Alice Johnson Junior High is a Bullying-free Zone.
Unfortunately, teasing is often part of growing up — almost every child experiences it. But it isn't always as innocuous as it seems. Words can cause pain. Teasing becomes bullying when it is repetitive or when there is a conscious intent to hurt another child. It can be verbal bullying (making threats, name-calling), psychological bullying (excluding children, spreading rumors), or physical bullying (hitting, pushing, taking a child's possessions).How Bullying Starts
Bullying behavior is prevalent throughout the world and it cuts across socio-economic, racial/ethnic, and cultural lines. Researchers estimate that 20 to 30 percent of school-age children are involved in bullying incidents, as either perpetrators or victims. Bullying can begin as early as preschool and intensify during transitional stages, such as starting school in 1st grade or going into middle school.
Victims of bullying are often shy and tend to be physically weaker than their peers. They may also have low self-esteem and poor social skills, which makes it hard for them to stand up for themselves. Bullies consider these children safe targets because they usually don't retaliate.
Effects of Bullying
If your child is the victim of bullying, he may suffer physically and emotionally, and his schoolwork will likely show it. Grades drop because, instead of listening to the teacher, kids are wondering what they did wrong and whether anyone will sit with them at lunch. If bullying persists, they may be afraid to go to school. Problems with low self-esteem and depression can last into adulthood and interfere with personal and professional lives.
Bullies are affected too, even into adulthood; they may have difficulty forming positive relationships. They are more apt to use tobacco and alcohol, and to be abusive spouses. Some studies have even found a correlation with later criminal activities.
If you're concerned that your child is a victim of teasing or bullying, look for these signs of stress:
- Increased passivity or withdrawal
- Frequent crying
- Recurrent complaints of physical symptoms such as stomach-aches or headaches with no apparent cause
- Unexplained bruises
- Sudden drop in grades or other learning problems
- Not wanting to go to school
- Significant changes in social life — suddenly no one is calling or extending invitations
- Sudden change in the way your child talks — calling herself a loser, or a former friend a jerk
State laws have been implemented to address the epidemic of bullying in schools. Listed below are some of the laws that have been passed.
SB 407 – Requires the Texas School Safety Center to develop programs that address “sexting” (sexually explicit material or photos sent by text message), and better responses to incidents of bullying and “cyberbullying” (bullying through the Internet).
SB 471 and HB 1942 – Starting in 2012-2013 – Expands the requirements on school districts to address bullying and harassment, such as parental notification, programs for students and staff, providing counseling to bullies and victims and protecting those who report bullying. Charter schools also are required to adopt a policy on sexual abuse starting this year.
HB 1942 – Expands the definition of bullying and allows school districts to transfer the bully to another classroom or campus within the district.
HB 1386 – Requires the development of intervention and prevention programs to train school staff to recognize potential suicide victims, to include those students targeted by bullies.
FOR STUDENTSBullying.orgThis website is designed to teach kids and teens about bullying. It offers on-line training and resources to learn about ways to stop bullying in your schools.
BullyingThis site provides information on what adults can do to help kids who are victims of bullies as well as kids who are bullies.Below is some tips for keeping your child safe.Internet Safety
Students are living in a powerful digital world that requires them to interact in non-traditional ways. These new interactions require new social expectations, safety precautions, and literacy. There is a need to promote ethical, responsible, and safe interaction in a digital world.
- 6% of teens receive requests for personal information
- 54% of teens frequently have private conversations with online strangers through instant messaging
- 42% of teens said they have posted personal information online
- 30% of teens reported that they have talked with a cyber stranger about meeting in person
- 16% of teens discovered that someone online was an adult pretending to be much younger
CyberbullyingThe same rules apply online as in real life about how to treat other people. Unfortunately, people don't always treat each other well online, and you, or a friend, may find that you are the target of cyberbullying. You might be teased or have false rumors spread about you online, receive nasty messages or even threats. It can happen in school, or out of it, any hour of the day, from people you know, and sometimes people you don't know. It can leave you feeling unsafe and alone.
- 14% kids have actually met face to face with a person they have met on the Internet
- Most kids will not report inappropriate Internet contact to their parents because they are afraid of losing Internet privileges
- Only 6% of teens on social networking sites use privacy controls on their profiles
- 4,000,000 children are posting content to the Web everyday
No-one has the right to bully another person. At its most serious, cyberbullying is illegal and can be investigated by the police. You may find some of these videos useful:
Cyberbullying, which is sometimes referred to as online social cruelty or electronic bullying, can involve:
- Sending mean, vulgar, or threatening messages or images
- Posting sensitive, private information about another person
- Pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad
- Intentionally excluding someone from an online group (Willard, 2005)
Children and youth can cyberbully each other through:
- Instant messaging
- Text or digital imaging messages sent on cell phones
- Web pages
- Chat rooms or discussion groups
- Other information communication technologies
How Common Is Cyberbullying?
Although little research has been conducted on cyberbullying, recent studies have found that:
18% of students in grades 6-8 said they had been cyberbullied at least once in the last couple of months; and 6% said it had happened to them 2 or more times (Kowalski et al., 2005).
11% of students in grades 6-8 said they had cyberbullied another person at least once in the last couple of months, and 2% said they had done it two or more times (Kowalski et al., 2005).
19% of regular Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17 reported being involved in online aggression; 15% had been aggressors, and 7% had been targets (3% were both aggressors and targets) (Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004).
17% of 6-11 year-olds and 36% of 12-17-year-olds reported that someone said threatening or embarrassing things about them through email, instant messages, web sites, chat rooms, or text messages (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2006).
Cyberbullying has increased in recent years. In nationally representative surveys of 10-17 year-olds, twice as many children and youth indicated that they had been victims and perpetrators of online harassment in 2005 compared with 1999/2000 (Wolak, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2006).
Ignore it. Don't respond to the bully. If they don't get a response they may get bored and go away.
Block the person. This will stop you seeing messages or texts from a particular person.
Tell someone. Tell an adult you can trust. You may want to talk to your mom, dad or a brother or sister. You can also approach a school counselor or teacher. Tell someone you trust who can help.
Keep the evidence. This can be useful in tracking the bully down. Save texts, emails, online conversations or voicemails as evidence.
Report it to:
your school-they should have policies in place about bullying and cyberbullying.
your ISP and/or phone provider, or the website administrator- there are actions they can take to help.
the police-if there is a threat to your safety the police will help. Call Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-8477 .
If a friend is being cyberbullied
It can be hard to know if your friends are being cyberbullied. They might keep it to themselves. If they are being cyberbullied, you might notice that they may not chat with you online as much, suddenly receive lots of SMS messages or are unhappy after they have been on the computer or checked their phone messages. They may stop hanging around with friends or have lost interest in school or social activities.
Help stop cyberbullying
Stand up and speak out!
If you see or know about cyberbullying happening to a friend, support them and report the bullying. You'd want them to do the same for you.
Don't forward on messages or pictures that may be offensive or upsetting to someone. Even though you may not have started it, you will be seen to be part of the cyberbullying cycle.
Remember to treat others as you would like to be treated when communicating online.
http://www.datehookup.com/content-cybersafety-prevention-101.htm (thanks to the students of Pathway to Empowerment for this website!)Social Networking
Social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram are quickly becoming tools for bullying and making threats. Children need to be reminded that the words they write and the images they post have consequences offline. OnGuardOnline.gov provides several tips for parents to use to help kids use social networking sites safely:
Sexting Prevention Education Program
- Help your kids understand what information should be private.
- Explain that kids should post only information that you – and they – are comfortable with others seeing.
- Use privacy settings to restrict who can access and post on your child's Web site.
- Remind your kids that once they post information online, they can't take it back.
- Talk to your kids about avoiding suggestive talk online.
- Tell your kids to trust their gut if they have suspicions. If they ever feel uncomfortable or threatened by anything online, encourage them to tell you.
TxSSC is proud to announce the Sexting Prevention Educational Program for Texas. This program may be used in part or in its entirety as an educational tool. There is also an accompanying test to demonstrate successful completion of this program. A certificate of successful completion is available for printing, upon answering 80% or more of the test questions correctly. The Sexting Prevention Educational Program places special emphasis on preventing sexting by minors to address the legal, social, emotional, educational and/or career impact.