Cyber Bullying and Bullying Safety Awareness

National Stop Bullying Days

What is Bullying?

Bullying is a widespread and serious problem that can happen anywhere. It is not a phase children have to go through, it is not “just messing around”, and it is not something to grow out of. Bullying can cause serious and lasting harm.

Although definitions of bullying vary, most agree that bullying involves:

  • Imbalance of Power: people who bully use their power to control or harm and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves
  • Intent to Cause Harm: actions done by accident are not bullying; the person bullying has a goal to cause harm
  • Repetition: incidents of bullying happen to the same the person over and over by the same person or group

Types of Bullying

Bullying can take many forms. Examples include:

  • Verbal: name-calling, teasing
  • Social: spreading rumors, leaving people out on purpose, breaking up friendships
  • Physical: hitting, punching, shoving
  • Cyberbullying: using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital technologies to harm others

An act of bullying may fit into more than one of these groups.

Recognizing the Warning Signs

There are many warning signs that could indicate that someone is involved in bullying, either by bullying others or by being bullied. However, these warning signs may indicate other issues or problems, as well. If you are a parent or educator, learn more about talking to someone about bullying.

Being Bullied

  • Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
  • Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing, or jewelry
  • Has unexplained injuries
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Has changes in eating habits
  • Hurts themselves
  • Are very hungry after school from not eating their lunch
  • Runs away from home
  • Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
  • Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
  • Loses interest in school work or begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they come home
  • Talks about suicide
  • Feels helpless
  • Often feels like they are not good enough
  • Blames themselves for their problems
  • Suddenly has fewer friends
  • Avoids certain places
  • Acts differently than usual

Bullying Others

  • Becomes violent with others
  • Gets into physical or verbal fights with others
  • Gets sent to the principals office or detention a lot
  • Has extra money or new belongings that cannot be explained
  • Is quick to blame others
  • Will not accept responsibility for their actions
  • Has friends who bully others
  • Needs to win or be best at everything

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying, instead of happening face-to-face, happens through the use of technology such as computers, cell phones and other electronic devices. Cyberbullying peaks around the end of middle school and the beginning of high school.

Examples of Cyberbullying include:

  • Sending hurtful, rude, or mean text messages to others
  • Spreading rumors or lies about others by e-mail or on social networks
  • Creating websites, videos or social media profiles that embarrass, humiliate, or make fun of others

Bullying online is very different from face-to-face bullying because messages and images can be:

  • Sent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
  • Shared be shared to a very wide audience
  • Sent anonymously

Effects of Cyberbullying

Research on Cyberbullying has found that students involved are more likely to:

  • Be unwilling to attend school
  • Receive poor grades
  • Have lower self-esteem
  • Have more health problems

Cyberbullying can have particular affects on those who are targeted. Research has found that young people who have been cyber bullied are significantly more likely to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Skip school
  • Experience in-person bullying or victimization

What Kids, Teens and Young Adults Can Do

Be Smart Online and Texting

You can prevent Cyberbullying by being careful of what you do:

  • Always think about what you post or say. Do not share secrets, photos or anything that might be embarrassing to you or others. What seems funny or innocent at the time could be used against you. You do not have complete control over what others forward or post.
  • Set privacy settings on your accounts. Make sure that you are only sharing information with people you know and trust. Pay attention to notices from social networks, because sometimes privacy settings change.

Make Cyberbullying Stop

If you or someone you know is being cyberbullied, know that it does not have to be this way. There things you can do to help you and your friends:

  • Talk with someone you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. Reach out to a family member, friend or another adult that you trust.
  • Do not respond to Cyberbullying. Sometimes people post or text teasing or name-calling to get a reaction. If someone has posted or sent a message that could be hurtful to others, refuse to pass it along or respond to it.
  • Keep evidence of Cyberbullying. Record the dates, times and descriptions of instances when Cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, e-mails, and text messages.
  • Block the person who is Cyberbullying you. Many websites and phone companies let you block people. Also, Cyberbullying may violate the Terms and Conditions of these services. Consider contacting the service provider to file a complaint.
  • Report the incident to your school. They may be able to help you resolve the Cyberbullying or be watchful for face-to-face bullying.
  • Ask for help. Sometimes, talking to a counselor or health professional can help you get through the emotional effects of bullying.

What Parents Can Do

Although it is difficult for you to monitor your children at all times, it is extremely important to pay close attention to possible Cyberbullying incidents involving their children, especially if their kids are younger. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) gives parents control over what information websites can collect from kids.

Help Kids be Smart Online or While Texting

Here are some things that you can do to help prevent Cyberbullying.

Communicate with your children. Set up a daily time to check in with your son or daughter, and listen to any concerns about online activities that they are involved in. Talk specifically about Cyberbullying and encourage your children to tell you immediately if they see or experience Cyberbullying.

Be aware of where your children go online. Familiarize yourself with the technology they are using.

Develop and enforce rules. Work together and come to a clear understanding about when, where, and for what purpose phones and computers can be used. Develop clear rules about what is and what is not appropriate online. Decide on fair consequences and follow through consistently.

How You Can Help

If you know or suspect your children are being cyberbullied, take quick action.

Talk with your children. Do not just ignore the bullying problem or hope it will go away. Tell your child that you are concerned and that you’d like to help.

Tell your child not to respond to Cyberbullying. Responding can sometimes make the situation worse.

Empathize with your child. Tell him or her that Cyberbullying is wrong, that it is not their fault, and that you are glad he or she had the courage to tell you about it. Do not assume that your child did something to provoke the bullying. For instance, do not ask things like, What did you do to aggravate the other child?

Work together to find solutions. Ask your children what he or she thinks can be done to help, and reassure him or her that the situation can be handled and still keep them safe.

Document ongoing Cyberbullying. Work with your children to record bullying incidents. Write down what happened, where, who was involved, and when it occurred. Find out how your child reacted and how the students bullying, bystanders, and adults responded.

Block the person who is Cyberbullying your children. Many websites and phone companies let you block people. Cyberbullying may violate the Terms and Conditions of these services. Consider contacting them to file a complaint.

Contact law enforcement. Police can respond if the aggressive behavior is criminal. The following may constitute a crime:

  • Threats of violence
  • Child pornography and sexting
  • Taking a photo image of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy
  • Harassment, stalking, or hate crimes
  • Obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Extortion

Be Persistent. Talk regularly with your child to see whether the Cyberbullying has stopped. If the bullying persists or escalates, you may need to contact the appropriate people again or talk with an attorney. Dont give up.

Test Your Bullying Knowledge

How much do you really know? Check out these facts and myths about bullying.

FACT: People who bully have power over those they bully.

People who bully others usually pick on those who have less social power (peer status), psychological power (know how to harm others), or physical power (size, strength). However, some people who bully also have been bullied by others. People who both bully and are bullied by others are at the highest risk for problems (such as depression and anxiety) and are more likely to become involved in risky or delinquent behavior.

FACT: Spreading rumors is a form of bullying.

Spreading rumors, name-calling, excluding others, and embarrassing them are all forms of social bullying that can cause serious and lasting harm.

MYTH: Only boys bully.

People think that physical bullying by boys is the most common form of bullying. However, verbal, social, and physical bullying happens among both boys and girls, especially as they grow older.

MYTH: People who bully are insecure and have low self-esteem.

Many people who bully are popular and have average or better-than-average self-esteem. They often take pride in their aggressive behavior and control over the people they bully. People who bully may be part of a group that thinks bullying is okay. Some people who bully may also have poor social skills and experience anxiety or depression. For them, bullying can be a way to gain social status.

MYTH: Bullying usually occurs when there are no other students around.

Students see about four out of every five bullying incidents at school. In fact, when they witness bullying, they give the student who is bullying positive attention or even join in about three-quarters of the time. Although 9 out of 10 students say there is bullying in their schools, adults rarely see bullying, even if they are looking for it.

MYTH: Bullying often resolves itself when you ignore it.

Bullying reflects an imbalance of power that happens again and again. Ignoring the bullying teaches students who bully that they can bully others without consequences. Adults and other students need to stand up for children who are bullied, and to ensure they are protected and safe.

MYTH: All children will outgrow bullying.

For some, bullying continues as they become older. Unless someone intervenes, the bullying will likely continue and, in some cases, grow into violence and other serious problems. Children who consistently bully others often continue their aggressive behavior through adolescence and into adulthood.

MYTH: Reporting bullying will make the situation worse.

Research shows that children who report bullying to an adult are less likely to experience bullying in the future. Adults should encourage children to help keep their school safe and to tell an adult when they see bullying.

MYTH: Teachers often intervene to stop bullying.

Adults often do not witness bullying despite their good intentions. Teachers intervene in only 14 percent of classroom bullying episodes and in 4 percent of bullying incidents that happen outside the classroom.

MYTH: Nothing can be done at schools to reduce bullying.

School initiatives to prevent and stop bullying have reduced bullying by 15 to 50 percent. The most successful initiatives involve the entire school community of teachers, staff, parents, students, and community members.

MYTH: Parents are usually aware that their children are bullying others.

Parents play a critical role in bullying prevention, but they often do not know if their children bully or are bullied by others. To help prevent bullying, parents need to talk with their children about what is happening at school and in the community.

Effects of Bullying

Bullying has serious and lasting effects. While these effects may also be caused by other factors, research has found bullying has significant effects for those who are bullied, those who bully others, and those who witness bullying.

People Who are Bullied:

  • Have higher risk of depression and anxiety, including the following symptoms, that may persist into adulthood:
  • Increased feelings of sadness and loneliness
  • Changes in sleep and eating patterns
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Have increased thoughts about suicide that may persist into adulthood. In one study, adults who recalled being bullied in youth were 3 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or inclinations.
  • Are more likely to have health complaints. In one study, being bullied was associated with physical health status 3 years later.
  • Have decreased academic achievement (GPA and standardized test scores) and school participation.
  • Are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
  • Are more likely to retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

People Who Bully Others:

  • Have a higher risk of abusing alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults.
  • Are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school.
  • Are more likely to engage in early sexual activity.
  • Are more likely to have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults. In one study, 60% of boys who bullied others in middle school had a criminal conviction by age 24.
  • Are more likely to be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses or children as adults.

People Who Witness Bullying:

  • Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.
  • Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
  • Are more likely to miss or skip school.

Everyone can help prevent and stop bullying. Adults have the responsibility to protect and be a role model for kids, teens, and young adults.

No matter who you are or who you represent, you can influence lives and maybe even save a life.

Everyone needs to be aware not only about the warning signs and effects of bullying, but also about the ways to intervene and support both the person being bullied and the one bullying others

If you would like to attend the attached flyer courses please contact united way. If you are not in the Clovis area contact me for additional information.

SAFETY FIRST, SAFETY ALWAYS!

Information from www.Stopbulling.gov , United Way(multiple others in the attached flyer) and Clovis Police Dept. Daron Roach

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com

One thought on “Cyber Bullying and Bullying Safety Awareness

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