Written by Ali Raja’i
Translated by Sayyad Hassan Naqavi
Key words: Students, virtual bullying, cyberspace, classroom, behavior, severe effects, victims, positive classroom culture
These days, we are all – more or less – witnessing virtual immoralities that are committed with the intention of laughter (or rather, ridicule) regardless of the many harms that the target individual or community suffers from. From audio or video recordings of teachers sitting far away from their students to continue teaching with love and affection, to clips of students playing their homework to share those seemingly hilarious moments with the world. Where these behaviors are perpetrated by families and parents and in relation to their children is not the subject of this article, but has been discussed in detail in another article entitled “Child Privacy and Cyberspace.”
But the purpose of this article is virtual bullying! What was, until yesterday, during the face-to-face training, the harassment, ridicule, and coercion of some students by their peers, perhaps the most tangible of which is the coercion of other children’s diets, can be noticeable in cyberspace today. An issue that seems to be gripping teachers these days, in addition to bullying their intentions towards other students with the intention of direct ridicule and harassment. What is Virtual Bullying?
Cyberbullying is the use of cyberspace and digital media (such as mass or even individual messaging programs) to threaten, ridicule, harass, and harm others. For example, according to studies, today, with the expansion of students’ presence in cyberspace, stickers, gifs and pictures are made to ridicule other people online in the classroom, or clips of others are shared without their permission and will.
Due to the ignorance of the perpetrator most of the time, and the ease and extent of his action, this has different and in most cases, more severe effects than face-to-face threats. Common effects include psychological trauma, stress, and widespread anxiety in the classroom, which reduce student activity to zero for fear of being ridiculed – at best, or discourage teachers. The more severe effects of these behaviors, including the possibility of threatening and inciting the victim to other crimes, and its long-term effects on the promotion of immorality in society are also evident.
But the question is, what are the ways to reduce these behaviors and their adverse effects?
This, like other anomalies, requires preventive and protective oversight and regulation. However, since formal punishment is not desirable for children and adolescents, regulations should be enacted at the level of schools and the education system to prevent the commission of such acts and to respond decisively to their occurrence. Preventing such behaviors is clearly prior to punishment.
At the school level and educational structure, efforts should first be made to raise awareness and provide useful supervision to students, and to establish effective regulations. Students should also be aware that any material leaked out of the classroom by them, and any breach of the rules by them, will be treated appropriately. Victims should also be aware that in the event of any incident, they will be able to pursue the issue without fear or anxiety, and will even be encouraged and placed under the umbrella of everyone’s support.
Providing consulting space by expert consultants is also required in these cases. Not only does the victim need counseling to recover, but the person committing immorality also needs counseling so that they can stop misbehaving. Of course, dealing with the perpetrator firmly and without compromise – which is necessary – does not contradict the effort to return him to a normal life cycle and correct behaviors.
Culturalization is also one of the necessary elements to prevent the occurrence of such immoralities. This is very important in the classroom. Teachers should constantly talk about the need to create an intimate and supportive atmosphere in the classroom, denounce such abnormal behaviors, and talk to their students about its negative effects. For example, ask them to put themselves in the shoes of the victims in order to understand the ugliness of the incident more accurately.
Virtual bullying, and the need to denounce it, should be the subject of classroom research and discourse. Promoting a positive classroom culture is one of the most essential requirements. It is important to target students who are indirectly involved in these behaviors but who share in the fire with encouragement or even silence. They should know that when such behaviors occur, encouraging and assisting the perpetrator, or even silence and disregard, is the ugliness of committing it, and in these cases, they should best support, empathize with, and empathize with the victim. He should make sure that they agree with him in considering the work done as ugly, and that they take the necessary follow-up and intervention to complete and deal with the said action.
The family also has a key role to play in advancing these issues and resolving them. For example, important issues are participation with the school and the need for continuous parental involvement in culture building and prevention. Parents should assist teachers and the school in this process, both through parent-teacher meetings and by receiving messages and related material for study and awareness raising. Constant communication between the school and the parents seems necessary in this regard. They need to teach their children the right way to use cyberspace in the right ways and monitor their behavior.
Also tell about the wrongdoing of acts such as virtual bullying, and its effects on other people who are in the guise of a teacher or student, because if these behaviors are not condemned and controlled, it may one day affect the child or his family. Creating discourse on this topic, like other topics, is very important in the family environment. Here are some suggestions on how to look or get an appointment for antique items. Related to this theme, there are also useful books and stories that families can use to nurture their children’s culture.
Finally, the problem of cyberbullying can only be solved with the participation of families and parents, teachers, schools and policy makers and educational overseers. As stated, this issue requires continuous culture building, monitoring and preventive measures, appropriate approaches and rehabilitation of all those involved. When we observe such behavior, we should all intervene to end it and treat it, and never leave it to our children.