A recent study found that high school students who’ve been bullied were twice as likely to carry a gun to school than those who weren’t bullied. Regardless of where you stand on gun control, the message from this research is clear: We need to find ways to reduce and prevent bullying.
But, first: What is bullying?
According to this government website aimed at curbing the prevalence of this violence:
“Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.”
To be categorized as bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An Imbalance Of Power – Bullies may be physically stronger, more powerful socially, or have access to information that could hurt or embarrass the other person. This power dynamic could change over time, which could lead to a role reversal.
- Repetition – The behavior must be repeated, or have the potential to be repeated.
Bullying comes in many forms including:
- Physical – Pushing, hitting, tripping, shoving, taking or breaking someone’s things, etc.
- Social – Using relationships to hurt people, leaving people out, spreading rumors, telling people not to be friends with someone, purposely embarrassing someone in public.
- Verbal – Threatening, name-calling, teasing, inappropriate sexual comments, etc.
- Cyber – Bullying over the phone or internet. Could be social or verbal. One common form of cyber-bullying includes spreading embarrassing or suggestive photos of someone that were taken without that person’s permission.
Kids can be involved in bullying situations in three ways; They can be the bully, the bullied, or the bystander. None of these roles lead to happiness, as bullying is a negative experience for everyone involved.
What gives us hope, is that there are more and more sites like this one, where children can learn different strategies to prevent bullying. Things like:
- Talking to parents and teachers about what is happening
- Standing up for kids who are being bullied
- Writing blogs to prevent bullying
- Taking an anti-bullying pledge
- Talking to teachers and principals to discover a plan of action
What’s more, this ingenious teen developed an app called Sit With Us, so that kids never have to sit alone in the lunchroom again. If you’ve ever switched schools, or just been placed in a lunch hour where you don’t have any friends, you know the anxiety that can come when you are walking with your tray of food while trying to find a table to sit at. Sit With Us eliminates those awkward moments by allowing friendly people to designate themselves as ambassadors, who are willing to take new friends at their tables. That way, anyone looking for a place to sit can plan ahead, using their phone. We love that idea! And we also love that it came from someone who is a teen herself. Way to go, Natalie Hampton!
If you’d like to learn more strategies to reduce and prevent bullying, contact us. We are here to help!