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Bullying Awareness and Prevention Resources


With so many stories circulating on the Internet of students being bullied at school and online, bullying has become a national issue that requires immediate and ongoing action, which is why October is designated Bullying Prevention Month. Knowing how bullying manifests, recognizing when a child is being bullied, and having the strategies and resources to respond to it is instrumental in making schools and online platforms safe.


What is bullying?


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines bullying as “any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths...that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance, and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated.” It can be physical (i.e., shoving, hitting, pushing), verbal (name-calling or teasing), or relational (i.e., spreading rumors or isolating someone from a group of friends).


How many kids are being bullied?


The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice reported that 20% of 12-18 year-olds have experienced bullying in the United States, with 15% of these students reporting cases of cyberbullying. The number is even higher for LGBTQI+ youth, with 32% of high schoolers being bullied at school and 26.6% experiencing cyberbullying nationwide, according to the CDC’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.


What can I do as a parent?


1. Know the signs.


Kids and teens who are victims of bullying may be exhibiting these behaviors, such as avoiding social gatherings with other kids (i.e., clubs/organizations, school events, and afterschool activities), refusing to go to school, appearing withdrawn or anxious, eating less, and losing interest in activities they previously enjoyed. If you notice any of these signs, schedule a meeting with your child's teacher to discuss their behavior at school. Counseling and other mental health services are also excellent resources to help your child.


2. Talk about bullying.


Creating open and honest communication with your child is essential for them to feel comfortable talking to you about bullying. These free starter cards provide questions you can ask your child to start the conversation.


3. Establish guidelines for digital media use.


Cyberbullying can occur on social media, text messaging, and online gaming communities. Guidelines for using these platforms can include time limits for how long they can be on each app or game, which apps they’re allowed to use, and privacy and security settings. Discuss the risks of each digital medium with your child and why it’s important to have these guidelines in place to keep them safe. For more resources and strategies, download StopBullying.gov’s free cyberbullying guide.


What can I do as an educator?


1. Train school staff.


Discuss your school’s policies and procedures on reporting and addressing bullying with staff. Bullying prevention seminars, presentations, and meetings are all beneficial ways to equip everyone with the tools needed to respond to bullying.


2. Attend a webinar.


The Federal School Safety Clearinghouse is hosting a free bullying awareness and prevention webinar for K-12 educators on October 26, 2021, from 3-4 p.m. EDT. In this webinar, attendees will learn practical skills to use when confronting bullying in classrooms and strategies to prevent it from happening in the future.


3. Show videos in your classroom.


This animated web series by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tailors its anti-bullying message to both younger and older audiences. After watching the videos, ask your students how they would respond to those situations if they were the characters.


While bullying won't end overnight, awareness and discussion can help prevent it in the future. With these strategies in place, both the virtual and digital worlds can be safer and brighter for children and youth.


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