Do you know how many kids a year are bullied? Or, what to do if your child is one of them? The statistics about childhood bullying are heartbreaking, and here’s what you need to know to help battle the problem.
According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, bullying is defined as an intentional behavior that harms, hurts or humiliates a student. That behavior can be physically or emotionally, and can happen while at school, in the neighborhood/community or even online.
And did you know that one in five children is bullied? According to research looking at 80 different studies that analyzed bullying rates, in 12-18-year-olds, there was an average of 35% reporting of ‘traditional’ (or personal) bullying and 15% cyberbullying. That research was conducted four years ago, and experts reveal the prevalence is rising daily.
While more attention than ever before has been given to anti-bullying efforts, the National Bullying Prevention Center claims that more than a third of students who reported being bullied had it happen at least once or twice a month during a given school year. Imagine that–once or twice a month, one of every five children will face bullying, which includes namecalling, physical altercations or emotional abuse.
More, bullying doesn’t look like it might have when you were growing up–today, cyber-bullying is widespread and according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, fewer than half of all children who experienced bullying will tell an adult at school about it. That’s why it’s more important than ever to look for signs in your children, and keep honest communication open. Some signs might be unexplainable injuries, lost or destroyed items or even recurrent ‘headaches’ and ‘stomach aches’ that may or may not be real, but would keep them out of school.
And, while we hope it’s not our child, we as parents need to be sure we are not the parents of bullies either. Take the time to talk to your children about how they’re kind to other children, and how they protect their friends. Ask questions about whether or not they see or recognize bullying and ask them what steps they take to make sure it doesn’t happen. Stopbullying.gov has several resources if you believe your child might be a bully, as well as resources for those children who fall in the sad statistics of being bullied.
When it comes to protecting your kids from bullying, it’s vital to keep lines of communication open. They have to feel safe telling you about it, and it’s essential to help them understand all the places from which help can come (teachers, trusted adults, clergy, etc.). As well, it’s important that we teach them how to respect others and be kind–which means looking out for others who are being bullied. Let them know they can come to you and together, you can figure out a way to stand up for those being bullied, and hopefully, put it to an end.