Bullying: What Can You Do?

Bullying and cyberbullying are topics that we have to address and learn about.  From kids to teens to even adults, bullying is a growing issue that our country needs continually learn more about.  The lasting affects of words can be devastating – not only to youth, but to adults.

Being bullied is painful, but it is important to remember that you are not alone! Below are some tips on what you can do if you are being bullied.

  • Don’t ignore the whole situation: When you are being bullied, you naturally just want to make it all go away. As a result, some of us just keep everything inside or even avoid going to school! Sometimes the bully does stop and moves on to someone else, but this doesn’t always happen.
  • Always tell an adult you trust: Tell your parent, trusted teacher, school counselor or other trusted adult about what’s happening. Share all of the details, and let them know how this made you feel. Ask them what to do next.
  • Keep in mind that no one deserves to be bullied. Bullies are not bad people, but they are doing bad things. Sometimes kids become bullies because they are bullied at home by their parents and are determined not to be bullied at school—so they bully others instead. Knowing this will help you understand that the bullying doesn’t have to do with you, but with the bully.
  • Never fight back, but let the bully know you are not an easy target. Stay calm, and tell the bully with confidence and determination to “Stop it,” and to “Leave me alone.” Walk off with confidence.
  • Stand up to the bully if you feel ‘safe enough’: This is sometimes easy to say and much harder to do! If you do feel safe enough, confront the bully by telling him or her how you feel, why you feel the way you do, and what you want the bully to do. For example, “I feel angry when you call me names because I have a real name. I want you to start calling me by my real name.”
  • Be an Upstander even when you’re not being bullied. Read the Ways to Be an Upstander to learn about how you can actively fight bullying in your school.
  • Do not respond directly to the bully’s teasing: Sometimes we just feel too scared to respond. Not responding is actually another good strategy that we can use when we are being bullied. To the best of your ability, just walk away! This also an important tip to remember when dealing with bullying online. Keep harmful messages from spreading by not responding, adding comments, or sending them on to friends. (Again, it is important to let an adult know about this. When you are bullied online, print out a copy of the text or picture and show it to a grownup).
  • Don’t blame yourself! It is common for students to feel that they have somehow “caused” the bullying. Remind yourself that it’s not your fault and talk to a friend, adult in school, or parent about the way you feel! Write down your good qualities and discuss them with your family, and use this list as a reminder if you start to blame yourself or feel down.

Source:  School Climate

Cyberbullying Doesn’t Recognize Holidays: Tips to Prevent Online Harassment

CyberbullyingRealLivesLearning that your teenager has been the target of bullies is both heartbreaking and infuriating. The discovery that your child is party to the torment and agony of a classmate, however, can be even worse. No parent wants to believe that a child they’ve raised could be so cruel, but the truth is that bullying is a very real problem. More kids than you might think can be involved in the bullying of their peers, and the practice is not constrained to only the “bad” kids. Even good kids can find themselves swept up in the mob mentality that leads to bullying and harassment. The most effective weapon in a parent’s arsenal is simple prevention. Stopping such behavior before it begins is imperative, especially online.

The Internet has changed not only the way that kids learn and interact with the world, but also the way that they bully their less popular classmates. It wasn’t all that long ago when kids who were bullied could at least enjoy something of a respite when they were away from school grounds. In today’s always-connected world, a group of committed bullies can make sure that the torment is incessant. Cyber bullying is insidious and overwhelming, leaving young victims feeling as if they have no way to escape their tormentors. Making sure that your child is not part of this growing group of cyber bullying teens will require a bit of work and dedication, but it’s far from an impossible task.

Monitor Your Teen’s Web Presence

There is a fine line between respecting your teen’s privacy and willfully turning a blind eye to their online antics. It’s important to provide your child with some semblance of privacy and independence, but it’s equally important to make sure that you’re aware of their habits. Friend or follow your child on their social media sites or have them accept a friend request from a trusted adult. Remember that your teenagers’ brains are not fully developed, regardless of how mature they may seem at times. Your kids need guidance, and they need you to keep an eye on their online behavior. This will not only prevent them from becoming either the target or the perpetrator of cyber bullying, but also ensures that they’re not engaging in unsafe activities that could make them the target of online predators.

Be Conscious of Cell Phone Usage

It seems like modern teens always have a smartphone in their hands. These mobile devices make it easy for kids to stay connected with their peers and explore social interactions, but they also present an almost constant opportunity for cyber bullying. Talk to your teens about how some messages and actions can be construed as bullying, but also make a point of establishing an “open phone” policy. Make sure your kids know that you will monitor their phone use and that any indications of bullying will be met with a zero-tolerance policy.

Talk About Bullying

All too often, parents assume that their teens know what bullying is and know better than to engage in such behavior. The truth is that bullying is a complex problem, stemming largely from the fact that some teens don’t realize that what they’re doing is bullying. Make sure that your teens understand that there’s much more to bullying than simply taunting someone at school or being physically violent. Establish an open line of communication about bullying, making sure that your teens are well informed on the issue. Encourage kids to not only abstain from bullying, but to take an active stance against bullying behavior from their friends and peers.

Consider Your Own Behavior

Just as teens can have a skewed perception of bullying, so can their parents. Think about the language you use during discussions about harassing or bullying behavior. If you’ve held a stance asserting that bullying is the result of “kids being kids,” you’re sending a message of tacit approval to your children. Realize that bullying is more than roughing someone up for their lunch money, and that it’s a very serious issue for today’s teenagers. Online harassment and bullying can have tragic results, and is never just “kids being kids.” Consider the attitudes you’re modeling for your teens and whether or not you’ve been inadvertently sending the message that online bullying isn’t all that serious. Even when your kids become teenagers and seem to disregard your actions and opinions, they’re still looking to you for cues as to how they should react in a given situation. Make sure the message you’re sending is one that openly disdains bullying it all its forms.

Resources:
http://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/what-you-can-do/
http://stopcyberbullying.org/teens/because_i_can.html

Contributors:  WhiteFence.com

Cyber-Gossip: How it Can Turn Into Cyber Bullying

Have You Heard - 3d Words IsolatedGossip can be mean. Bullies can build on gossip and create stories and ugliness about a student that can go viral in seconds.

In today’s internet age, gossip can be spread at lightning speed to hundreds, thousands or millions of people. The new “party line” is cyberspace where millions of people can all access the same information instantaneously. Just get on your computer, iphone, ipad or blackberry and let the rumors fly.

Here are 10 ways people (including kids) can us new technology to rapidly spread gossip (in no particular order).

  1. Email – One way to spread a rumor quickly is to send an email to all the contacts in your account, except the one the rumor is about, of course. Then they can forward it to all their contacts and on it goes from there. You better hope they delete your name when they forward it, or you might get blamed for starting it.
  2. Facebook – Post your gossip on facebook and all your friends will know about it instantly. If they “like” it, comment on it or repost it, all their friends will see it too. Pretty soon you’ve got the rumor spreading quickly.
  3. Myspace – Another social networking sight great for gossiping is Myspace. Post that rumor on a bulletin or your group’s message board and watch it spread like wildfire.
  4. Twitter – You can tweet a rumor and all your Twitter followers will know your juicy gossip in 140 characters or less. They can re-tweet it to all their followers and in no time the gossip is flying through cyberspace.
  5. Blogs – Some people love to spread gossip through their blogs. Even unintentional rumors are sometimes started by bloggers.
  6. Website – You won’t believe some of the stuff you find posted on websites, and you shouldn’t either. There are whole websites put on the web just for the purpose of spreading misinformation. Always remember to check their sources.
  7. YouTube – If you have a registered YouTube account you can upload an unlimited number of videos. If you have a video of someone doing something dubious, this is the best way to spread that rumor to millions of viewers.
  8. Comments – A great way to anonymously spread gossip is to post a comment on a website, blog or YouTube video. You can log in under an assumed username and say all kinds of outrageous things without revealing your identity.
  9. Chat rooms – Another anonymous way to spread rumors are internet chat rooms. You can start with an offhand comment and embellish it as you go.
  10. Texting – If you see or hear something juicy to gossip about, you can send a text message to all your friends. That will get the thumbs flying as the rumor gets spread.

The new social media available has taken gossiping to a whole new level. Unfortunately this can lead to cyber bullying and be very traumatizing to vulnerable people. Celebrities and politicians are easy targets for internet gossip and careers are ruined by unintended tweets. Everyone should use the new technology responsibly, but many abuse their newfound privileges. Be careful what you put out into cyberspace or it may come back to haunt you and always check the sources of what you see or read. Chances are it’s just more cyber-gossip.

Source: Internet Providers

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Anti-Bullying Policies: Do your know your school’s policy?

Bullying and cyberbullying is a statewide and national epidemic that needs immediate attention and is getting it.

This week the United States Department of Education released their Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies.

The department examined the extent to which states legislatively required schools to address bullying and what model policies were suggested. The major findings:

There are 46 states with bullying laws, 45 of which direct schools to adopt bullying policies. The vast majority of those laws, 43 of them, specify to some extent what constitutes bullying. There are 41 states with model policies on how to address bullying.

Thirteen states allow schools to have jurisdiction over cyberbullying that occurs off-campus under the premise that the actions can create a hostile school environment.

The study reviewed 20 specific school district policies. Half contain counseling provisions or other non-punitive behavioral interventions for students who bully others, and one out every five included  provisions to address the mental health needs of students who are bullied.

Click here to read the report.

Education is the key to prevention of bullying and cyberbullying.

It is a community effort, starting at home and reaching into the schools.  Both parents and teachers should be role models to youth today.  How you treat your neighbor, your sibling, your friend, your co-worker – is all being watched by younger eyes.

Be the example….

Back to School: Gossip can lead to Bullying

We are heading into a new school year and more and more we are hearing of the digitial bullying, cyberbullying and sexting.

Gossip can be mean.  Bullies can build on gossip and create stories and ugliness about a student that can go viral in seconds.

In today’s internet age, gossip can be spread at lightning speed to hundreds, thousands or millions of people. The new “party line” is cyberspace where millions of people can all access the same information instantaneously. Just get on your computer, iphone, ipad or blackberry and let the rumors fly.

Here are 10 ways people (including kids) can us new technology to rapidly spread gossip in 2011 (in no particular order).

  1. Email – One way to spread a rumor quickly is to send an email to all the contacts in your account, except the one the rumor is about, of course. Then they can forward it to all their contacts and on it goes from there. You better hope they delete your name when they forward it, or you might get blamed for starting it.
  2. Facebook – Post your gossip on facebook and all your friends will know about it instantly. If they “like” it, comment on it or repost it, all their friends will see it too. Pretty soon you’ve got the rumor spreading quickly.
  3. Myspace – Another social networking sight great for gossiping is Myspace. Post that rumor on a bulletin or your group’s message board and watch it spread like wildfire.
  4. Twitter – You can tweet a rumor and all your Twitter followers will know your juicy gossip in 140 characters or less. They can re-tweet it to all their followers and in no time the gossip is flying through cyberspace.
  5. Blogs – Some people love to spread gossip through their blogs. Even unintentional rumors are sometimes started by bloggers.
  6. Website – You won’t believe some of the stuff you find posted on websites, and you shouldn’t either. There are whole websites put on the web just for the purpose of spreading misinformation. Always remember to check their sources.
  7. YouTube – If you have a registered YouTube account you can upload an unlimited number of videos. If you have a video of someone doing something dubious, this is the best way to spread that rumor to millions of viewers.
  8. Comments – A great way to anonymously spread gossip is to post a comment on a website, blog or YouTube video. You can log in under an assumed username and say all kinds of outrageous things without revealing your identity.
  9. Chat rooms – Another anonymous way to spread rumors are internet chat rooms. You can start with an offhand comment and embellish it as you go.
  10. Texting – If you see or hear something juicy to gossip about, you can send a text message to all your friends. That will get the thumbs flying as the rumor gets spread.

The new social media available has taken gossiping to a whole new level. Unfortunately this can lead to cyber bullying and be very traumatizing to vulnerable people. Celebrities and politicians are easy targets for internet gossip and careers are ruined by unintended tweets. Everyone should use the new technology responsibly, but many abuse their newfound privileges. Be careful what you put out into cyberspace or it may come back to haunt you and always check the sources of what you see or read. Chances are it’s just more cyber-gossip.

Source:  Internet Providers

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

MEAN GIRLS 2: It’s Back and Taking Bullying Straight On!

What is a mean girl?

Who is a mean girl?

Just ask Jessica G. from St. Augustine Beach, and she will tell you it is a girl at school that is constantly teasing her about her weight.  That girl has a name, her name is Katie.  Katie is what many would call a mean girl. “Katie likes to say things to me in front of others, which is twice as embarrassing.  I am afraid to eat in front of other kids now.  I am trying to lose weight and I am losing weight slowly, but when she moo’s at me, it only make me want to eat more.”

Tina Fey’s blockbuster hit, Mean Girls hit theaters in 2004.  Immediately many kids and parents could relate and sadly, many saw themselves in the acting of Lindsay Lohan and the story that gave bullying a face.

Mean Girls 2” picks up where the first left off, at the same North Shore High with the same deadpan principal, Mr. Duvall who clearly hates his life.

What has changed is the increase of bullying awareness and bullying prevention programs.

Did you know that bullies are more likely to:

•Get into frequent fights
•Steal and vandalize property
•Drink alcohol and smoke
•Report poor grades which could result not getting into college
•When cyberbullying and getting caught could face arrest depending on the degree of the incident
•Perceive a negative climate at school
•Carry a weapon

How can you help prevent bullying?

Report Bullying

Don’t be afraid to tell an adult. Telling isn’t tattling! You are helping someone.

Who should you tell?

You could tell your parents, teacher, school counselor, school nurse, coach or any adult you trust. Be sure to tell exactly what happened … who was bullied, who the bully was, where and when it happened. Even if you suspect a kid is being bullied, it’s a good idea to report that, too. Most adults really do care about bullying and will be glad that you told them about it.

If you tell an adult and you don’t think they are doing anything about the bullying or if the situation isn’t improving, tell another adult. Keep telling adults until someone does something to help.

Be A Friend To Someone Who Is Being Bullied

Just being supportive to a person who’s been bullied is comforting. It shows that someone or many people care.

When someone is down they need a friend. Be there for the person who is being bullied. Be a buddy on school grounds, get together after school, include them in activities, Walk home with them, sit with them on the bus. Being an understanding and supportive friend means so much. Show a kid who is being bullied that you care about them.

Stand Up To The Bully

If you feel safe and comfortable, tell the bully that what they are doing is mean and wrong. It’s not cool and they should stop. Keep it simple. Do not bully them back. If you are not comfortable standing up to the bully, tell an adult.

You can watch “Mean Girls 2” on ABC Family on Sunday, January 23rd at 8PM ET/PT. Be sure to stay tuned at the end of the movie for a special PSA with actress Meaghan Martin on bullying and its impact. ABC Family has partnered with STOMP Out Bullying™ to help speak to the heart of the issue. For more information on “Mean Girls 2” visit www.abcfamily.com.

Source: Stomp Out Bullying

Watch PSA here. Watch trailer here.

Read more.

Bullying: Ten Top Ways Parents to Help Prevent Bullying

Recent events have revealed just how rampant and cruel the bullying problem has become. The days of letting kids work things out by themselves or encouraging them to hash things out by the playground are long gone, as these strategies are proving to be much more dangerous than they once were. One thing is certain — parents play a huge role in the school bullying solution. Whether your kid is the aggressor or the victim, your words and support may be the most important tools in solving the problem. Here are 10 ways parents can prevent bullying:

  1. Talk to Your Kids: You may talk to your kids about homework, grades and school activities every day, but there are bigger issues happening in school that deserve to be discussed, as well. Bullying is a serious topic that parents and kids seem to skirt over far too often. An effective way to prevent bullying is to talk to your children about bullying. Depending on your relationship with your child and their willingness to share, you may have to wait until they approach you instead of prying information out of them. It takes a great deal of courage for your child to tell you that he or she is being bullied, so it’s important that you take it seriously and keep your emotions in check. Reiterate to your child that you want to help end the bullying and prevent it from happening again. Don’t hold back from asking your son or daughter who was involved, how it happened, and where each bullying incident has taken place. The more details you can obtain about the bullying episodes, the greater the chance of putting an end to the abuse when you contact school officials.
  2. Listen to Your Kids: Once you’ve established an open line of communication with your child, it’s so important that you listen intently to what he or she is saying. Listen to the details of your child’s bullying episodes so you can report these facts to school officials. Bullying is a sensitive subject for both the child and parent. You may be tempted to lash out at the bully’s parents or give the school a piece of your mind, but this irrational behavior could make matters worse. Before jumping to action, allow your child to share his or her experiences and simply listen. If your kid hasn’t opened up about being bullied or bullying others, give them a chance to tell you first, but always keep your ears open for anything that’s out of the norm or worrisome.
  3. Look for Signs: Children of all ages have a way of keeping things from their parents, especially when they are being bullied. Your son or daughter may hold back from telling you because they are embarrassed, don’t want to be a “tattletale” or are afraid that you might intervene and make it worse. If you think something could be wrong but your child’s lips are sealed, you should be on the lookout for signs of bullying. You may not necessarily see your child crying or sulking, but there are almost always signs that something is wrong. Victims of bullying often display signs of depression, loneliness and feel sick more than ever. Be observant of any unusual behavior, attitude changes and avoidance of social activities, and gently approach your child about these issues to see if bullying is the cause.
  4. Stop Bullying in Progress: Many adults stay out of bullying incidents because they want kids to work it out together. The problem is kids usually don’t work things out and the bullying only continues to get worse when left alone. Parents can’t be afraid to stop bullying incidents in progress and break things up. Even children can prevent or stop bullying incidents in progress by verbally or physically defending the victim and displaying their moral engagement. Intervening in a bullying incident gives parents a chance to set things straight with both children and protect the victim from further harm. Most bullying incidents take place after school, so a parent might be able to observe a confrontation at this time. Parents should encourage their kids to stop bullying in progress, whether they interject or get a school official to. No one should turn their back on a bullying incident. Period.
  5. Do Not Encourage Physical Retaliation: Never encourage physical retaliation as a means to prevent bullying. No matter how mad you are that your child has been bullied, you can’t fight abuse with abuse. Not only does fighting completely contradict this moral lesson, but it could also get your son or daughter suspended, expelled or make the situation worse. Teach your child to ignore bullies and walk away before anyone gets physical, then report the event to a school official or someone of authority.
  6. Contact School Officials: One surefire way to prevent bullying is to bring it to the school’s attention. Parents should contact school officials, such as teachers, principals and school counselors and give them factual information about the bullying events. It’s important to emphasize that you expect the bullying to stop and will work closely with the school staff to find a solution for your child and other victims of bullying. School officials will contact the parents of the child who was bullying to make them aware of the issue and set up parent-teacher conferences if need be.
  7. Help Your Child be Resilient: As you work with your child and school officials to put an end to the bullying incidents, you can help your child become more resilient to bullying. Shifting their attention towards something positive will help them overcome the emotional effects of being bullied. You should encourage your kids to develop new talents or participate in positive activities, such as art, sports or music to highlight their positive attributes and help them make new friends outside of class.
  8. Teach Moral Values and Give Love at Home: As a parent, you have a direct influence on your child’s social behavior, beliefs and treatment of others. Children who bully generally come from homes that lack warmth, supervision and parent involvement, and emphasize harsh, physical discipline and bullying. It’s never too late for parents to teach moral values and ethical behavior to their kids. Children should feel safe and loved in their home, and there should always be open lines of communication between parents and their children. In order to prevent bullying, you can’t allow bullying in your household either.
  9. Set Clear Rules in Your House: If your son or daughter bullies other children, you need to take this issue very seriously and nip it in the bud before it worsens. Parents of bullies should take an active role to stop bullying and prevent it. One way to curb bullying is to set clear rules in your house and make it clear that bullying will not be tolerated under any circumstances. In addition, teach children about genuine empathy and help them understand the impact of their behavior.
  10. Join or Start a Bullying Prevention Group: Parents can stay involved in the school’s efforts to prevent bullying and take a proactive stance on this serious issue. You can do so by joining or starting a bullying prevention group that puts this real life issue into perspective for parents. No one person can stop bullying alone, nor should it be the sole responsibility of a school official. Parents, teachers, principals, administrators and counselors should work together to prevent bullying at schools. They can meet to discuss bullying issues at the school and report incidents, as well as plan bullying prevention rules, policies and activities that will make a difference in the culture of the school.

Source: Criminal Justice Guide