Tips from a local expert to put an end to bullying

Every day, nearly 160,000 children in America miss school because they are scared of bullying, according to the National Education Association. One in four children report being bullied.

According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Department of Education, in 2015 Indiana ranked in the top 10 worst states in the nation for bullying in schools.

  • 1 in 4 IN students reported being bullied during the school year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2013).
  • 6% of IN high school students skip school because of feeling unsafe in school or on their way to school (YRBS, 2015).
  • 18% of IN high school students were bullied in 2015 (YRBS, 2015).
  • 16% of IN students reported being bullied online (CDC, 2014; YRBS 2015).
  • Bullies at age 8 are five times more likely to have a serious criminal record by age 30 than non-bullies.
  • Bullying victims and by-standers have significant increases in depression, use of drugs and alcohol.  Skipping school is as prevalent among observers/by-standers as it is for the bullying target/victim.
  • 30% of IN high school youth carried a weapon (gun, knife, club) in past 12 months; 11% have carried a gun within the past month; and 8% have taken a weapon on school property (YRBS, 2015).
  • Indiana is second in the nation for teenage suicide attempts.  10% of Indiana youth attempted suicide in 2015!  There is a strong correlation between bullying and suicide. (YRSB, 2015).
  • Bullying victims are 32 times more likely than their peers to experience depression and 13 times more likely to attempt suicide.

During the 2013 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed HEA 1423, which changed the definition of bullying and established bullying prevention and intervention program requirements for the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and school corporations.

Most parents do not understand what defines bullying versus teasing or fighting.  Only 1/3 of kids who are bullied will tell an adult.  Tattling is telling an adult something in order to get someone else in trouble.  Reporting is telling an adult something to help someone whose feelings, body, or things are being hurt.  We encourage kids to report bullying to a trusted adult.

Bullying is defined as:

  • Fighting, threatening, name-calling, teasing, or excluding someone repeatedly and over time
  • An imbalance of power, such as size or popularity
  • Physical, social, and emotional harm
  • Hurting another person to get something

There are four types of bullying:

  • Physical Bullying: This is when a bully uses their body to hurt another person (hitting, kicking, etc.)
  • Verbal Bullying: This is when someone uses words to hurt another person (name-calling, teasing, etc.)
  • Social Bullying: This is when someone leaves someone else out on purpose or tries to get other people not to like someone.
  • Cyberbullying: This is using technology like a phone, tablet, or computer to hurt or make fun of someone else.

Parents can play a central role to preventing bullying and stopping it when it happens. Here are a few things parents can do.

  • Teach kids to solve problems without using violence and praise them when they do.
  • Give children positive feedback when they behave well to help their build self-esteem. Help give them the self-confidence to stand up for what they believe in.
  • Ask your children about their day and listen to them talk about school, social events, their classmates, and any problems they have.
  • Take bullying seriously. Many kids are embarrassed to say they have been bullied. You may only have one chance to step in and help.
  • If you see any bullying, stop it right away, even if your child is the one doing the bullying.  Adult intervention is key to ending bullying.
  • Encourage your child to help others who need it.  Teach kids to be Upstanders!  Over half of all bullying stops after a peer intervenes.
  • Be role models.  Don't bully your children or bully others in front of them. Many times kids who are bullied at home react by bullying other kids. If your children see you hit, ridicule, or gossip about someone else, they are also more likely to do so themselves.
  • Support bully prevention programs in your child's school.

For more information: www.socialhealth.org, call 317-667-0340 or email info@socialhealth.org