How digital monitoring can help tackle cyberbullying in schools and colleges
With technology now deeply entrenched in our lives, many children and young people spend a lot more time using the internet at school, at home, or on the go. This makes it very difficult for young people that are victims of cyberbullying to distance themselves or have a break.
Many young people struggle in silence and hide the fact that they are being bullied online because often they feel embarrassed or scared and they don’t know how to stop it. With everyone being connected 24/7 it can be very overwhelming and the digital world can become a frightening place.
Research from Ditch the Label revealed that up to 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before the age of 18 and 37% of young people have experienced cyberbullying on a highly frequent basis. There are many different ways young people can be cyberbullied and it can have a variety of negative impacts on their lives, including developing anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts.
This paints a very concerning picture and highlights how important it is for schools and colleges to be able to identify if any of their students are experiencing cyberbullying.
How can digital monitoring help school and college leaders tackle cyberbullying?
Digital monitoring solutions offer an extra pair of eyes and ears in the school’s digital environment and alert Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) and teachers to any safeguarding risks identified, including cyberbullying.
Digital monitoring is a managed service that combines technology and human expertise to help identify children and young people that are at risk by looking at their online activities, search behaviour, or use of apps. The human moderators separate genuine risk from false positives enabling DSLs to react quickly and concentrate on the children and young people that need their support. Digital monitoring makes the usually invisible safeguarding risks, visible, allowing schools and colleges to ensure their pupils are supported and protected even in the ever-changing digital environment.
In addition, it is important to remember that young people are more likely to confide in their friends and peers when they’re having issues instead of seeking advice from teachers or other adults in their lives, which is why digital monitoring is so important. These conversations between students often happen in online chat rooms, social platforms, or forums as they offer the privacy that young people need to share things that they may be worried to speak about out loud. Some children also write about their thoughts and feelings in online blogs or documents that can be quickly deleted.
Digital monitoring solutions empower schools and colleges to know what is happening in their digital environments at all times, and can easily help DSLs identify students that are being cyberbullied, show an indication of being a victim of cyberbullying or need support dealing with it.
It is crucial to remember that cyberbullying is not the only digital safeguarding risk that digital monitoring will identify. There is a vast list of risk types and indicators that will be flagged to DSLs, including (but not limited to) mental health issues, substance abuse, self-harm, grooming, radicalisation, and sexual harassment.
Digital monitoring technology can also help the school and college leaders understand what kind of risks and issues their student community as a whole is dealing with, including if they have a cyberbullying culture in their school. Monitoring the digital environment can enable DSLs to identify and understand behavioural trends, which helps to see whether specific groups of students are at risk or if there are risks that should be addressed by a school/college as a whole.
Identifying and understanding early risk indicators enables DSLs to be aware of the type of risks that threaten their pupils’ safety and well-being. This empowers the school and college leaders to get ahead of possible issues and work with teachers as well as their students to create a positive and supportive learning environment.
Many schools and colleges are shocked by what digital monitoring reveals. To clearly understand what digital monitoring can do for you, you should see it in action in your school/college environment.
Download our latest report ‘The Complete Guide to Active and Proactive Monitoring’ below to learn more.
Or why not book a no-obligation demonstration of Smoothwall Monitor with one of our monitoring experts to learn how digital monitoring can help support you and your organisation. Click below to select a date and time of your choosing. Feel free to invite any colleagues along too.