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

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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.

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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….

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.