October is National Bullying Prevention Month, an opportunity for all of us to learn more about how bullying affects individuals and communities, and about what we can do to prevent it.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services manages the StopBullying.gov website with a comprehensive package of information on bullying, cyberbullying, at-risk children, prevention strategies, and more.
According to the website, a nationwide survey showed that about 20 percent of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying. Nineteen percent of students in grades 9–12 reported being bullied on school property in the 12 months prior to a survey. About 14.9 percent of high school students were electronically bullied in the previous 12 months.
Is bullying a big deal? Yes, considering the effects that bullying can have on both victims and aggressors. In brief, bullying can have a negative long-term impact on mental health, substance use, and it even has links to suicide.
According to StopBullying.gov, kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:
- Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.
- Health complaints.
- Decreased academic achievement, school participation, and attendance.
Kids who bully others are more likely to:
- Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults.
- Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school.
- Engage in early sexual activity.
- Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults.
- Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults.
Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center provides comprehensive resources to engage students in social and emotional learning. They include weeklong curricula, discussion plans, activity kits, infographics, videos, art projects, coloring books, role playing, pledge signing, clubs, Bullying Prevention Month activities, and special websites for teens and kids.
The Tompkins County Bullying Prevention Task Force compiled a guide to bullying prevention resources that also includes:
The Tyler Clementi Foundation, which works to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities;
Cyberbullying Research Center, which provides up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents;
Stomp Out Bullying, which is dedicated to changing the culture for all students. It works to reduce and prevent bullying, cyberbullying and other digital abuse, educates against homophobia, LGBTQ discrimination, racism and hatred, and deters violence in schools, online and in communities across the country.
Click here to DOWNLOAD the Tompkins County Bullying Prevention Task Force’s Bullying Prevention Resources for Schools 2021 guide.
Go to the Bullying Page on The Sophie Fund’s website for more information about how to recognize bullying and respond to it.