As is often said, knowing is half the battle. But do you know how to tell if a child or teen is being harassed at school? Recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control suggest than between 1 in 3, and 1 in 4 youth are affected by bullying. And more than 70% of young people say they have witnessed bullying, firsthand. Here are a few ways you can help make a difference in your community by helping to curb the bullying trend.
Learn about the risks.
The US Government has developed a comprehensive website on the topic of bullying, where you can learn how to identify the warning signs of bullying, learn about its effects, and find out how to prevent it. There are also resources you can review directly with teens to help them spot the risks, learn how to respond, and where to go for help. The Youth Engagement Toolkit is a printable PDF with step-by-step instructions for parents to follow. You can share this with family, neighbors and friends.
It’s not just a playground thing.
The age of name calling on the playground has evolved into something much more profound. Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. And with the increased prevalence of electronic devices among America’s youth, the risk can increase as well. A 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that an estimated 16% of high school students were bullied electronically in the 12 months prior to the survey. The damage from cyberbullying can escalate as information posted online can quickly and easily be stored and shared.
Spread the word.
One of the first things you can do to help combat bullying is to understand the laws in your area. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to communicate dangers of bullying to your children, grandchildren or youth in your community. These animated webisodes can help to open up the lines of communication between you and a youngster about this important topic. There are also several ways in which to volunteer, such as working with schools to ensure anti-bullying is part of the curriculum, hosting a social media workshop where you teach kids how to recognize cyberbullying and stay safe online, or by volunteering for a help line.
You can inspire the next generation of youth to be anti-bullies by encouraging them to become RAKtivists at randomactsofkindness.org. Almost 15,000 individuals from ages 14 - 89 years young have signed the pledge to become a RAKtivist, committing themselves to do small good deeds whenever possible.
Find more ways to improve the lives of kids in your community, use this simple volunteer search and keyword “youth.”