Bullying Is Harassment – And You Can Help Stop It
According to Stopbullying.gov, bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. More than just physical abuse, it also includes making threats, spreading rumors or excluding someone from a group on purpose. Bullying seems to be reaching epidemic proportions.
Bullying is pervasive, and has been widely reported. The advent of the Internet means it no longer stops in the schoolyard. The U.S. Department of Education offers these alarming statistics:
- In school year 2008-09, 7,066,000 U.S. students ages 12 through 18, or 28.0 percent of all such students, reported they were bullied at school
- 6.0 percent, or about 1,521,000, reported they were cyber-bullied
Bullying is not childish, playful behavior. It means a lot more than hurt feelings. It disrupts the classroom and causes problems on the playground. Being the target can lead to social isolation for teens. Bullying can be the root cause of much more severe behaviors:
- Sadness, loneliness, and depression
- Low self-esteem, poor body image – and then eating disorders, especially if teased about weight
- Skipping school, bad grades, and being afraid to go to school
- Headaches, stomach aches, and anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
- Thoughts and acts of suicide
As adults, we do not need to sit passively by and watch as our child or one of their friends is bullied. Connecticut, New York and New Jersey all have policies and laws that require intervention. October is Bullying Prevention Month.