October is national “Bullying Prevention Month”. While we all have the responsibility to ensure the safety of kids and teens around us, October gives us the opportunity to focus on this issue that can have a significant impact on our youth.
Types of bullying:
- Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
- Social bullying is sometimes referred to as relational bullying:
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling other children not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
- Physical bullying includes:
- Taking or breaking someone’s things
- Making mean or rude hand gestures
- Cyber Bullying:
- Social media
- Messaging apps on mobile or tablet dices
- Online chatting over the internet
- Online forums and message boards
- Online gaming
Cyberbullying has unique concerns in that it can be persistent.
This means kids and teens can immediately and continuously communicate 24 hours a day; there’s no opportunity for relief. Permanent in that even though certain apps say they do not save the images; kids often can screenshot and screen record. This can impact college admissions, employment, and other areas of life. Hard to notice because there are always new apps popping up. This makes it hard for teachers and parents to keep up and stay knowledgeable. Did you know there’s an app that appears as a calculator but actually is a vault to secretly store messages and pictures?
Since the start of COVID, imminent safety tips like suicide, bullying, and self-harm have shown a sharp increase. State officials say the calls are up 133 percent since the pandemic began.
Statistics from the “Indicators of School Crime and Safety”, show that only 20% of school bullying incidents were reported. Kids don’t tell adults for many reasons such as;
- Fear of rejection
- Worry about backlash or that reporting will only make the bullying worse
- Feeling of helplessness, shame or humiliation- not wanting to appear weak
- Already feeling socially isolated.
Every youth involved in bullying, a target, a bystander, or as one who does the bullying- can benefit from adult, school, and community support. Youth who bully may also need support to help them address their behavior. Parents, school counselors, teachers, and mental health professionals can work with youth who bully to help them develop healthy school and peer connections and to learn new social and emotional skills.
What you can do:
Establish rules around how to use social media appropriately such as clearly outlining what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. Place structure around screen time and allow for open dialogue so your child know that they can talk with you. Installing parental control apps. (Bark: Google Family Link, Qustodio) can help monitor your child’s activity and flag and notify of inappropriate content.
Peer support is an important protective factor against bullying. Teachers, parents, and students can help build a sense of connection for kids, foster friendships, and build empathy. Encouraging extracurricular activities and building on your child’s interests can help build your child’s confidence and resilience.
If you have questions or concerns, you can reach out to us at 21st Century EAP at 1-800-825-5327 or via our website at www.21stcenturyeap.com.
- The Trevor Project provides support and resources for the LGBTQ community.
- Text HOME to 741741 – This is a free, anonymous, 24/7 crisis support all through text message.
- www.safe2saypa.org – Safe2safe something is a statewide program that allows kids, parents and educators to anonymously report any concerns: school or non- school related.
- Stopbullying.gov – Stop Bullying is a federal program that provides education, resources and support to assist in efforts to stop bullying.