What Is Bullying?
When you think of bullying, what do you imagine? A kid in a leather jacket stealing lunch money? The popular kids laughing behind the back of a “friend”? While both of these are examples of bullying, they are not the only forms that bullying can take. StopBullying.gov, a website raising awareness about what bullying is, and the effects it can have on young people, defines bullying as “aggressive behavior among schoolchildren involving a real or perceived power imbalance”, and it can have real consequences for youth who get bullied.
Bullying can include everything from physical intimidation and harm to spreading rumors and other forms of emotionally damaging actions. 20% of kids aged 12-18 are thought to have experienced bullying, and it can have plenty of negative effects on those kids, including decreased academic achievement, struggles with anxiety and depression, and issues with physical health.
While certain children, including racial and religious minorities, LGBT kids, and special needs children, might be at an increased risk of experiencing bullying, anyone can be bullied, and it’s never OK. Warning signs that a child is being bullied include changes in academic success and school attendance, inexplicable injuries or destroyed possessions, avoidance of social situations, and noticeably decreased self esteem.
What Can You Do?
All of this is pretty heavy information, and you may be asking yourself “What can I do to help?” October has been recognized as Bullying Prevention Month since 2006, and provides plenty of opportunities to raise awareness and fight bullying.
To help stop bullying, you can help educate others about what bullying is and how to prevent it, increase awareness by talking about the issue, and encouraging your kids or friends to be kind and inclusive towards others. You can also support Unity Day on Wednesday, October 20, by wearing orange.
To learn more about Bullying Prevention Month, visit here. To learn more about different types of bullying, and access anti-bullying resources, visit stopbullying.gov.
Images from www.pacer.org