Is your child is acting differently than usual, perhaps more sullen or depressed or withdrawing from family activities? Are their grades declining or are they refusing to participate in activities they have always loved?
These are signs of your child being bullied. When they can’t, or won’t, speak out for themselves, they need you to be their advocate. Bullying is defined as threatening, embarrassing, harassing or otherwise tormenting another child – whether at school or elsewhere. The behavior can be insidious and is often done under the radar screen. This means that bullies generally act under cover of a group of kids who egg them on, or they act online.
When bullying happens online, it’s called “cyber bullying.” Same actions – harassment, tormenting, etc., but done using the Internet or via text. Today’s children can’t get away from this type of bullying. Even when you think they are safe under your roof, the torture can feel overwhelming. It creates fear and embarrassment.
More than a few children in recent years have resorted to extremely drastic measures – even suicide – to escape bullying.
The statistics regarding bullying in the US are upsetting. And, the problem is only getting worse.
- Of the almost 43 percent of kids who say they have been bullied online, one in four kids say that it has happened numerous times.
- Almost 75 percent of students surveyed admit to seeing instances of bullying online.
- Texting via cell phones is the most common tool of the trade for bullies.
- The vast majority of teenagers say they know bullying online exists and, when they see it, they ignore it.
Perhaps the most upsetting statistic? Of all the kids who are bullied and are aware that people they know are the victims of bullying, only 36% of children report bullying when it occurs.
The only way to help a child being bullied is for parents to get more involved. Talk to your kids about find out if they are victims of bullying either in person or online. Also ask if they are aware of bullying and encourage them to speak up.