Combating Cyberbulling Apps

As someone that works with teens, there is a group of apps you should be aware of that could make a negative impact on your classroom environment (or your homelife if you have preteens and teens).  These apps allow students to post pictures and/or make comments - often anonymously.  The newest of these apps to gain notoriety is called Burnbook - you can read a bit about it here:

This app joins a host of other apps (YikYak, Whisper, AfterSchool,, to name a few) in the same category - they easily promote the escalation of cyberbullying among students. 

So, what are ways you can combat this?

1. By Educating - as technology becomes more seamlessly integrated with our lives, and especially with learning, we cannot rely on AUPs or Terms of Use to guide students' behavior.  We need to provide modeling and conversations.  There are great resources out there (CommonSense Media is one such provider), or it could just be about showing and talking about positive ways to use technology each time the opportunity presents itself.

2. By Being Proactive - establishing norms before there is an issue is much easier than implementing them after habits are formed. 

3. By Encouraging Positivity - taking a bit of time to start a positive campaign can have far-reaching impact on students.  Celebrations are important, and allow students to build as a community.  These campaigns don't have to be in the apps (like some parents in Pennsylvania used) - they can be verbal, written, typed...there are a variety of approaches to this.  Just focusing on the positives is the key.

While I am sure there will be another app making the headlines in the next 6 months, we do have the ability to combat it in ways that can eliminate the desire for such an app.  

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