3 Keys to Becoming an Upstander to Bullying
Bullying—both physical and indirect, the latter through social media—is an ongoing issue that affects students every day. In fact, national surveys show that 28 percent of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying and that 15 percent of high school students were electronically bullied, or cyberbullied, in the past year.
While bullying is the kind of behavior parents hope their children will never encounter, the problem is widespread, so it’s smart to be prepared. In recognition of October as National Bullying Prevention Month, here are three important steps that you can take to empower your family to stand up against bullying.
- Make sure to provide your child with knowledge about bullying and cyberbullying. Offer some examples of things that a bully might do or say. This will help your student better understand. And, of course, let your student know that he or she can always come to you for help!
- Before your child starts being active on social media, teach him or her some social media etiquette. With the daily rise of social media websites, cyberbullying is quickly increasing—but kids can easily learn how to be respectful online.
- Remind your child that it is always important to be kind to others. Explain why treating someone poorly can sometimes have negative consequences.
- If you suspect that your child is being bullied, look for warning signs. He or she might be too scared or embarrassed to talk about it, but you should stay actively alert. Your student’s school counselor can provide suggestions and work with you to resolve the situation.
- Keep a close eye on your child’s social media pages. Even if you already had a discussion about being polite online, it doesn’t hurt to take a look once in a while just to make sure the environment is positive.
- Take Action
- Sometimes encountering a bully or cyberbully is inevitable, but there are safe ways to respond to bullying. Encourage your child to speak up and to take action with your guidance and support.
- You could prevent bullying from happening by developing your child’s conflict resolution skills. Kids often resort to bullying because they don’t know how to properly deal with a specific issue. A little clarity and knowledge about conflict can really make a difference between being an upstander vs. a bystander to bullying!
Bullying is hardly a new problem, but with its damaging effects in the spotlight recently, public awareness has grown. We encourage you to build upon this awareness and have your family take a positive stand against this negative behavior.
What are some ways you help your child learn about or overcome bullying? Share your tips in the comments below.
About the Author
Stephanie Osorno holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Stevenson University, and a master’s degree in professional writing from Towson University. As the media intern for the English department at Stevenson University, Stephanie blogged about education-related topics on a weekly basis. During graduate school, she worked at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, where she helped a group of students develop their creativity and writing skills by overseeing the production of the school’s first magazine publication, The Rambler.