Bullying and cyber bullying among students is being reported at alarming rates nationwide. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011, 20% of students in grades 9–12 nationwide have experienced bullying.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, dedicated to bringing awareness of the serious consequences of bullying to students, parents, and citizens nationwide. According to stopbullying.gov, “The point of National Bullying Prevention Month [is] to transform a society that accepts bullying into a society that recognizes that bullying must – and can – be addressed through education and support.”
Bullying is any unwanted and/or aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying can include physical attacks, verbal attacks including name calling and spreading of rumors, psychological attacks, such as purposely excluding someone from a group, and cyber bullying through the use of social media, email and text messages.
And the effects of bullying can cause serious, long-term problems. Bullied children may experience anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, and have problems in school. In severe cases, bullying can lead to suicide or extreme violence on the part of the bullied student.
StopBullying.gov recommends that communication is the key to helping children and parents recognize, deal with and prevent bullying.
- Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.
- Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.
- Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.
For more information on bullying and bullying prevention, visit these resources: