Category Archives: safety
Posted by Kate
October is National Bullying Prevention Month
My colleagues and I are lucky enough to work in a school that doesn’t have a high rate of bullying or cyberbullying, which is one of the nice features of a character-building institution. The kids are fairly good at policing themselves, and the administration and staff are great at working with the students to handle potential problems before they get started.
Unfortunately, as we have seen in the past few weeks, bullying isn’t just limited to elementary school . The “Phoebe Prince phenomenon” (named after the 15-year-old Massachusetts student who hanged herself because of intense ongoing harassment by her peers) has exploded into “bullycide” or death by bullying. The Week has compiled a short list of legally significant bullycide cases; however, this list is current only to April and does not include mention of recent cases such as Billy Lucas (Sept. 9), Cody J. Barker (Sept. 13), Seth Walsh (Sept. 19), Tyler Clementi (Sept. 22), Asher Brown (Sept. 23), Harrison Chase Brown (Sept. 25), Raymond Chase (Sept. 29), Felix Sacco (Sept. 29), and Caleb Nolt (Sept. 30).
Many of the teenagers on that list were victims of cyberbullying; they were harassed by their peers through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, instant message, cell phone text messages, YouTube videos, and email. According to this article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, cyberbullying is much more intense than traditional schoolyard bullying because ”victims are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week ” (Gupta). Bullying no longer stops when the victim goes home for the day. Instead, bullies can now reach their targets at any time. Bullies can now be completely anonymous, using screen names to hide their identities, and can involve a larger number of people– even people who don’t know the victim.
Like victims of schoolyard bullying, victims of cyberbullying report ongoing feelings of threat, difficulty sleeping, concentration problems, emotional problems, the perception that their lives are “rife with difficulty”, and physical pain such as headaches and stomachaches (Gupta) . They are reluctant to go to school and may withdraw from or stop using social media sites as well as withdrawing from their peers and families. Frequently, those close to the victim report that the victim never told them about the bullying.
It’s difficult– if not impossible– to control what our students do online in their free time. I believe that the best we can do is teach them the skills both to function online in a mature way and also to stand up to, ignore, or avoid people who want to use the Internet to harass and harm them. Below, I’ve compiled a short list of anti-bullying resources for parents, teachers, and students. I encourage everyone to read up on the methods and effects of cyberbullying, and to encourage our kids to be more aware of the effects of bullying.
Resources for Students
Resources for Teachers and Parents