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Preventing Bullying
Andrew Gormally

Bullying is a problem that affects everyone. Those that are being bullied, those who bully, and witnesses of bullying. Bullying is linked to impacts on mental health, physical health, substance abuse, and suicide. Bullying effects people of all ages, not just kids and teens.

The following are the effects that may occur when people are bullied:

  • Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
  • Health complaints
  • Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.

The following are the effects that may occur to people who bully others:

  • Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
  • Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
  • Engage in early sexual activity
  • Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults
  • Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

While all states have criminal laws that apply to bullying, not all have special statutes that apply to cyberbullying or bullying that takes place outside of school. Schools may take action either as required by law, or with local or school policies that allow them to discipline or take other action. Some states also have provisions to address bullying if it affects school performance.

The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:

  • Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter
  • SMS (Short Message Service) also known as Text Message sent through devices
  • Instant Message (via devices, email provider services, apps, and social media messaging features)
  • Email

Ways to prevent bullying:

  • Stand up for people who are bullied. Bullies often want an audience and approval. Let bullies know that you do not think being mean is cool.
  • Take action. See if you can start an anti-bullying club or prevention program at your school.
  • Talk to other kids. Try to learn more about where bullying happens at your school. Talk about what might help. See if you and some friends can go together to talk to an adult at school.
  • Talk to your teachers or principal. Let adults at school know that you care about this topic.
  • Talk to your parents or guardians. Your parents or guardians can ask your school to focus more on bullying.
  • Speak (and write) up! Write a blog, school newspaper article, or tweets to tackle bullying.

To find out more information how ways to prevent bullying click here.

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