© 2023 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Day-long conference examined cyberbullying

bullying-conference.JPG
WBFO News photo
/
UB's Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse and Prevention Director Amanda Nickerson with a panelist

With National Bullying Prevention Month about ten days away, educators, law enforcement, mental health professionals and others took part in conference Wednesday on "Understanding and Addressing Cyberbullying."

WBFO and AM 970's Eileen Buckley moderated a panel discussion during the day-long event at the Millennium Hotel.

The conference put on UB's Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse and Prevention featured Sameer Hinduja,  co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. He says one-out-of-four teens has been bullied online and about one-out-of-five admit to bullying others.

"There really isn't a profile. We tend to think that traditional bullies might be bigger, stronger...but online absolutely  it could absolutely be anyone," said Hinduja.

Hinduja is an internationally recognized expert on the issue.  He says cyberbullying is a large problem because kids have embraced technology. And while suicide is often tied to bullying, he says it's actually very rare.  

"Mostly though, kids who have been victimized online tend to  struggle with emotional problems and psychological problems. They struggle academically. They engage in minor and moderate forms of school     delinquency and school violence," noted Hinduja.

To reduce the problem, schools are being encouraged to create a positive culture. Conference panelist Kimberly Cirillo, Assistant Principal at Orchard Park Middle School, says in 2009 the district adopted the Olweus Program which stresses kindness, empathy, and compassion. Cirillo says it's more of a way of life than a program.

"All students from elementary to high school participate in the program.  One of the key aspects being classroom meetings where we build a sense of community and belonging and mutual respect versus just,'no     bullying," said Cirillo.

Cirillo says another focus of Orchard Park's program is on those who witness bullying. She says the goal is to get bystanders to stand up and take ownership of their own culture.