Bullying is an epidemic; the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Education released the first federal definition of bullying in 2014. Here are some key words from the definition: repeated, unwanted aggressive behavior, observed or perceived power or imbalance.
So, as October is Bullying Prevention Month, what can we do to tackle this serious issue?
- First, teach kids what bullying is! Stopbullying.gov sums it up well. “Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.” Bullying can be verbal, social, or physical. Sometimes, it can be hard to discriminate teasing from bullying. The defining factors of bullying are:
- Repetition: happens more than once/has the potential to happen more than once
- Imbalance of power: this one is really key. Is the bully physically larger than the victim? Is s/he more popular? Does s/he have access to embarrassing information? Basically, are they harming or controlling the victim?
- Encourage kids to report bullying. Keep the lines of communication open.
- Teach kids strategies to intervene if they see someone being bullied. Confidently telling the bully to “Stop” is often effective, but if this is uncomfortable, using humor to redirect attention is a great strategy as well.
At Connect Us, we teach kids the skills to prevent bullying, and how to stop bullying when they see it. Creating an environment of awareness and acceptance is essential.
To learn more about preventing bullying in schools and in the community, visit stopbullying.gov