Anti-Bully Prevention Month: It Starts with You
Tips to help your child understand the importance of bully-prevention.
Just a generation ago, bullying happened like this: ugly notes left in a locker, damaging words left in the bathroom stalls, and lunch plates flying out of the hands of an innocent bystander. The only safe place? Home.
Today, face-to-face bullying isn't the only way that children and teens are being affected. It seems as though now there is no escape. With cyber-bullying being one of the most common and torturous ways to instigate hatred, the infiltration is seen in homes and almost 24/7. The question to pose is how can you, as a parent, do a better job to teach your kids the value and harm that can be done through these various platforms? The answer: The more you know, the better equipped you are to teach and handle any situation that arises.
October: The History Behind Anti-Bullying Prevention Month
Starting out as a week-long effort to encourage community members to spread the message of bully prevention, Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center just wanted to make a small impact. In reality though, it began to take on its own movement by thousands of people nationwide. Because of this, here we are today with an entire month dedicated to making others aware of how detrimental bullying throughout the world has been and has continued to spiral in recent times.
According to pacer.org, the mission behind Anti-Bullying Prevention Month is to inspire, educate, empower and involve others to help prevent bullying in their community. Since the initial 2006 campaign, ABPM has been the catalyst for countless organizations to stand behind its mission. From StompOut Bullying to the Stop Bullying Now Foundation, preventing others from being bullied and being a bully has been a goal for thousands every month.
When Cyber-Bullying Meets Home: The Charlotte Community
If you're reading this, stopbullying.gov says you have either seen bullying happen to a peer, been the victim of bullying or you are going through it with your own child. It is that common. Charlotte schools and communities are no exception to face-to-face bullying and even more so to cyber-bullying. Just before Memorial Day in 2014, Myers Park High School principle Mark Bosco was prompted to send an email message to parents reminding them to be diligent about monitoring what their teens are using on their phone.
Yik Yak, an app that allows anonymous users to post messages about people within close distance, became the most used and talked about app in less than 24 hours for the high school. Bosco's email stated that posts were derogatory attacks toward teachers, students and other faculty members so much so that posts were going live every 20-30 seconds.
Earlier this year and just a short distance from Mecklenburg county, Ashlyn Haffner, a student of Porter Ridge High School in Union County, committed suicide because of what her mother April Quick believes to be bullying. Haffner left a message in a suicide note on her iPad in February encouraging others to be themselves and to not let anyone decide for them who they are supposed to be in society.
There are numerous accounts of these same stories happening daily in our community. So how can you become informed and help make a difference in your own community? Here are October community-wide events that you can be a part of right here in the Charlotte area:
Demonstrations that will show your child what to do in the face of a bully and how to have confidence and discipline. The class will teach both basic karate skills and confidence building. Registration Required.
This event is open to the public. Registration is required to hear this New York Times Best Selling Author discuss the stark reality that social media has on teen boys and girls including gossiping, bullying and more.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Though you can't raise everybody's kids to have good manners and to respect other people's differences, you can attempt to instill those good morals and values into your own children. The earlier you begin to teach your child what bullying is, and how to not become a victimizer or victim, the better.
Here are a few tips from the National Crime Prevention Council that can aide you in the learning process. Remember, a good way to get your kids to understand the importance of bully-prevention is to role-play different scenarios and show the impact it has on each individual.
Walk Away: Let your kid know it is okay to walk away from his or her group of friends and to create new friends. And it is also okay to walk away from someone who's acting harshly towards you.
Speak Up: Your child should know that with so many resources out there, there is absolutely no reason why they should feel like they can't talk to anyone about their concerns.
Be a Friend: This is a great trait to have and can be learned at an early age. By teaching your child what it means to be a friend and stick up for others when it seems like no one else is will take them extremely far in life. Does your child know someone that's a victim of bullying? Tell them to be a friend and speak up!
Ask Others for Help: Let your child know to not only practice sticking up for themselves but to also practice letting their teachers, principle and and any other adult (including you) know when something's going wrong.