Reindeer Games: How Educators Can Explain How to Reduce Online Bullying

Book cover that reads "Stop bullying"
(Image credit: Dee @Copper and Wild/Unsplash)

While December brings happiness and joy to many, is the holiday The season may not seem so festive for students facing bullying at school and online. Even one of the holiday’s most popular TV classics, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” includes a bullying storyline because Rudolph is different from his own kind.

Michael Gaskell
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Although Rudolph’s story has a happy ending, most bullying experiences aren’t resolved in the hour-long span of a television show. They persist as students fighte with the daily challenges associated with growing up in their social hierarchy.

Bullying has existed since people had social hierarchies. All children should learn ways to address bullying, especially in its more antagonistic contexts such as the echo chamber platforms of social media. It’s also important considering that educators see an increase in bullying as students return to school after pandemic lockdowns.

But there is good news.

Educators can help students make better decisions

For every problem that social media creates, there is it solutions. By understanding and teaching helpful strategies to students and educators, we can address traumatic experiences children face in refreshingly purposeful ways that help them be more grounded and successful.

Schools can use their role as learning facilitators to help students manage their online presence and deal with the inevitable challenges that social media issues bring to their everyday school life.

Let’s look at the challenges and, more importantly, some solutions you can teach kids to use and apply right away when they experience online bullying.

The online disinhibition effect

A phenomenon that scientists refer to as that disinhibition effect is the perception that one believes one is hidden in anonymity and can act freely. This causes the abuser to act in a way that he personally would not do, believing that the cost to him would be minimal. This perpetuates risky behaviors online.”flaming.” The consequences can be traumatic for the victim, and the perpetrator assumes he can turn this behavior on or off as quickly as a light switch.

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You are wrong.

The online disinhibition effect causes a lot of divisive and harmful behaviors on social media. When individuals feel they can act freely online, they endanger others and themselves by changing their behavior for the worse when they enter a dangerous zone of misconduct online.

teach children awareness

Show students that they are not incognito and that misconduct hurts them. This helps create awareness and prevent an overly cavalier attitude that can later lead to punishment with more serious consequences.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by sharing as many with high school students universities and employers Check social media, even old or forgotten accounts. Nearly 70% of admissions officers say that looking at a potential student’s social media helps distinguish between accepting and rejecting students. Ask them how they would feel if they worked hard and got good grades only to get rejected for some bad moments documented online? Instead, students can learn to use social media to help instead of harm.

For younger students, take the time to show them the harmful effects of bullying and hopefully redirect their impressionable minds. Explain what bullying can do poor school performance and poor attendance. It can also get them suspended or prevent them from making friends. Sharing this with students can help prevent bullying or help students learn from their mistakes before it is too late.

The Benign Disinhibition Effect

The benign disinhibition effect is an intriguing way to use social media to initiate positive social media experiences. This includes positive, supportive, and monitored groups that help each other anonymously. They provide a safe and confidential haven to seek support. Research has shown that Fostering such networks leads to self-disclosure and prosocial behaviorbecause individuals respond positively to this zone of anonymity and online support.

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These groups are searchable online. Access to one provides a healthier way for vulnerable children to get involved. The benefits mirror many of the positive findings from anonymous, personal support groups.

The benign disinhibition effect is a contrasting antidote to the disinhibition effect that works in favor of a child. It creates willingness in those in need to seek help and open up to others. When pragmatic support is available onlineStudents are often better able to express themselves, making them feel heard and supported without judgement.

Comparison is the thief of joy

Many well-known personalities, such as singer Kesha, address comparison traps revealing the real version of themselves online. They fill the fantasy gap of a perfect persona that students feel they will never achieve. Famous male role models can help, like actor Ryan Reynolds, can also support young men and teenagers. It’s wonderful to see famous people share their vulnerabilities to allow others to be comfortable with their own imperfections.

Singers Lizzo and Beyonce each used unintentional ableistic slurs in their latest new songs, and many fans took to social media to protest. Lizzo – who is spreading a message of inclusivity – apologized spoke online about her feelings and changed the text. Beyoncé also agreed to change their texts.

Sharing examples like these, as well as popular icons in your students’ age group, is a powerful tool to reinforce a positive online experience that makes them feel better.

When you share these and other strategies with educators and students in your school, people at risk can step up and be the best versions of themselves. It can help bad actors realize that they need to refrain from offensive behavior. With these tools, pragmatic change is taking place in school communities that will benefit all children. Everyone can learn from the benefits of improving their online social media presence and eliminating online bullying. After all, reindeer games are a lot more fun when everyone is playing as equals and working together as a team.

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Michael Gaskell, ed., is the author of a new book, radical principals, and a veteran New Jersey principal currently working at Hammarskjold Upper Elementary School in East Brunswick.

Opinions expressed by SmartBrief contributors are their own.


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