Stop the BullyingBy Home Security Source Aug 8 , 2010 | 8:35:00 amPosted in: Child Safety, Family, Personal Safety
Bullying can cause kids enormous emotional – and sometimes physical – pain that can last for years. A tragic event last March in Massachusetts brought the problem to the forefront. There, a 15-year-old girl killed herself following constant bullying both in person and online. Six teens – four girls and two boys – were arrested on a number of charges related to the suicide.
Since then, television and radio talk shows, newspapers, magazines and blog sites have dedicated much time and space to the topic of bullying, helping to increase awareness of the problem. Many of us parents can recall being bullied as children. But with today’s growing importance of social media among teens, bullying can now even follow our kids into the privacy of their own bedrooms via computers and smartphones. For some children, bullying has become unrelenting, around-the-clock torment.
Last fall, the American Public Health Association reported that 43 percent of American middle school students were bullied within the past 30 days. Other surveys have shown even higher numbers for various age groups.
Without a doubt, bullying is a major problem for our kids. So what can a parent do to help protect a child?
Let’s begin at school, where kids are most likely to be bullied.
Students, parents, teachers and administrators need training on how to spot the signs of bullying and what actions to take to stop it. Bullies are really cowards Stop the Bullying who like to inflict their own insecurities on others they see as being weaker. Keep an eye on them and they are afraid to act.
You can do that by making sure there are adult hall monitors during passing periods. Also have adult monitors in lunchrooms, playgrounds, locker areas and gyms. These adults – teachers, administrators or adult volunteers – should have zero tolerance for bullying. Bullies should be immediately stopped and taken to the office for possible punishment.
Security cameras can play a role in deterring bullying and monitoring areas where adults can’t be at all times. Often, charges of bullying get down to a "he-said, she-said" situation. Having recorded evidence of incidents can break that potential logjam. Parents of bullies often deny that their kid could be a bully. Video can help convince them that they need to step up and deal with the child.
Hotlines – both telephone and Internet based – provide an opportunity to anonymously report incidents of bullying. Administrators need to aggressively investigate each report.
If your child’s school isn’t doing these things, insist that it does. Talk first with the principal. If that doesn’t help, move onto the superintendent and the school board. Don’t take no for an answer.
You might consider working with other parents in your neighborhood to take turns walking children to and from school or waiting with them at the school bus stop each morning and afternoon.
At home, talk with your children and ask if they are having problems with bullies. Remind them that it is not their fault that someone has targeted them. Also try to occasionally limit and monitor their Internet use to reduce the opportunities to be bullied online. Home should be a safe place for any child.
Finally, many state legislatures are now enacting tougher laws to help prohibit bullying. If your state hasn’t already done so, work with your local state representatives to introduce anti-bullying legislation.
There is no way we will ever totally eradicate bullying, but we can do a much better job to control it. Too often, we have minimized the deep emotional scars that bullying can leave on a child. As adults, and parents, it’s up to us to protect our children.
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