Another Unintended Consequence of COVID-19: Cyberbullying Could Increase

FAU Expert Provides Cyberbullying and Social Isolation Tips for Educators and Parents During the Pandemic
Florida Atlantic University
26-Mar-2020 8:30 AM EDT, by Florida Atlantic University

Newswise — “When smartphones and social media became ubiquitous for students, cyberbullying rates went up. This makes sense, of course, because there was now an almost limitless number of potential targets and aggressors,” said Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice within FAU’s College for Design and Social Inquiry, and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “Well, during this unprecedented time when they’re all stuck at home, those same students will be using apps even more than they already do with them being forced to use online platforms for learning, regardless of their level of comfort or proficiency. Teachers are delivering education not just in learning management systems like Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle, but even on Roblox, Twitch, and YouTube, among others.”  

In the midst of major crises where everyone is already on edge, Hinduja says hostility toward others tends to escalate along with self-preserving and self-defensive behaviors. This may manifest even more so between students in their online interactions – their posts, comments, pictures and videos. Some of it will be mild, and some of it will be severe. Some of it will be what students are used to and will not bother them, but some of it will be brand new – and a jarring, wounding experience. This may be especially true for those who are not used to learning and interacting in online-only spaces (and may also disproportionately affect more vulnerable populations of youth).

Hinduja cautions that many cyberbullying targets will hesitate to get help from their parents. When it happens, they may suffer silently since there will not be any visual cues for educators to see or investigate because the student is not physically at school. In addition, with everyone now receiving instruction online, students cannot readily stop by the guidance counselor’s office, chat with a teacher after class, or let their coach know about what is troubling them and affecting their ability to play sports (since youth sports also are shut down). Those opportunities for meaningful, connective conversations and check-ins largely will not happen organically.

“It’s also very possible that xenophobic/racist cyberbullying may go up. Some continue to call COVID-19 a ‘foreign virus’ and parents have complained that their children are being accused as carriers just because they are Asian,” said Hinduja. “I’m Asian and have dealt with my share of bullying based on race/ethnicity, and so I am particularly sensitive to this issue and simply do not want to see it spiral out of control.”

Hinduja provides a number of suggestions for educators: 

  • In your online learning platforms and environments, set expectations and standards immediately and clearly for respectful behavior among your students;
  • Determine exactly what consequences you can implement for rule violations, and make sure they truly have a deterrent effect on your students;
  • Keep close tabs on all online interactions and encourage your students to send you screenshots or screen recordings of any rule violations they see to help you investigate and facilitate takedowns of problematic or abusive content;
  • Model and reinforce positive peer interactions in all venues where online interactions can take place;
  • Keep in touch with all of your students on a regular basis, and remind them that you are there for them if they need help, support or advice;
  • Most importantly, keep in touch with those few you know who need a deeper connection, encouraging words, and/or accountability.

“Students also are going to struggle with feelings of isolation because they are not able to go to school and connect and interact with their peers in person,” said Hinduja.

He also suggests that parents need to be creative to make sure that their children do not suffer from extremes of social isolation:

  • Be patient with your children if they start to get irritable and frustrated. They are trying to reconcile this new reality just like you are. Moreover, they are probably not going to be as good at hiding their emotions or redirecting them like adults often can;
  • Allow and support your children when it comes to Skyping and FaceTiming their friends, as well as livestreaming on their favorite apps (depending on their age, maturity, and your household rules, of course). Research has shown that socializing and connecting with their peers is essential for their continued healthy development and especially in the midst of chaos and uncertainty;
  • Encourage physical activity without doing so in a group setting. Physical activity is necessary at all ages to calm the mind and support cognitive growth.

“With intentionality, graciousness, and good will, we don’t have to just survive through this crisis. We can actually thrive, and our relationships with the youth we care for can be better off than they were before all of this even began,” asserts Hinduja.

Additional information and tips can be found at the Cyberbullying Research Center.

- FAU -

About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit fau.edu.



Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5849
Newswise:Video Embedded newswise-expert-panels-on-covid-19-pandemic-notable-excerpts-quotes-and-videos-available
VIDEO
Released: 18-Jun-2021 2:10 PM EDT
Newswise Expert Panels on COVID-19 Pandemic: Notable excerpts, quotes and videos available
Newswise

Newswise is hosting a series of Expert Panels discussion on unique aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This tip sheet includes some notable quotes from the panelists.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 23-Jun-2021 8:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 18-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 23-Jun-2021 8:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise:Video Embedded virtual-event-for-june-17-11am-edt-covid-19-vaccines-and-male-fertility
VIDEO
Released: 18-Jun-2021 8:55 AM EDT
VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Vaccines and Male Fertility Event for June 17, 2021
Newswise

This upcoming JAMA-published study examined whether the COVID-19 vaccine impacts male fertility.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 22-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 18-Jun-2021 8:30 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 22-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 18-Jun-2021 7:05 AM EDT
Teamwork saves lives: COVID-19 hospital network shares key findings to improve care
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Data sharing among 40 Michigan hospitals about the care and outcomes for thousands of inpatients with COVID-19 has led to reduced variation and findings that could inform care anywhere, including approaches for preventing blood clots and reducing overuse of antibiotics, as well as a risk prediction tool.

Released: 18-Jun-2021 7:05 AM EDT
One-third of older Americans delayed health care over COVID concerns
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Nearly one in three Americans between the ages of 50 and 80 put off an in-person appointment for medical care in 2020 because they were worried about exposure to the novel coronavirus, new national poll data show.

Released: 17-Jun-2021 4:15 PM EDT
UNC Researchers Lead Study of Diabetes Treatment of COVID-19 Patients
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Diabetes is one of the comorbidities most strongly associated with severe COVID-19 in the US, and data from early in the pandemic suggested individuals with type 2 diabetes faced twice the risk of death from COVID-19 and a greater risk of requiring hospitalization and intensive care. A new study shows best treatment options.

Released: 17-Jun-2021 4:10 PM EDT
Vaccination, Previous Infection, Protect Against COVID-19 gamma/P.1 Variant in Animal Model
University of Wisconsin-Madison

In a new study using variant virus recovered from one of the original travelers, researchers in the U.S. and Japan have found that vaccination with an mRNA vaccine induces antibody responses that would protect humans from infection with the gamma/P.1 variant.

Released: 17-Jun-2021 1:30 PM EDT
Hackensack Meridian Doctors, Student Help Establish Way to Prioritize Surgeries During COVID-19 lockdown
Hackensack Meridian Health

The MeNTS method of prioritizing surgeries during the height of pandemic, developed by University of Chicago, helped procedures continue during time of need

Released: 17-Jun-2021 12:55 PM EDT
‘Nanodecoy’ Therapy Binds and Neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 Virus
North Carolina State University

Nanodecoys made from human lung spheroid cells (LSCs) can bind to and neutralize SARS-CoV-2, promoting viral clearance and reducing lung injury in a macaque model of COVID-19.


Showing results

110 of 5849

close
2.3125