Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power or strength. It is a repeated behavior and can be physical, verbal, or relational. While boys may bully others using more physical means; girls often bully others by social exclusion. Bullying has been part of school, and even workplaces, for years. More recently, though, technology and social media have created a new venue for bullying that has expanded its reach. Cyberbullying is bullying that happens online and via cell phones. Websites like Facebook, MySpace, Tumblr and Formspring allow kids to send hurtful, ongoing messages to other children 24 hours a day. Some sites, such as Tumblr and Formspring allow messages to be left anonymously.
Preventing and stopping bullying involves a commitment to creating a safe environment where children can thrive, socially and academically, without being afraid. APA recommends that teachers, parents and students take the following actions to address bullying.
TEACHERS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
- Be knowledgeable and observant Teachers and administrators need to be aware that although bullying generally happens in areas such as the bathroom, playground, crowded hallways, and school buses as well as via cell phones and computers (where supervision is limited or absent), it must be taken seriously. Continue reading, click here.
- Involve students and parents Students and parents need to be a part of the solution and involved in safety teams and antibullying task forces. Continue reading, click here.
- Set positive expectations about behavior for students and adults Schools and classrooms must offer students a safe learning environment. Continue reading, click here.
- Observe your child for signs they might be being bullied Children may not always be vocal about being bullied. Signs include: ripped clothing, hesitation about going to school, decreased appetite, nightmares, crying, or general depression and anxiety. Continue reading, click here.
- Teach your child how to handle being bullied Until something can be done on an administrative level, work with your child to handle bullying without being crushed or defeated. Continue reading, click here.
- Set boundaries with technology Educate your children and yourself about cyberbullying and teach your children not to respond or forward threatening emails. “Friend” your child on Facebook or Myspace and set up proper filters on your child’s computer. Continue reading, click here.
- Stop bullying before it starts Educate your children about bullying. Continue reading, click here.
- Make your home “bully free” Children learn behavior through their parents. Being exposed to aggressive behavior or an overly strict environment at home makes kids more prone to bully at school. Continue reading, click here.
- Look for self esteem issues Children with low self-esteem often bully to feel better about themselves. Continue reading, click here.
- Report bullying and cyberbullying It is important for students to report any bullying to a parent or an adult they trust. Continue reading, click here.
- Don’t bully back It may be difficult to not bully back, but as the saying goes, two wrongs don’t make a right. Continue reading, click here.
- Avoid being alone Whenever possible, avoid situations where there are no other students or teachers. Continue reading, click here.
Remember, report bullying of yourself or other students to your teacher, coach, principal and/or parent.
Students who experience bullying may feel overwhelmed, depressed or anxious. If your child or student is having trouble at school or with friends as a result of bullying, a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, can help your child develop resilience and confidence. This will enable your child to be more successful both socially and academically.
Click here for full article on American Psychological Association’s website.
American Psychological Association (APA). [Web:] Bullying: How parents, teachers and kids can take action to prevent bullying. [Date of Access: 24 March 2015]