Monday, January 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: STOMP Out Bullying

Source: Love Our Children USA

Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students of all races and classes. 1 out of 4 kids is bullied and 42% of kids have been bullied while online. Child and teen Bullying and Cyberbullying are at an all-time high. Some kids are so tormented that suicide has become an alternative for them. It has everyone worried. Not just the kids on its receiving end, but the parents, teachers and others who may not understand how extreme bullying can get. Love Our Children USA is working aggressively to prevent these issues and to help the kids and teens affected by it.

What Is Bullying?
Bullying is when someone hurts or scares another person repeatedly and is never appropriate. The innocent one being bullied feels alone, depressed and scared and feels they have nowhere to turn.

• Spreading bad rumors about someone

• Being mean and teasing someone

• Punching, shoving and hurt someone physically

• Not including someone is a group

• Getting certain kids or teens to "gang up" on others

Bullying also can happen on-line or electronically. Cyberbullying is when kids or teens bully each other using the Internet, mobile phones or other cyber technology. This can include:

• Sending mean text, e-mail, or instant messages;

• Posting nasty pictures or messages about others in blogs or on Web sites;

• Using someone else's user name to spread rumors or lies about someone.

• Stealing someone's password and spreading rumors about someone else making it seem like that person is the Cyberbully.

Forms of Bullying

It's not always easy to determine bullying behavior. How do you know if you're the victim of good-natured ribbing or bullying? Hostility and aggression directed towards a victim who is physically or emotionally weaker than the bully are more obvious signs of bullying. This behavior causes pain and distress for the victim. Bullying comes In various forms:

Physical bullying is the most obvious form of intimidation and can consist of kicking, hitting, biting, pinching, hair pulling, and making threats. A bully may threaten to punch you if you don't give up your money, your lunch, etc.

Verbal bullying often accompanies physical behavior. This can include name calling, spreading rumors, and persistent teasing.

Emotional intimidation is closely related to these two types of bullying. A bully may deliberately exclude you from a group activity such as a party or school outing.

Racist bullying can take many forms: making racial slurs, spray painting graffiti, mocking the victim's cultural customs, and making offensive gestures.

Sexual bullying is unwanted physical contact or abusive comments.

Cyberbullying is one or a group of kids or teens using electronic means via computers and mobile phones (emails, Web sites, chat rooms and texting) to torment, threaten, harass, humiliate, embarrass or target another kid or teen.

Why Do Kids Bully?

Bullies don't need a reason to hurt others. When asked, some replied:

• Because it makes me feel, stronger, smarter, or better than the person I'm bullying

• Because I'm bullied at home

• Because it's what you do if you want to hang out with the right crowd

• Because I see others doing it

• Because it's one of the best ways to keep others from bullying me

Whatever the reason, bullying is not cool. It's mean!

Whether we've done it ourselves, or we know others who are doing it ... it is important for us to understand that bullying is serious and has harmful effects on the lives of our youth.

Maybe it's not happening to you ... but it could. Join Love Our Children USA and help to STOMP Out Bullying.

Are You A Bully?

You've spread nasty rumors about someone verbally, in a note or through email or texting
You've been mean and teased someone, called them names, or made fun of the way they look, dress, act or talk
You've hurt someone you don't like
You've pushed, shoved or punched someone repeatedly—just because
You and your friends exclude others from your group
You're part of a group who is mean to others and who've done these things just to be popular
If you're guilty of any of these very mean behaviors, you are a bully. But you don't have to be

Learn how to treat others with kindness and compassion. You can learn how to be COOL in a good way!

Effects of Bullying

Some people think bullying is "just a fact of life" and don't take it seriously... until someone they know is hurt by bullying.

• 1 out of 4 kids is bullied and 42% of kids have been bullied while online. Child and teen Bullying and Cyberbullying are at an all-time high.

• Some kids are so tormented that suicide has become an alternative for them.

• It can mess up a kid's future. Bullies are more likely to skip school, drop out of school, smoke, drink alcohol, get into fights and be arrested at some point in their life. 60% of boys who were bullies in middle school had at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24.

• As many as 160,000 students may stay home on any given day because they're afraid of their bullies and/or they just can't take the pain anymore

Have You Witnessed Bullying?

If you see others being bullied, you can help stop it. Help to STOMP Out Bullying and get involved! It might be easier to just watch or ignore bullying, but every one of us needs to feel safe! How would you feel if you were being bullied? How do you think the person you are watching who is being bullied feels?

You Can STOMP Out Bullying

Report Bullying

Don't be afraid to tell an adult. Telling isn't tattling! You are helping someone.

Who should you tell? You could tell your parents, teacher, school counselor, school nurse, coach or any adult you trust. Be sure to tell exactly what happened ... who was bullied, who the bully was, where and when it happened. Even if you suspect a kid is being bullied, it's a good idea to report that, too. Most adults really do care about bullying and will be glad that you told them about it.

If you tell an adult and you don't think they are doing anything about the bullying or if the situation isn't improving, tell another adult. Keep telling adults until someone does something to help.

Be A Friend To Someone Who Is Being Bullied

When someone is down they need a friend. Be there for the person who is being bullied. Be a buddy on school grounds, get together after school, include them in activities, Walk home with them, sit with them on the bus. Being an understanding and supportive friend means so much. Show a kid who is being bullied that you care about them.

Stand Up To The Bully

If you feel safe and comfortable, tell the bully that what they are doing is mean and wrong. It's not cool and they should stop. Keep it simple. Do not bully them back. If you are not comfortable standing up to the bully, tell an adult.

Join Love Our Children USA, JoJo and others spreading the word to STOMP Out Bullying.

Learn Who The Bullies Are At Your School

• When and where does bullying happen in school?

• Where do you see kids bullying other kids?

• When and where does it happen in out-of-school places?

• Who is involved - kids who bully, their followers, kids who are bullied, and possible defenders?

• Are there adults around who can help?

Has your school taken a NO TOLERANCE stand when it comes to bullying?
Does your school enforce a No Bullying policy?

If YES, talk with your teachers, counselors and principal and start a group where you and other students can get involved. Start a student advisory group that can meet during student "club" or "activity" times. Share information from this web site with students and adults at your school.

If the answer is NO, talk with a teacher, school counselor, or your principal about starting a program at your school. Show them Love Our Children USA's web site. Invite Love Our Children USA to speak at your school.

You can STOMP Out Bullying in your community too!

Click Here To Learn What Adults Can Do

STOMP Out Bullying is an initiative of Love Our Children USA, the national nonprofit leader that honors, respects and protects children. Its mission is to break the cycle of violence against children. Celebrating its 9th year as 'the Go-To' prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S.

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