As students prepare to return to school in the next few weeks, the one thing many are not looking forward to is being bullied. That is the reality for many victims at school, on playgrounds and online. In fact 1 out of 4 kids are bullied every year in the United States.
With the new school year beginning, this is a call to action for schools across the country to enforce prevention, and the call to action for parents is to help their kids and teens thrive academically as well as socially.
For so long, many schools have swept the issue of bullying under the rug. Now it’s up to both parents and educators to make sure that kids are empowered! It’s time to unite and work together!
You wouldn’t send your children off to school without school supplies. Now is the time to educate your kids before school starts. Educate them about the fact that there can be mean kids at school and should they encounter them, to tell you so you can support and coach them in a way which will end the bullying.
The very same applies for kids who are just entering into the social media world. The best school supply you can arm them with for cyberbullying is to be a tech savvy parent and raise digitally responsible kids.
Experts find that as kids prepare to return to school at the conclusion of summer break, feelings of intimidation, depression and fear are at an all-time high for those who may have experienced bullying or cyberbullying during the previous school year. It is our job as experts in the field to shine a light on the growing problem of bullying and cyberbullying so that students feel safe when returning to school this fall.
Schools must enforce anti-bullying legislation and take bullying seriously. Intervention between the victim and the perpetrator does not work. It makes things worse. Suspending the bully from school is not the answer, as it is critical to get to the root of the bully’s problem and change their behavior by working with them and their families.
Bullying can be so painful and clearly has played a role in many suicides across the country. And cyberbullying is in full force with the use of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites popular with kids and teens. This social online cruelty is used by individuals or groups intending to harass and harm our youth.
It is critical to educate students about the harmful effects of bullying and cyberbullying.
Recent Statistics Show:
– 1 out of 4 kids are Bullied
– 9 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment at school
– Depending on their ages, up to 43% of kids and teens report being digitally harassed
– 8% of kids stay home from school each day due to the fear of being bullied
Victims of bullying can experience:
– Can be afraid to go to school
– Can be afraid to ride the bus
– Can be afraid to use the school bathroom
– Can be afraid of being alone in the school hallway
– The fear and anxiety caused by being a bullying victim can make it difficult to focus at school
Bullying can cause victims to experience:
- Low self-esteem
- Physical illness
- Suicidal thoughts
Teach kids and teens that if they see others being bullied, to be UPSTANDERS. Bystanders are kids and teens who witness bullying and cyberbullying in action, who stand by and watch, who videotape it and make it viral … and WHO DO AND SAY NOTHING.
Very often they don’t know what to do. They’re afraid of retaliation or fear that their own group will exclude them for helping an outsider.
When students are bystander, they send a message to the bully that their behavior is acceptable. Standing up for others helps remove the victim from the situation and many times has been known to stop the bully.
While arming students with prevention won’t fix the problem completely, it’s a start!
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Ross Ellis is also the Examiner for:
National Parenting Examiner
NY Real Estate