February 17, 2009

Bully No More

Janet Golden, Program Leader 4-H Youth Development & Distance Education, Pinellas County Extension

What exactly is bullying? Bullying among children and youth is defined as, “an aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength.” Bullying can take place in many forms, including physical, verbal, nonverbal/emotional, cyberbullying, and sexual harassment. Each one of them is very serious and often a young person is bullied by using more than one of these forms.

Bullying is epidemic amongst children and youth today. Bullying has become such a national concern that in December of 2003, the federal government announced it as a public health issue. Schools are also reporting that bullying is of major concern. While school violence has declined overall, bullying has actually increased by 5%. One study found that as many as 80-90% of adolescents report that they have been the victims of at least one type of bullying in their lifetime. Other studies show that 15-25% of students are bullied with frequency.

Take a few minutes to read the statements below from the Stop Bullying Now Campaign and decide if they are true or false.
  • Bullying is the same thing as conflict.
  • Most bullying is physical.
  • Bullying isn’t serious. It is just a matter of “kids being kids.”
  • Bullying does not happen at my child’s school.
  • Bullying is more likely to happen on the bus that at school.
  • Children and youth who are bullied will almost always tell an adult.
  • Children and youth who bully are mostly loners with few social skills.
  • Bullied kids need to learn how to deal with bullying on their own.
  • Most children and youth who observe bullying do not want to get involved.
If you answered false to all of these questions then you passed. The above statements are all myths about bullying. Bullying is an extremely serious issue that has consequences for those being bullied, such as poor school performance, depression, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, and fear.

As adults we would not put up with this type of behavior from our peers. Children and youth should not either, but often they need our help as adults in dealing with this serious issue. We need to join together in our schools and communities and first understand bullying and then do something about it. On March 4th from 12:15-12:45 I will be offering a free webinar called “Bully No More: Tips for Parents” to talk about the issues related to bullying and to give tips for parents and other concerned adults in dealing with bullying. To attend this webinar visit and select the 'Register Now' link located to the right of the program description.


No comments:

Post a Comment