Cyberbullying is defined as using technology to hurt someone else. Nearly one-one third of all adolescents report being a victim of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying leads to a number of academic, somatic, psychological, and social problems for its victims;those adolescents who engage in cyberbullying also suffer. Given the strong and negative impact that cyberbullying can have on our youth, increased prevention and intervention efforts are essential. Research has suggested that a coordinated community response can help mitigate the effects of cyberbullying on victims and perpetrators alike. The goal of the proposed conference entitled Creating a Community Response to Cyberbullying is to provide professionals, educators, and parents in the tri-state area (western New York, northwestern Pennsylvania, and eastern Ohio) information about cyberbullying, tips on how to identify and recognize cyberbullying, and effective ways to respond to cyberbullying within and outside of the school setting. Specific objectives that we aim to meet with this conference include provide information and training to educators, parents, and community partners about cyberbullying (what is it, how to identify it, how to respond to it effectively);identifying real world cyberbulying experiences of students and how these experiences affect academic, social, and psychological functioning;providing networking opportunities for educators, parents, and community partners in order to create a better community response network, and teaching attendees how to work together to create a workable community action plan on how to respond to cyberbullying to take back to their home communities. The principal topics that will be covered will include the effects of cyberbullying on adolescents and communities;how to identify victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying;effective prevention and intervention methods for teachers, parents, school administrators, and community partners;and how to create a community response to address cyberbullying from a multidisciplinary perspective. This conference will begin creating a network of educators, administrators, and community partners who are invested in decreasing the prevalence and effects of cyberbullying and assist in the development of preliminary action plans that attendees can take back to their home communities that have a real chance at reducing cyberbullying in the tri-state area.
The proposed conference will benefit the public health of the tri-state region (western New York, northwestern Pennsylvania, and eastern Ohio) by educating teachers, school administrators, parents, and community partners on the negative consequences of cyberbullying. The conference will train those who work with youth on how to recognize and respond to cyberbullying in their communities. The conference will also provide an opportunity to develop a network of professionals and parents invested in reducing cyberbullying and begin the process of creating a comprehensive and multidisciplinary community action plan to respond to cyberbullying that includes all adults to whom youth turn to for support.