26 Oct Bullying Prevention And Awareness
October is Bullying Prevention Month, and many schools and other organizations are busy getting the word out about preventing and stopping bullying in its tracks. Bullying can sometimes be challenging to detect, as often the perpetrators conduct their activities out of the line of sight of authority figures. Victims may hesitate to report bullying as sometimes this can increase the bullying or make it more severe if the perpetrator discovers that the victim has reported them. While bullying may never be entirely eradicated, awareness and tools such as teaching empathy can help. Children and adults can be taught ways to include others and why bullying is wrong.
Bullies often single out those who are different in some way. This could be someone that does not have money to dress like others, someone with a learning disability, or those who identify as LGBTQ+. While we often look at bullying as something that occurs at school and is targeted at children and adolescents, bullies exist in workplaces, too, and victims can be adults. Bullies can also be online and engage in cyberbullying. It is essential that children, teens, and adults be aware of bullying and what to do when it occurs.
Bullying comes in many forms. Bullying that occurs online is known as cyberbullying. This can include posting pictures of the victim without their permission, texting, and posting about the victim in private groups. Bullying can be verbal or physical. Name-calling is bullying as well as physically injuring someone. All types of bullying can have similar effects on the victim.
Don’t Allow People to Feel Left Out
Many people have not imagined how it could feel about attending a new school or feeling left out of an activity. Imagining how others might feel is a valuable activity, especially if you have never felt left out. It is a good idea to make a new friend at school or at work, modeling the correct behavior to others. People often follow those in charge, so make a point of befriending those who are new or considered different. Teachers and administrators can make an impact by befriending all and making others feel included.
Confront the Bully
Bullies will often cease their behavior when confronted. The victim may not feel comfortable standing up for themselves, so do it for them. Standing up to a bully is one of the most effective methods of stopping it. If you need help, enlist a trusted adult to confront the bully with you. Often, once one person defends a victim, others will follow suit.
Start a Conversation
Initiate a conversation with your peers about how to stop bullying at your school or organization. Allow those who have been victims to speak up and discuss their experiences. Along with others, discuss ways to prevent bullying from occurring. Activities that increase inclusion are an excellent first step. These can include not allowing someone to eat alone in the lunchroom, learning more about others who are different from you, and using inclusive language. Inclusive language avoids stereotypes and bias. It helps make people feel included and like they belong. Referring to a group of people as ‘guys’ when the group is a mixture of genders might make someone feel excluded. Be aware of the imagery used in presentations and items such as posters; make sure imagery reflects our multi-cultural society.
Hold an Event
Many organizations choose to hold bullying prevention and awareness events, such as walks, wearing a particular color, or creating a video. Fundraisers can be held for bullying prevention groups. Awareness can be increased using social media, email, and texting. There are many ways to get the word out about bullying.
There are numerous resources online to assist in holding a bullying prevention event or activity. These resources include coloring books, posters, videos, craft ideas, games, and newsletters. Books for all ages are available to address bullying and its aftereffects. For workplaces, the Human Resources department may have ideas on how to educate employees about bullying.
Create a Code of Conduct
Having a code of conduct for a school or organization can go a long way towards defining what is unacceptable behavior and the consequences for bullies. A code of conduct can empower bystanders to step in and stop a bullying incident. Sometimes knowing that people are watching for bullying behaviors can stop a bully while at school or work.
Bullying has Lasting Effects
Bullying can have lasting effects on its victims. Victims may choose to drop out of school or quit their job to avoid being bullied. Many victims develop PTSD, anxiety, and other issues that may stick with them for life. The long-term effects of being bullied can go beyond mental health. Those who were physically bullied can have lasting effects from their injuries.
Here at Viewpoint Center, we can help adolescent victims deal with the aftereffects of bullying-related trauma. Our admissions team can help with any questions you may have. However, we would like to see bullying eradicated if possible. Raising awareness and standing up for victims can go a long way towards the cessation of bullying in our society.