Remember when the home was a child's safe haven from neighborhood bullies? Because of the popularity of social media platforms and instant communication via text and messaging apps, children are at risk of becoming a potential target of cyberbullying at any time and from any location, particularly since bullies can remain "virtually" anonymous.
In 2006, October was designated as National Bullying Prevention Month for the first time. Since then, October has served as a reminder that bullying has devastating consequences for children and families, including school avoidance, loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression. Bullying can manifest itself in a variety of ways. It can be verbal, physical, social exclusion, or through digital means such as email, texts, or social media. Bullying can have a negative impact on a person's self-image, social interactions, and academic performance, as well as lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Enough Is Enough is here to provide you with the knowledge and resources you require. Let us begin with a definition of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is defined as the intentional and repeated infliction of harm through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices. It can take the form of hurtful comments, harassment, threats, stalking, or other harmful behavior.
• Has an impact on children's academic, social, and emotional development.
• The majority of teenagers (59%) have been victims of cyberbullying. (Pew Research, 2018)
• Cyberbullying victims were twice as likely to commit suicide or self-harm in other ways. (Science Daily, 2018)
• Cyberbullying was identified as the top classroom safety concern by teachers. (Google Survey, 2019)
Everyone can do something every day to address and prevent bullying.
Bullying should be addressed in school
Educators and teachers can foster a safe, supportive learning environment as well as a positive, inclusive, and respectful classroom culture. Students can be rewarded for positive social behavior. Schools can communicate bullying policies to parents, students, teachers, and staff and then enforce them. Monitoring bullying 'hot spots' around the school campus can also aid in bullying prevention.
Discuss Bullying at Home
Parents and caregivers can talk with their children about school, social media, and the various roles that children can play in bullying. They can talk about their children's experiences and communicate expectations about appropriate behavior in person and in their digital world by asking open-ended questions. Parents are their children's primary role models, and when they model the behavior they expect from their children, they teach through actions.
Help Your Community
Mentors can also serve as role models for kindness, inclusivity, and respect. They can ask their mentees open-ended questions and listen without judgment. Positive reinforcement can help protect children and teenagers from bullying and other risky behaviors. They can also offer support to all of the children involved, ensuring that the bullying does not continue and its effects are minimized.
Youth who are bullied can talk to a trusted adult about it and receive support. They can take screenshots if they are being cyberbullied. Bullying individuals can be blocked. If they see bullying, they can change the subject and deflect it. Youth who witness cyberbullying should not participate in or share the posts or texts. They can learn more about the importance of bystanders in bullying prevention. They can also seek advice from a trusted adult.
Remember, you can do something every day to address and prevent bullying. Be aware, discuss bullying, communicate, and get help if needed.