5 Mistakes Educators Make in Dealing with Cyber Incidents
Cyber bullying is the number 1 fear that American parents have for their children between 12 – 17. Cyber threats are here to stay, thanks to a myriad of new digital tools that youth and teens adopt to play, socialize and interact with one another.
With each and every new gadget, application and technology, there is a kid who may choose to misuse it for personal reasons. Kids are kids. As more youth and teens use these new devices, educators are obliged to understand the risk that come along.
Here are some common mistakes that educators can avoid in the process of preventing or responding to cyber incidents.
Some academic institutions do not have updated Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs). As a result, the old policies do not reflect current risks and threats that can disrupt the smooth functioning of a school. In order to stay abreast with emerging threats, educators must update school policies regularly to capture new threats that can undermine a school ‘s role in a community.
Lack of legal think-through
Some school authorities have taken actions like suspending or expelling students based on threats that were not grounded in strong legal basis. In some of these cases, some families have sued the school districts (authorities). Such distractions and disruptions can be avoided, provided the authorities seek legal counsel prior to making drastic decisions.
Destruction of evidence
Recently, an after-school program manager encouraged a student to delete a social networking profile to avoid her friends from bullying. Unfortunately, that administrator did not keep any evidence of the incident such as screen shots or the nasty Facebook posts. No matter how trivial an incident may be, it is wise to keep copies for investigators or future use, if the need arises.
Focusing mainly on technical elements
Most schools invest large sums of money in implementing programs like filtering, firewalls and blocking inappropriate websites. These measures fall short of addressing the social frictions that lies at the bottom of cyber bullying, harassment etc. The best approach is to initiate a social campaign that complements the technical aspects.
Failing to turn incidents into teachable moments
Behind every incident, there is a big teachable lesson that the entire school can learn from. Unfortunately, some schools have not converted the huge moral and academic lessons from cyber incidents into teachable lessons that build highly resilient and socially cohesive schools.