Partnership For Promise Has Taken On Bullying As Special Focus Area
November 15, 2023 | View PDF
Partnership for promise has taken on bullying as a special focus area. Kids who are bullied can struggle to concentrate in school, which can affect their mental health. Bullying that is severe, long lasting, or happens a lot can cause anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders in victims and bullies. In rare cases, some kids have attempted or died from suicide. One of the most dangerous forms of bullying is cyberbullying.
Sometimes cyberbullying can be easy to spot — for example, if your child shows you a text, comment, or post that is harsh, mean, or cruel. Other acts are less obvious, like posting someone’s personal information, or using photos or videos that hurt or embarrass another person. Someone might make a fake account or screen name to harass and bully, so you don’t know whom the bully is
Kids have almost constant access to their devices, so cyberbullying is hard to escape. Kids and teens can feel like they never get a break and feel the effects very strongly.
Cyberbullies also can be suspended or expelled from school or kicked off of sports teams. Depending on the severity of the cyberbullying, kids also might be in legal trouble.
Many kids and teens who are cyberbullied don’t want to tell a teacher, parent, or trusted adults, often because they feel ashamed or fear that their devices will be taken away at home.
Signs of cyberbullying vary, but may include being emotionally upset during or after using the Internet or the phone being very secretive or protective of one’s digital life spending more time than usual in their room withdrawal from or lack of interest in family members, friends, and activities avoiding school or group gatherings slipping grades and “acting out” in anger at home changes in mood, behavior, sleep, or appetite suddenly wanting to stop using the computer or device being nervous or jumpy when getting a message, text, or email avoiding discussions about computer or phone activities.
If your child is being cyberbullied offer comfort and support. Talking about any bullying experiences you had in your childhood might help your child feel less alone. Let your child know that it’s not their fault. Bullying says more about the bully than the victim. Praise your child for doing the right thing by talking to you about it. Remind your child you’re in this together. Reassure your child that you’ll figure out what to do. Notify the school. Tell the principal, school nurse, or a counselor or teacher about the situation. Many schools, school districts, and after-school clubs have rules for responding to cyberbullying. These vary by district and state. But before reporting the problem, let your child know that you plan to do so, so that you can work out a plan that makes you both feel comfortable. Encourage - your child not to respond to cyberbullying. Doing so just makes the situation worse. Keep records. Keep screen shots of the threatening messages, pictures, and texts. These can be used as evidence with the bully’s parents, school, employer, or even the police. Get help. If your child agrees, meeting with a therapist may help work through feelings. A counselor or mediator at school may work with your child alone or together with you.
What if it’s your kid who’s behaving badly? While that can be upsetting, it’s important to deal with the problem and not expect it to go away. No matter what’s causing the bullying, tell your child that it’s unacceptable. Set and enforce consequences if it continues. If needed, talk with teachers, guidance counselors, and others who might be able to help.
As always, be a role model for your kids. Help them understand the benefits and dangers of the digital world. If you don’t get upset and use angry words in your own posts and replies, they’re less likely to. Talk about healthy ways to respond — or not — when you disagree.