Bullying! At some point most of us have been bullied, or have bullied others. Even when we are grown and in a career, we may be the victim of harassment or bullying. Columbia School District teachers and staff members work diligently to prevent and negate the effects of bullying.
Unfortunately, nationwide we hear more and more about the effects of bullying, it is not just harmless teasing. Researchers from the National Education Association believe that over 150,000 students miss school each day because they are fearful of bullying. The types of bulling may include gossip, physical attacks, intimidation, verbal abuse, cyber bullying or violence.
Helping your children to build strategies for situations when they see friends or classmates being bullied is important and will benefit them as they grow and mature. Your child may be able to intervene when their friend is experiencing difficulty. You will want to help your child know that when their friend or classmate is being bullied, they should tell a parent, teacher or trusted adult. Let them know that when we alert an adult about a bullying situation, it isn’t tattling, they are simply assisting their friend. If your child sees someone being bullied, they should make an effort to talk to the victim. The child who is bullied will feel alienated and alone. Your child may make a difference by talking to their classmate.
Sometimes bullying is done through the internet. This is termed cyber-bullying. This type of bullying is on the rise and it may seem to come out of nowhere. When we were in school, it was easy to spot the bully, but now, through cyber-bullying, the bullying can happen 24-7 and be disguised. This type of bullying happens more often to sixth through eighth graders. Researchers say that 15% to 35% of teens say they have been bullied through technology. It is important that your child let you know and inform their teacher and principal regarding cyber-bullying, or any other case of bullying.
You may notice the following signs if your child is being bullied. They may be experiencing injuries that they are hesitant to discuss with you. They may have difficulty sleeping, or seem less hungry. They suddenly do not want to go to school or their grades are slipping. They seem to be losing things, such as technology, their jewelry, clothes or other personal items. They experience personality changes and aren’t comfortable with their friends or certain social events. Encourage your children to discuss cyber-bullying with you or other trusted adult, such as a favorite teacher, principal, or police liaison.
What if your child is the bully? Your child may feel that some of their cyber posts, Instagram, Snap Chat, or Facebook posts are funny, but they may be considered bullying by their victims. Parents who keep an eye on their child’s online accounts will be able to pick up on concerns about harassment or bullying. If you are concerned with your child or his or her friends, bullying others or being bullied, please contact your child’s teacher or principal. They will assist you with your concerns. For more information visit: www.stopbullying.gov .