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Fast Facts About National Bullying Prevention Month

Childhood bullying is like the elephant in the room that some adults just don't notice. It's a big problem, and when it gets out of control, it often affects everything in its path. Bullying changes relationships and choices. It alters the way a child views their life. For adults, the behaviors are often difficult to prevent or detect without notice. National Bullying Prevention Month gives you an opportunity to focus on this big problem.

3 Ways You Can Support National Bullying Prevention Month

As a caseworker, your schedule is already overflowing with critical tasks and responsibilities. You can still make a commitment to acknowledge National Bullying Prevention Month all year long by incorporating caring behaviors into every interaction. 

1. Create a level of trust. When a foster child trusts you, they are more likely to disclose that they are victims of bullying or harassment. 

2. Ensure that each child knows they are loved. Foster children need to understand that they are unique and strong and deserve love and respect. When they do, they are less likely to become a target.

3. Equip children with anti-bullying skills. Help children understand that someone else's bad behavior isn't about them. Teach them coping strategies. For example, they can firmly tell a bully to stop or deflect bullying behavior with humor or other responses. Additionally, teach children to not respond emotionally, and tell a teacher or other trusted adult.

When is National Bullying Prevention Month?

In the United States, people and organizations observe the event throughout October. When you learn more about bullying, you understand how and why it affects families, children, and the relationships you facilitate. 

What is Bullying?

  • Bullying usually involves aggressive, unwanted behavior. 
  • It creates an actual or perceived power imbalance.
  • The behavior is often repetitive.

How Common Is the Problem?

  • Research shows that of children aged 12 to 18 nationwide, 20% have been bullying victims. 
  • Bullying is an international problem affecting up to one-third of all youth worldwide. 

Who Becomes a Bully or a Victim?

Bullies and the people they bully have no distinct, identifiable profiles.

  • Bullies and their victims come from all circumstances.
  • In fact, sometimes a bully becomes a bullying victim.
  • Children describe the bullies who victimize them as socially influential, able to influence how others perceive them, physically larger, stronger, or better off financially. 

What Types of Bullying Behaviors happen Most Frequently?

Victims suffer from variations in these common types of aggressive behavior.

  • Bullies might cause physical harm, such as hitting, kicking, tripping, spitting, and shoving.
  • Verbal Abuse may occur, including threats, teasing, and name-calling.
  • Additionally, social and relational methods of bullying could include creating and spreading rumors and lies, or ostracizing victims from social groups.
  • Finally, a bully may even damage the victim's personal property.

Where Does Bullying Behavior Usually Occur?

Bullying often occurs at school, online (cyberbullying), and in the community where a victim lives. In addition, bullies often strike at a variety of locations and times. These may include school hallways, stairwells, bathrooms, online or in texts, or outside of school property. 

Does Bullying Have Long-Term Consequences?

Bullying has short-term and long-term consequences for the victim and for others. We've outlined both below.

Bullying Behaviors Affect Victims

  • Bullying can directly affect a child's ability to learn in school. Ultimately, their grade point averages suffer.
  • Affected children often experience isolation and low self-esteem.
  • Additionally, victims sometimes experience sleep disruption, headaches, stomachaches, and other physical issues. 
  • Bullied children are more likely to experience depression and health complaints.
  • Victims sometimes skip school or drop out.
  • A small number of victims retaliate violently. 

A Bully's Behavior Affects Themselves

  • Kids who bully often carry antisocial behaviors into adulthood.
  • As adolescents and adults, bullies sometimes abuse alcohol or drugs. 
  • They sometimes remain violent and get involved in fights. 
  • They are more likely to abuse their partners, spouses, and children.
  • They often end up with a criminal record.

Bullying Affects Those Who Witness the Behavior

Children who witness these types of behaviors are more likely to develop some of the same issues as bullies and their victims.

  • Witnesses have an increased tendency to use tobacco, alcohol, or other substances. 
  • They have higher rates of mental health issues such as depression.
  • They are more likely to skip school

Does Bullying Cause Suicide?

Being a victim sometimes puts children at risk for suicide. However, research has not documented it as a direct cause. When a person commits suicide, it often involves a number of other issues. 

Is Bullying Illegal?

  • If an act of bullying involves violence or other criminal behaviors, state and local laws can initiate criminal prosecution.
  • Legislatures and school districts in all 50 states have enacted laws, regulations, school policies, and other standards to prevent bullying. State laws often require school districts to develop anti-bullying policies. 
  • There is no federal law dealing directly with this issue, but state and federal anti-discrimination laws sometimes apply.
  • If an act of bullying involves discriminatory harassment of an individual in a protected class, the victim has additional rights. For example, protected classes include race, national origin, color, sex sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or religion. Regulations require federally funded schools to take action. If they don't, a child's family or legal guardian should file a complaint with the local school district. Additionally, they should seek guidance and assistance from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights or the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.

Contact Us

At extendedReach, we are always looking for new ways to make your case management tasks less paper-heavy and more productive. To learn more about our innovative social service agency software solutions,  request a demo today.

Sources:

Stopbullying.gov

Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Unesco Institutes for Statistics

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