Are students more likely to be victims of cyberbullying during the pandemic when they are spending hours and hours of their days online? Are they more likely to become victims of online predators?
We wish we had answers to those questions. We have conducted research online and we are sorry to say, we cannot find statistics that report whether online bulling and other harmful behaviors are increasing or decreasing just now.
We did, however, find an article that offers some helpful perspective on those questions. It is “Cyberbullying in the age of COVID-19 and social change: an expert’s perspective,” an article that Nimmi Kanji wrote for TelusWise online. For her article, Ms. Kanji interviewed Dr. Wendy Craig, Head of the Department of Psychology at Queen’s University in Canada.
Here is a summary of some of the trends that Dr. Craig has noticed in the ways that today’s high school-aged and younger students are behaving online in the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Kids Have Discovered Some Very Positive Things to Do Online
They aren’t just passively scrolling through social media sites. They are playing Zoom games with friends, having video dance sessions, and connecting in a number of other ways, many of them imaginative and positive.
Parents Are Generally Doing a Good Job of Setting Boundaries for Online Use
Perhaps because parents have been more hands-on and involved in their children’s classes, they are also paying closer attention to what their kids are doing online. A healthier level of supervision and boundary-setting seems to be happening.
Kids Have Become Better Consumers of Online News
Due to spending more time online, they have become more active and more critical users of news sources.
Cyberbullying Is Probably Happening, But It Is Difficult to Uncover
A certain number of kids could be falling victim to it. But if they are, it could be only one of a number of negative experiences, alongside loneliness, alienation, and other problems. Caring, involved, observant parents can make a difference in how well their children are navigating these difficult times.
A Variety of Positive Family Activities Might Have Grown During the Pandemic
Dr. Craig points out that some families are spending more time talking during meals, are taking walks together, and are spending more time together in other ways. That is worth thinking about. If you are a teacher, it’s reassuring to think that not all the effects of the pandemic have been negative. Your students might have accrued some benefits, despite the very damaging time we have all be through.
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