One in five secondary school students have received nasty or threatening text messages or emails*. This new 'cyber bullying' trend is especially difficult to detect, as there are no obvious physical signs; we rely on victims speaking out to clamp down on the bullies.
The Royal Albert and Alexandra School in Reigate educates its students about the dangers of cyber bullying, and reinforces an Acceptable Use Policy by implementing Securus software. Securus monitors computers, looking for words and phrases, that indicate inappropriate behaviour, including cyber bullying. When these appear on a student's screen, Securus saves a screenshot to a central database and proactively alerts an administrator if something serious has occurred.
Jon Davies, the Assistant Head Teacher explains, "There have been occasions where pupils have sent word documents to another pupil that have been of a bullying nature. Securus has highlighted that, so we are able to deal with the bully very quickly. It doesn't necessarily mean that the victim has to come forward, because Securus can pick it up before then."
"We had the choice of either denying that there was anything going on, or bringing in Securus, and finding out what was really happening," adds Paul Spencer Ellis, Head Teacher. "Now I feel it's given us a safe place from which to develop our ICT in the school."
*From York St John University research: http://www2.yorksj.ac.uk/default.asp?Page_ID=4330