Cyberbullying in universities: speaking out
Loughborough University has recently announced it is considering monitoring student emails, to see if students are considering dropping out or monitoring attendance records. Whilst my university emails generally consist of emails to administrative staff or my personal tutors, I did start to consider the pros and cons of the internet. Was it worth universities monitoring our emails? Or was that an invasion of my student privacy?
Only last week did UCAS reported they were targeted by hackers on Results Day, but luckily due to a change in technology, UCAS’s system managed to resist the attempt. There has also been a surge in the number of news stories related to trolling, hackers, threats and blackmailing. So, in a world dominated by technological developments, gadgets and various social media platforms, students, whilst deeply rooted in the technological bubble are also apparently struggling.
But how do you stay safe and enjoy the internet? Organisations such as The CyberSmile Foundation is dedicated to ensuring internet users stay safe whilst surfing the net. Cyberbullying is becoming a growing concern, with young children to adults in the workplace experiencing abuse online. Age does not matter. Anyone can be a victim. But, according to The Foundation there are a number of existing laws which can be applied to cases of cyberbullying – have a read here for further information http://www.cybersmile.org/advice-help/category/cyberbullying-and-the-law
If you are experiencing any form of cyberbullying, The CyberSmile Foundation is an excellent source of help, with contact numbers, tips and supportive advice for victims. However, if you want to talk to someone whilst at university, you might find it useful to head over to your student union or speak to your personal tutor. In May this year, the NUS Welfare Campaign produced a brief on cyberbullying for universities, providing an extensive list of resources and websites that students’ unions can use to support students who are being cyberbullied. A quick search showed that universities such as Sheffield had a concise page that explored how the university could help students who were being tareted.
No one deserves to endure cyberbullying. So if you feel you are having any problems, speak up and speak out! Ask your housemate or close friend to go with you for support if you feel uneasy speaking to to a member of your student union or your personal tutor alone. Although it is a natural response, the worst possible thing is to suffer alone. Your university should be able to provide support and advice to help you overcome cyberbullying.