Taking a Stand: October is National Bullying Prevention Month

kidsLong gone are the days when bullying solely consisted of having your lunch money swiped, receiving "swirlies" in the bathroom, having a "kick me" sign taped to your back, and being tripped in the hallway. With the big part that social media now plays in our daily lives, bullying continues past the ringing of the 3:00pm school bell. Though many instances of bullying are no longer face-to-face, it is becoming more severe and parents need to become aware of this. 

With October being National Bullying Prevention Month, now is the perfect time to talk to your children about bullying. Some parents may think that with better security systems being implemented in schools across the nation, bullying is becoming less of a concern. However, that is far from reality.

According to Harrison Daily, "An estimated 13 million students are bullied annually." This includes both at school and cyberbullying. With cyberbullying, many kids no longer have sanctuary in their own homes. Year after year, we have seen an increase in depression and even suicide as a result."

Turning the Tide

Though there are many more outlets in today's world for bullying to occur, the depression and suicides are tragedies that can be avoided. Instead of turning the other way or assuming our children are faring just fine, parents need to educate themselves about bullying and cyberbullying. Parents need to also not only be approachable for their children, but also be proactive in asking questions and monitoring texts and social media site interactions. We must teach our children to not be silent if they are bullied. As Harrison Daily states:

Don’t stand by: Research has found that when bullying occurs and a bystander intervenes by speaking up, more than half of bullying situations stop within just 10 seconds.

Therefore, it is equally important to teach children to not be a silent bystander if they witness someone being bullied. In fact, the Stomp Out Bullying Campaign is encouraging kids to participate in "Stand Up for Others" week, which begins October 20th.

As a part of National Bullying Prevention Month, students are encouraged to dress in orange on Unity Day, October 22nd. The goal is to show concern and love in a visible way and to show students how powerful they can be, when they work together to stop bullying in their school and community.

Many schools and communities will have local events throughout October in support of National Bullying Prevention Month, so do a local online search to see what activities you can participate in to show your commitment to help stop bullying!

Stopping Bullying

Encourage your children not only to avoid bullying, but also to take an active role against bullying, standing up to friends who they see saying harmful things about others, especially online.

Parents can play an important role in stopping cyberbullying by paying attention to the things their children post on social media outlets, and having frank conversations with them when they think they have said something hurtful.  Parents have the privilege of helping their children grow into responsible members of the community. Teaching your children how important their words can be as positive or negative influences, is just one small part of raising teenagers.

National Bullying Prevention Resources and Events

Bullying can seem like a daunting issue, but together we can face it head on and help our children to grow up safely and free of bullying. Check out and get involved in the National Bullying Prevention Month events:

PACER: PACER's National Bullying Prevention Campaign began NBPM in 2006. This year, the campaign encourages you to share your story, fundraise, hold a school event, or sign the digital petition to stop bullying. You can also participate in October 22nd's Unity Day event by wearing orange and asking teachers to have a UNITY discussion.

Hashtag to Use: #UnityDay2014

StopBullying.gov: The US Department of Health & Human Services has put together an excellent database of resources on bullying for parents, teachers, and kids including inspiring videos, apps, and a webinar series. The campaign encourages teens to share their stories on the campaign's Tumblr and also wants people to get involved on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Hashtag to Use: #StopBullying365

Stomp Out Bullying: The campaign encourages kids to get proactive about bullying through participating in weekly themes.

  • Week of October 13th: Make friends with someone you don't know at school

  • Week of October 20th: STAND UP for others week

Hashtag to Use: #STOMPOutBullying

Cartoon Network: The kids network is doing the Stop Bullying: Speak Up Campaign this month. Anyone can get involved by taking the Speak Up Pledge and sharing it with friends. The Campaign has an abundance ofhighly-recommended resources for both kids and parents who are concerned about bullying, including tip sheets, comics, colorful videos, and blog articles.

Hashtag to Use: #ISpeakUp

                      Bullycide: The Dark Side of Cyberbullying                
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