Bullying is a serious problem among young people, and it's not restricted to schools. Ball fields, playgrounds, and other social settings provide ample opportunities for bullies to perfect their craft. If they can't get to their victims there, bullies jump on the cyber highway and use cell phones and the Internet to hound their targets.
Victims of bullying are greatly affected, feeling fear, insecurity, and low self confidence. They may feel friendless and blame themselves for the bullying. They feel helpless – as if no one can protect them – and they don't know where to turn.
Bullying expert Hilda Quiroz is a former teacher who works for the National School Safety Center. According to Quiroz, when victims of bullying become angry, they direct their anger in one of two directions – at themselves or toward others. In some cases, children turn inward and hurt themselves, even commit suicide; or they turn outward and resort to violence, such as school shootings.
There are countless reasons why kids bully – jealousy, low self-esteem, unstable home life, a mental health disorder. Some kids bully because it's how they "fit in" with a popular crowd; others bully as a way to protect themselves from becoming the target.
Bullying is a broad term that encompasses a number of different behaviors, ranging from name calling to serious assaults. Bullying is sometimes done by an individual, sometimes by a group, and it tends to happen over and over again among the same kids.
Adults must take children seriously when they talk about being bullied. It's important for kids to know there are adults in whom they can confide.
Have you ever said, "Kids will be kids," or "It's no big deal"? Bullying is a big deal should be taken seriously. Recent national headlines have shown how bullying can escalate to where kids take their own life or the lives of others.
For more information, visit the Take a Stand, Lend a Hand, Stop Bullying Now national campaign website to find resources to equip you and your children with the tools to effectively tackle bullying issues.
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