Technology As A Tool To Stop Cyber Bullying In Schools

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Cyber bullying is such a hard concept to talk about, everyone has different opinions on the definition, or how to handle it. This paper discusses how technology can make a difference in helping stop cyber bullying, and if these situations are ethical. The paper will discuss what cyberbullying is, and how technology can be beneficial to helping put a stop to cyberbullying. This paper will mention definition, and how technology software’s can prevent cyberbullying in schools.

According to, “Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can review, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation”.

Now that cyberbullying is defined, a place where it happens often is in schools. Technology can be very helpful in trying to prevent cyberbullying. Schools have certain rules that are put in place to help stop cyberbullying, and to even try and keep it from starting in the first place. Schools have rules enabled on what a student can go on during school hours and while using school computers/network. They have certain software downloaded that monitors what a student goes on and what they research. One of the big software’s that helps a student that is being cyberbullied is NetSupport DNA, created by NetSupport company. According to the article “How Technology Can Help Stop Cyberbullying” Matthew lynch explains what NetSupport is and how it can help. Lynch says “NetSupport DNA, helps technicians to track, monitor, and manage IT assets across individual schools and entire districts.” Lynch also explains how this software helps by saying “School IT administrators can use NetSupport DNA to schedule real-time monitoring and search for exact phrases and keywords in several languages to keep an eye on suspicious activity. Keywords are presented in a word cloud format, along with other intuitions, so school officials can be alerted to recurring themes across groups of students. If keywords or phrases suggest bullying or harassing activity that may place the student in danger, they would be presented in the word cloud. In addition to being presented in the word cloud, the term is also placed into the original context in which it was used.” This is one of the many software’s that can help administration keep an eye on students, to make sure everyone is fair and to keep an eye on situations happening in their school. In most schools there are a lot of student to keep track of, which makes it almost near impossible to keep track of everyone’s actions online. However, the netsupport DNA helps define searches by using keywords that would break it down too little parts. It would show what student is posting about what, and what student is making hateful comments.

Even though Netsupport DNA is an amazing program for school to prevent cyber bullying, there is a couple of problems with it. Netsupport DNA, helps administrators see what student is making what comment, also what they are searching up. However, in this case, even knowing this, a principal cannot do anything on the first try. This program works well, but it would take many tries of the same offense for the school to do anything about the cyber bullying, which could be too late in certain scenarios. An example of this would be if a bully, lies about the search. Says he did not really mean it, or simply says it was an accident and it will not happen again. As much as a principal could want to help, they still can not do anything on the first offense. In this case the schools do have to keep an eye on the student to see if anything else happen, but most schools do not have this opportunity. Most high schools in Philadelphia are understaffed which means some teachers do more then one job, sometimes it gets a little difficult to manage everything. One of the solutions that could work more is for schools to see what student is doing what, and even if it a first offense they can separate the bully from the victim. Also, in middle schools and high schoolers, after the first offense parents can be notified or what is happening.

Monitoring software’s could be very useful in preventing cyber bullying. Schools could get such software’s installed to make sure every student is on track with what they should be doing, instead of causing someone else trouble. According to the article “How Our District Uses Tech to Fight Cyberbullying” Cody Walker writes “Another way schools can get in front of the issue is by using monitoring software to keep an eye on what students are doing while on the school network. This is where I come in. As the technology director for the West Rusk County (TX) Consolidated Independent School District, I have been a staunch proponent of using technology to support student safety. This includes using monitoring software.” In this situation Cody talks about scenarios that he uses for his school districts. He talks about how monitoring software’s have helped his school district prevent cyber bullying. Cody also mentions why monitoring software’s has been so helpful, by saying “Monitoring software acts as a safety net. It gives administrators another set of eyes to watch what students are doing online. We use Impero Education Pro because it includes monitoring software as well as classroom/IT management software. The company works with advocacy organizations to develop lists of keywords and phrases that could indicate cyberbullying (and other concerns such as self-harm, violence, or radicalization). It sends me and my staff an alert when it detects students typing those words or phrases or accessing certain sites that are often used for online bullying.” In this case this would be helpful for the fact that the school could always be on top of everything, by the alerts they are receiving. So, by being alert on what is happening, they could get to the bottom of the situation and help the student being bullied before it gets too far.

There is a law set in place called CIPA. CIPA law is The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) which was enacted by the United States Congress in 2000 to restrict children’s access to obscene and harmful online content. CIPA offers schools e-rate deduction if they follow the procedures of CIPA. The procedures schools have to follow to qualify according to e-rate program is “a program that makes certain communications services and products more affordable for eligible schools and libraries. In early 2001, the FCC issued rules implementing CIPA and provided updates to those rules in 2011”. also mentions the procedures that schools must follow which are” Schools and libraries subject to CIPA may not receive the discounts offered by the E-rate program unless they certify that they have an Internet safety policy that includes technology protection measures. The protection measures must block or filter Internet access to pictures that are: (a) obscene; (b) child pornography; or (c) harmful to minors (for computers that are accessed by minors). Before adopting this Internet safety policy, schools and libraries must provide reasonable notice and hold at least one public hearing or meeting to address the proposal.” Also with the e-rate program, after getting qualified schools still have two more certifications according to “Schools subject to CIPA have two additional certification requirements: 1) their Internet safety policies must include monitoring the online activities of minors; and 2) as required by the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, they must provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.” CIPA is very useful in this case because, it makes sure that administrators are on top of making sure their school is a safe environment. CIPA makes sure that even after all the steps to getting qualified are met, that they keep tabs on the school to make sure they keep following the program. It is a very useful law in place that helps make sure schools take the extra mile in making sure their students feel safe.

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Another program that relates to CIPA is the barracuda program. According to, “The Barracuda Web Security Gateway provides specialized capabilities that are ideal for helping schools achieve and demonstrate CIPA compliance. It makes it easy for you to establish granular web access policies for individual users or groups—for instance, to define and enforce different policies for younger students, older students, teachers, and administrative staff.” In situations like this, programs like barracuda reinforce the policies that are in place.

In schools, there are certain restrictions that keep students from using certain websites. For example, students are not allowed to go on twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. this is to keep students on task and to use the school network only for educational purposes. However, the biggest problem on this is students know how to get through that restriction. A better solution would be having AI tools installed in the system. Having restrictions on websites like social media is ok, but sometimes YouTube videos can be for educational purposes. AI tools would help the school find out what is going on, even if a student learns how to unblock a website. According to an article “Can Technology in Education help Stamp Out Bullying” says “The manual task of trawling through social sites, flagging harassment and online trolling is incredibly time consuming, and leaves wide gaps for error. Machine learning tools, however, recognize patterns in data and language. They learn and optimize its information to identify the subtle difference between bullying behavior and harmless communication.” This would be extremely more helpful, since it would take a lot less time for the machine to recognize patterns, then doing it manually. According to another article “Can this Technology Put an End to Bullying” Sarah Griffiths says, “It is nearly impossible for human moderators to go through all posts manually to determine if there is a problem,” says Gilles Jacobs, a language researcher at Ghent University in Belgium. “AI is key to automating detection and moderation of bullying and trolling.” In the article it mentions how Gilles Jacobs and his team trained a machine to pick up on certain words and actions. In the article the full thing says “His team trained a machine learning algorithm to spot words and phrases associated with bullying on social media site AskFM, which allows users to ask and answer questions. It managed to detect and block almost two-thirds of insults within almost 114,000 posts in English and was more accurate than a simple keyword search. Still, it did struggle with sarcastic remarks.” This is something that could help schools a lot if a student decides to send an email with school emails, or using the school network, and or unblocking the social media restriction to write hateful comments.

The biggest problem with using AI tools is as the article mentioned is that they cannot pick up on sarcastic remarks. In this case it would pick up on anything that sounds hateful but, could be two friends messing with each other. According to the article “Can this Technology Put an End to Bullying” Sarah Griffiths writes “Abusive speech is notoriously difficult to detect because people use offensive language for all sorts of reasons, and some of the nastiest comments do not use offensive words. Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, are training algorithms to detect hate speech by teaching them how specific communities on Reddit target women, black people and those who are overweight by using specific words.” In this way the machine can be taught to look for all the words, but then programmed to look at the words in the context they are being used. This would make it a lot more accurate on what the machine picks up, and what is being reported.

An interesting article in huff post called ‘Can Technology curb cyberbullying” talks about some of the apps that can help make a difference in stopping cyberbullying. The four apps that they talked about was Amanda, rethink, sit with us, and block together. the Amanda app was an antibullying app developed by a team of Greek designers in honor of Amanda Todd, took first place in the World Citizenship category of Microsoft’s prestigious Imagine Cup competition. Amanda is designed to capture those with bullying “tendencies” and intervene. The rethink app was a software program created by teen entrepreneur Trisha Prabhu and featured on Shark Tank, flags harassing messages and attempts to get a teen to “rethink” it before posting it on social media. Sit with us was an app invented by sixteen-year-old high school junior Natalie Hampton, from Sherman Oaks, California, takes a modest but inspired approach: it helps high school students easily find a welcome table to join in the otherwise intimidating hierarchy of the high school cafeteria. Also, the last one block together was an app that allows Twitter users under attack to share lists of blocked users with one another, or to automatically block suspicious accounts, such as those that are newly created or have very few followers. These apps are a perfect example of explaining that if technology can be used the right way, a big difference can be made to end cyberbullying. People always say that even a small difference is a big difference, but they seem to forget that when it comes to cyberbullying. These apps are a perfect example to show that they are trying to make a difference. These are also very ethical ways. They don’t interfere in privacy unless they must, and it is necessary. They don’t involve everyone in it just people who want to help, or simply a way to try and prevent cyber bullying. Sometimes apps that let the students know is that they can get help anytime. It lets the students know that there are people out there who have been in these situations and they want to help.

Researchers of AI helping prevent cyberbullying have been done and results have come out. According to the article “How AI can help fight cyberbullying” by Dean Chester, he wrote on many studies that have been done to find out if AI can really help with preventing cyberbullying. At first, he mentions the research of training algorithms that can detect hate and abusive speech online to block the user from seeing it and, therefore, getting cyberbullied. Dean Chester mentions some of the advantages in which he says “ In the paper Automatic detection of bullying in social media texts, a group of researchers describes such an algorithm. In its experimental state, it did considerably well recognize abusive behavior online in English and Dutch. The scientists behind this project call the fact that their system can detect signals of bullying their main achievement.” Also, an amazing thing about this AI is that it helps report who the victim, the bully, and the bystanders are in each situation. Dean Chester also mentions in his article that “IBM Watson artificial intelligence is used by Identity Guard and Megan Meier Foundation to monitor children’s social media activity for signs of bullying or suicidal thoughts. If it sees any, it then reports such instances to the parents along with helpful resources aimed at dealing with the situation.

Technology is the one reason Cyber Bullying exists. Technology makes it easy to access social media, or even for the fact that we have social media. It makes it easy to have easy access to someone and the harassment starts. The name calling, the stalking, etc. is what some people use technology for. Another way technology is made easy is for the fact that even if the bully does not have their own technology, places like school provide it for them.

Now this goes without saying that this is not the school’s intentions, and that they use technology for educational purpose but, it made so easy to cyber bully someone that they can do it with any technology. Technology has either received a horrible title from these acts, or simply people defending technology saying that it is just a tool, and parents should be held more responsible. Technology in my opinion yes has made it easy for cyber bullying to start, but it can also be used to prevent it if used correctly. People need to learn that actions have consequences, especially online. Also, technology must be taught on how to be used, but also needs to have more security. Cyber bullying has become big, especially in the coming years, so companies who want to help have started building software’s for this occasion. Laws have been passed for technology and how to use it properly even in schools, and schools have set programs and rules in place on how to use the computers in their schools. Having rules in place like how to use school network is important but, the bad thing is there is no security. Most schools have a way to make sure they are monitoring what a student is doing online when they are in class, but not outside of class. So, the biggest concern is what happens when a teacher is not seeing the cyber bullying because, they are not monitoring at the time. I mentioned the CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) is a great way for schools to be on top of the safety of their school. It allows then to get into discounted acts, if the they make sure that they know how to use technology. However, the CIPA act does all it can, but there is nothing there that can find if one student is cyber bullying another. CIPA is a great law when it comes to enforcing the law of how to use school network and for students to be educated on how they should and should not do online. Finally, there’s software’s, the greatest things about these software’s are that they are taught to capture anything done online. For example, anything a teacher can look up, will show them what the students searched up, and who the student was. The monitoring software is very helpful because, it is a lot faster then doing it manually. The biggest problem with this is, sometimes it is not accurate, and will pick up on even sarcastic remarks, or even if someone searches something up about cyber bullying. Monitoring software’s get passed this by a person in charge monitoring and breaking apart what is serious and what is not.

Technology needs to be monitored no matter what, and by using this software that is what is happening. By using these software’s created then there will be a big change in cyber bullying in schools. However, these software’s aren’t even only just for school, they can be used by social media administers. They can use these software’s to make sure anything inappropriate can be stopped immediately when it happens. In other words, to end this paper, monitoring software’s and rules about how to use technology can be a big help in ending Cyber Bullying little by little, if everyone pitches in and tries to make these programs better. This process certainly is not fast, but one day a big difference will be made. To conclude Technology can be a big help in ending Cyber Bullying.

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