to stop.
  • Support the people provoking and encouraging cyber-bullying to learn skills for becoming allys.
  • Address the behaviour in helpful ways
  • Report the behaviour to the social media platforms, the person’s supporters in their daily life, police, counsellors.
  • Stand up for safe cyberspace: Be an ally. Be an advocate. Communicate, Speak out, Form circles of support.