Do you often observe your child returning home from school depressed or dejected? Do you notice a gradual drop in his grades and find his self-esteem and interest in favorite activities plummet? Well, your child may be a victim of social bullying or internet bullying.
Bullying has increased in recent years to become an epidemic, with millions of children suffering at the hands of bullies each year. And the number of affected kids is only rising. Statistics reveal that over 160,000 children do not attend school each day for fear of bullies. This not only affects their educational process, but also their physical, psychological, and social health. Each year millions of kids and youth experience the overwhelming effects of bullying. From bullying in school or college to a tweet between friends to messages on Facebook, bullying takes place in a wide arena. In fact, BullyingStatistics.org claims that half of all teenagers have been victims of cyber bullying.
So what can we do about helping our kids deal with social or cyber bullying? Well, first, it is important to identify the symptoms victims of bullying may exhibit. Some common warning signs may include:
- Torn clothing
- Mood changes
- Frequent nightmares
- Unexplained injuries
- Sleeping and/or eating problems
- Aggressive behavior at home
- Reluctance to participate in extracurricular activities with peers
- Decline in academic performance at school
- Evidence of physical abuse
- Loss of interest in studies and school work
- Unexplainable injuries
School Crime Supplement statistics reveal children don’t tell adults about bullying for many reasons, including:
- Fear of backlash from the person who bullies them
- Feeling helpless or wanting to handle the matter on their own
- Not wanting their parents or guardians to know what is being said about them
- Fear that adults will punish them for being timid or weak
- Feeling socially isolated
- Feeling as if no one cares for them
- Fear of rejection from peers if they seek help from them
Similarly, it is also important to be attentive of your child’s activities and be aware if they are bullying someone. Children who perpetrate bullying need help and support to feel more sympathetic towards their peers. Here are some warning signs to know if your child is bullying others:
- Increasing aggression
- Is in wrong company – has friends who bully others
- Blames others for problems
- Faces disciplinary action at school
- Doesn’t accept responsibility for misdeeds
- Enters into verbal or even physical fights
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, so let’s take a pledge to fight bullying and related activities and save our children from its scourge.
- Maintain an open door policy while teaching your kid to be attentive. Creating an amicable atmosphere to encourage children to report bullying incidents will help them talk about the fear and embarrassment they have been facing.
- Teach your child not to retaliate. Instead, they should report the mischief to their teachers or parents. Be understanding and show them that you understand their feelings. Remember, your words may hurt if you take a different course. Tell them they are not alone.
- Involve school authorities when your child reports a bullying incident in school. Find out if the school has a strict bullying policy.
- Tell your children to report any bullying incident involving them or any of their peers. Part of the problem is that many students who are bystanders make no efforts to prevent such incidents. Encourage your child to help the kid being bullied get away from the bully.
- Monitor online communications of your child. The easiest way to keep track of all communications is to use an Internet monitoring service and find if there are any warning signs of cyber bullying.
- Trace the mobile number or email address from which your child is being bullied. File a complaint with the cell phone carrier or the Internet service provider or website administrator.
- Consider counseling for your child if they exhibit severe signs of anger, fear, or depression.
- Be open and honest with your child about bullying and how it may affect the victim. Make sure they understand that everyone deserves respect and kindness.