Those that know me will tell you that I cannot stand a bully.  You have NO right to hit, kick, intimidate, rape, sexually assault, lie, spread untrue gossip, or humiliate anyone in public or online.  Parents, I strongly encourage you to find out the how your child’s school handles bullying.  Many schools have adopted a zero tolerance for bullying.  If your school has no policy regarding bullying, talk to the school board about it.

Let’s begin by defining bullying.  Generally, there are four types of bullying (www.ncab.org.au).

Physical bullying

Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching and pushing or damaging property.

Verbal bullying

Verbal bullying includes name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse.

Covert or hidden bullying

This sort of bullying is often harder to recognise and can be carried out behind the bullied person’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation. Covert bullying includes:

  • lying and spreading rumours
  • negative facial or physical gestures, menacing or contemptuous looks
  • playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate
  • mimicking unkindly
  • encouraging others to socially exclude someone
  • damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can be overt or covert bullying behaviours using digital technologies, including hardware such as computers and smartphones and software such as social media, instant messaging, texts, websites and other.

Cyberbullying can happen at any time. It can be in public or in private and sometimes only known to the target and the person bullying. It includes:

  • Abusive or hurtful texts emails or posts, images or videos
  • Deliberately excluding others online
  • Nasty gossip or rumours
  • Imitating others online or using their log-in.

According to http://www.bullying.about.com (which is a great resource):

There is also sexual bullying, which is defined as “repeated, harmful, and humiliating actions that target a person sexually.”  For example, sexual name calling, vulgar comments/gestures, uninvited touching, and sexual propositioning.  Girls are often the targets by both boys and girls.  Boys might touch them inappropriately and make comments about their bodies or proposition them.  Girls might call other girls “slut” or “tramp” or “slut-shaming.”  It is also important to note that “sexting” can lead to sexual bullying.  If a couple breaks up, the ex-boyfriend could share explicit pics with the entire school.

Prejudicial bullying is based on prejudices tweens and teens have toward people of different races, religions or sexual orientation. This type of bullying can encompass all the other types of bullying as well including cyberbullying, verbal bullying, relational bullying, physical bullying and sometimes even sexual bullying.

When prejudicial bullying occurs, kids are targeting others who are different from them and singling them out. Often times, this type of bullying is severe and can open the door to hate crimes. Any time a child is bullied for his race, religion or sexual orientation, it should be reported.

You can read the full article here.

Next let’s discuss the statistics regarding bullying.  According to stopbullying.gov in 2010 and 2011 28% of students in grades 6-12 have experienced bullying (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice).  That’s more that a quarter of students NATIONWIDE. Wow!  In 2013, 20% of students nationwide in grades 9-12 claimed to have experienced bullying (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System).  Research for cyberbullying is growing.  Digital technology changes rapidly making it difficult to design surveys.

Stopbullying.gov is another great resource for parents, teachers, and school administrators.

Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:

  • Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
  • Health complaints
  • Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.

A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:

  • Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
  • Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
  • Engage in early sexual activity
  • Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults
  • Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults
You can read the full article here.
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