Bullying is never okay. So then why does it happen way too often and so many parents seem to turn a blind eye? Bullying is a huge issue, especially among young children, when they aren’t taught what is right or wrong. Or maybe the victims aren’t reporting it, so the bully is never caught.
Bullying can escalate. A child calls another child mean names, even something such as a “butt-head” can hurt a kid’s feelings. When that bully grows up however, they might start to shove students smaller than them or worse, start a vicious rumor. Let’s face it, the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is out. Psychological bullying can be just as hurtful as physical bullying.
- 70% of students report seeing frequent bullying online.
- Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying.
- Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Cyber bullying is now a huge issue and it’s not just limited to the internet, it can be within text messages as well. Also, the difference between real-life and cyber bullying is the fact that real-life bullying usually ends once the child steps off school grounds.
As a parent, we worry about our kids. Even more so until they’re out of school (even college). There are several steps you can do though, to ensure your child’s safety, physically and psychologically.
- If you suspect bullying or your child has told you they are being bullied by a specific student or group, contact the principal and make it sure the situation won’t be ignored.
- Help your child understand how to deal with it in the moment without bullying back. Such as asking him/her questions like, “What do you think might work?” or “What do you think you can say (nicely) next time to stop them?”
- Contact your congressional representatives using the email form at ncld.org and urge them to support the Safe Schools Improvement Act. It would establish uniform (and stricter) anti-bullying policies across the country.
Stop cyber bullying by:
- Communicating to your child that he or she is not to blame and that you love your child for who he or she is.
- Talk with your child about the steps he or she can take to protect himself or herself, both emotionally and physically.
- Involve the police if the bullying is (or you suspect it might become) criminal. Statutes vary from state to state, but here are some good guidelines of what could be considered criminal:
– Threats of violence
– Obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages
– Harassment, stalking or hate crimes
– Child pornography
– Sexual exploitation
– Taking a photo image of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy