Online Classrooms are equally prone to cyber-bullying as any other online network
Violence and bullying in school are among the most unfortunate crimes, yet they are ever-increasing, like any other crime. Acknowledging the same, UNESCO Member states collaborated to declare the first Thursday of November as the International Day against Violence and Bullying at School, also Including Cyberbullying. This day aims to address the concerns for school-related violence in all forms, physical, mental and sexual violence, finding it as an infringement of children and adolescents’ rights to education and to health and well-being.
Well, we are in a pandemic, where schools have not been operational since last 8-9 months. So, can we heave a sigh of relief thinking that bullying and violence, at least in the school premise must have come to a halt for a while? Well, we really want to say this but can’t because it has not come to a halt as the classrooms have shifted online and the rate of cyber-bullying is at pace.
John (name changed) of class 10 at a prestigious CBSE school has been attending online classes since May 26. One day, the class saw an uninvited guest. John’s mother told that someone entered the group call while classes were going on and started bullying the teacher. It was observed that the person was not from the school. Reports Deccan Herald.
As per National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019, one out of every five children are victim of cyberbullying in ways they are aware and unaware of. Where this was the data of 2019, now that the children have switched completely to online mode, there is no doubt, they are using the digital medium more than ever, and hence are more vulnerable and suceptable to cyber bullying.
Where this is what happened in an online classroom, excessive access to technology with no surveillance by parents and teachers may lead to them, exploring things that are not ideal for their age. Considering that on the online medium, a wrong click and their inquisitivity to know more may make them fall in trap of cyber bullying. Hence, it is not really a thing which is restricted to online classrooms only but can go beyond the time children.
Earlier, in April, UNICEF did warn the families about the heightened risk of harm to children, as their lives moved online during the lockdown. “Spending more time on virtual platforms can leave children vulnerable to online sexual exploitation and grooming, predators look to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic,” said UNICEF.
While there is no school or institution which is 100 per cent free of bullying, not many are aware of the fact that NCERT had released guidelines for safe online learning in the times of Covid-19 pandemic as dos and don’t –
– Creating a strong password and reporting and flag content that is abusive or illegal.
– Reporting online bullying immediately to teacher/ parents/ someone whom you trust.
– Communicating only with people they know,and using an alias username if they need to chat with someone unknown.
– Thinking and rethinking while posting photos and videos on social media sites and keeping browser, operating system and antivirus up-to-date.
– Saving your username and password on the browser.
– Bullying others online or logging in to someone else’s account to access the private texts/mails/messages or to mess with their profile.
– Metting people one has known online (if doing it, ensure that someone, parents or an adult is informed)
While safety online is a concern for all, children are a of target. Hence, their elders, parents and teachers hold the responsibility to teach them how to stay safe online and keep a survilence on what they do online.
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