Over 25% of children and teens in the US admit to being the victim of bullying, with 15% admitting to being cyber-bullied. The effects of this kind of behavior can cause issues from social anxiety and depression, to eating disorders and even suicide. If you think your child (of any age) is being bullied at school, this article covers several resources that we hope will help.
Please forward these resources on to anyone you think could benefit from them, including teachers.
If we take the definition of bullying put forward by Stopbullying.gov as: “unwanted aggressive behavior; observed or perceived power imbalance; and repetition of behaviors or high likelihood of repetition”, we see that bullying is of two main kinds.
The first is direct, where the victim is present. The second is indirect, where the victim in not present (i.e. spreading rumors and cyber-bullying). This is on top of the obvious different forms of bullying: verbal, physical, relational, and damage of private property.
Each of these forms of bullying can be equally as harmful to the victim as the others. We must tackle them all.
71% — Young people say they have seen bullying in their schools
57% — The proportion of bullying that’s over within 10 seconds if bystanders intervene
25% — Victims of bullying who notify adults about the bullying
But let’s not deceive ourselves with numbers and percentages. Despite almost a third of children and teenagers being bullied, to each one of these victims, it feels as though they are the only person in the world feeling this pain. The challenge is, as the poet Shane Koyczan says in his beautiful spoken poem on bullying, “if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror, look a little closer, stare a little longer!”.
Before moving on to any of the other resources below, I urge you to watch this beautifully edited, heart-breaking silent short film about bullying in High School. It’s just 11 minutes long, but will show like no other short film out there what victims of bullying have to go through. It’ll explain, without words, why this is so important, and why it’s so urgent that we teach our children to deal with bullying as early-on as possible.
For another short film focusing on younger children, watch Just Being Me.
This fantastic site covers a number of practical areas for both parents and younger kids/teens. One particularly useful page is this template of a bullying prevention letter you should be sending to the school if your child is being bullied to ensure they receive the protection needed.
Another great page to check out is this tip sheets for kids to help them know how to deal with bullying, including some perfect advice: “The best revenge is for you to be happy!”
KnowBullying is a free app (Android and iOS) on the SAMHSA website designed to assist in preventing bullying by helping parents to start a daily conversation with their children to “build resilience and help prevent bullying issues”.
The time spent in these conversations with your child will help to build self-confidence, self-belief, and strategies for dealing with bullying. Within the app are conversation starters and reminders, along with information on how to look out for warning signs.
Celebs Who’ve Been Bullied
It’s no surprise that a good number of famous names have been the victim of bullying when they were younger. From Rihanna and Megan Fox, to Barack Obama and Christian Bale (that’s right, Batman), many celebs have been tormented and picked on.
By showing your children that they’re are not alone, and that being bullied has no bearing on their future potential, their likeability, popularity and success, you’ll offer a line of hope and confidence that a standard chat may not be able to offer.
Kids: The kids section of the site is hugely intuitive for children to follow, offering short videos, encouraging words, useful advice and links to other, easy to understand resources that help them out.
TheAndroid and iPhone app also have interactive animations where children can read about different situations and see how different actions control the endings.
Parents: The practical articles here are not just on how to help you child if they are a victim, but also offer guidance on what to do if your child is the one doing the bullying, which is something that’s often overlooked.
This 5 minute, uplifting video from WatchWellCast is a perfect example of what you should be showing your kids if they’re being bullied. Explain who else has been bullied, the silly reasons people are bullied for, and a four step method on how to deal with bullies with the help of the video.
By really sitting down with your kid(s), and talking through their thoughts and concerns, you’ll be doing them a massive favor. Another great video made by the same team is “How to Deal With Cyberbullies“, which is definitely worth a watch.
STOPit is a company that’s working with schools to help prevent cyberbullying with the help of mobile apps. If a child sees something online about themselves, or another student that they think is inappropriate, they can send a message or screenshot about this to the school or a trusted adult/friend (anonymously if they like).
Some of the features on offer include:
2-way anonymous communication
Location aware services for requesting assistance
For schools, an impressive reporting and management platform is available to help deal with any reports that come through. If you think your child’s school could benefit from this new app, advise them to visit the School Program page on the STOPit website.
What’s really needed here, though, isn’t a ton of reading check-lists and self-help articles. It’s an understanding about how bullying makes people feel, and how we can ensure victims know that those things they’re being bullied for, are likely the things that will help them stand out and be successful in the future. They are not alone, and that given time, the bullying will stop.
To end, I’d like to suggest watching the spoken poem by Shane Koyczan that I mentioned at the start of this article. This is a strong reminder of what it’s like to be bullied, and a message of strength to those who are going through it now.
Please, if you know anyone who these resources might benefit, share this article, and also share other resources you’ve found helpful in the comments.