As students begin their summer vacations, the one thing many are not looking forward to is their return to school in the fall for fear of being bullied. That is the reality for many victims at school, on playgrounds, and online. In fact, 1 out of 4 kids are bullied every year in the United States.
And summer camp can bring the same fears. Kids get bullied at camp just as much as they get bullied in school.
For so long, many schools have swept the issue of bullying under the rug. It’s up to both parents, camp directors and educators to make sure that kids are empowered! It’s time to unite and work together to end bullying.
You wouldn’t send your children off to camp without shorts and t-shirts or to school in the fall without school supplies. So it’s your job to ensure that your kids and teens are empowered. Educate them about the fact that there can be mean kids at camp and school and should they encounter them, to tell you so you can support and coach them in a way which will end the bullying. Role play with them so they know how to stand up to their bullies without violence.
The very same applies for kids who are just entering the social media world. The best camp and school supplies you can arm them with for cyberbullying is to be a tech savvy parent and raise digitally responsible kids.
Experts find that as kids begin camp and return to school at the conclusion of summer break, feelings of intimidation, depression and fear are at an all-time high for those who may have experienced bullying or cyberbullying. It is our job as experts in the field to shine a light on the growing problem of bullying and cyberbullying so that students feel safe when returning to school this fall.
Schools must enforce anti-bullying legislation and take bullying seriously. Intervention between the victim and the perpetrator does not work. It makes things worse. Suspending the bully from school is not the answer, as it is critical to get to the root of the bully’s problem and change their behavior by working with them and their families.
Bullying can be so painful and clearly has played a role in many suicides across the country. And cyberbullying is in full force with the use of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites popular with kids and teens. This social online cruelty is used by individuals or groups intending to harass and harm our youth.
It is critical to educate students about the harmful effects of bullying and cyberbullying.
Recent Statistics Show:
1 out of 4 kids are bullied
9 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment at school
Depending on their ages, up to 43% of kids and teens report being digitally harassed
8% of kids stay home from school each day due to the fear of being bullied
Victims of bullying:
- Can be afraid to go to school - Can be afraid to ride the bus - Can be afraid to use the school bathroom - Can be afraid of being alone in the school hallway - The fear and anxiety caused by being a bullying victim can make it difficult to focus at school
Bullying can cause victims to experience:
Teach kids and teens that if they see others being bullied, to be UPSTANDERS. Bystanders are kids and teens who witness bullying and cyberbullying in action, who stand by and watch, who videotape it and make it viral ... and WHO DO AND SAY NOTHING.
Very often they don’t know what to do. They’re afraid of retaliation or fear that their own group will exclude them for helping an outsider.
When students or campers are bystanders, they send a message to the bully that their behavior is acceptable. Standing up for others helps remove the victim from the situation and many times has been known to stop the bully.
While arming students with prevention won’t always fix the problem completely, it’s a good start!
Ross Ellis Founder and CEO STOMP Out Bullying™ www.stompoutbullying.org
Ross Ellis is a national expert in violence against children, bullying and cyberbullying prevention, school violence and Internet safety. She has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit and corporate sector, and has been a child advocate for more than two decades.
In addition to speaking to students, Ross speaks to corporate employees on bullying and cyberbullying prevention and has been a regular guest panelist for Moody’s Corporation New York City and Moody’s Corporation London, as well as other companies.
STOMP Out Bullying has been featured on numerous TV shows including GMA, EXTRA, Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood. Ross Ellis has appeared on ABC Nightline, Inside Edition, MSNBC, CNN Headline News, Fox News, LXTV, HLN News, WABC-TV Eyewitness News, Fox 5 NY, Good Day New York, WPIX News, Huffington Post Live, The Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CBS Radio, Z100, 106.7 Lite FM, Q104.3 and many other TV and radio shows. She has been featured in Ladies Home Journal, Seventeen Magazine, Better Homes & Garden and countless other magazines. Ross has written articles for the Huffington Post, and is the National Parenting Issues Examiner for Examiner.com. She was featured on SyFy’s “The Internet Ruined My Life” aftershow.
Some highlighted speaking engagements include: Speaker – Black Congressional Caucus 2012; Speaker – Children Uniting Nations “Bullying in America” to Members of Congress 2012; Speaker – “Delete Digital Drama” at The White House Bullying Summit 2011; Featured Guest Speaker – U.S. Embassy (Korea) “Bullying and Cyberbullying What Works in the U.S” 2011; Featured Guest Speaker –National Women’s Educational Conference 2010, “Bullying & Cyberbullying Prevention”.