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«Bullying at School and Online – An Education.com Special Edition Copyright © 2009 Education.com Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Guest Editors: ...»

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Bullying at School and Online – An Education.com Special Edition

Copyright © 2009 Education.com Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Guest Editors: Editors: Executive Editor: Sponsor:

Shelly Hymel, PhD Peter Gillette, PhD

Sue Swearer, PhD Denise Daniels, PhD

American Association of

School Administrators


Dear Parent:

Overwhelmingly, schools are safe and nurturing places for students, and school leaders and faculty are dedicated to making sure schools remain safe learning environments for all students. However, bullying is a serious issue that every school in the nation faces.

We know this problem isn’t confined to school grounds. Bullying at school affects and is affected by what happens at home between siblings, what happens in the neighborhood, and what happens when kids go online. We must work together to take immediate action, whether a child bullies, is a victim of bullying, or is a witness to bullying.

This new e-book is designed to help parents take an active role in addressing bullying at school and online. It presents practical information and resources on bullying and cyberbulling, including a list of 10 actions parents can take to help reduce bullying.

This e-book was created by the American Association of School Administrators, Education.com, a leading website for parents, and Dr. Shelley Hymel and Dr. Susan Swearer, renowned experts on bullying, with corporate sponsorship provided by Symantec, makers of Norton security software.

We are pleased to share this free resource with you as part of our continuing effort to ensure a safe and productive learning environment for all children.

Sincerely, Dan Domenech Executive Director American Association of School Administrators Bullying Quick Facts 1 Table of Contents Preface Introduction Working Together to Spread the Word

Spread the Word: Let's End Bullying Ten Actions ALL Parents Can Take to Help Eliminate Bullying

Five Actions Parents Can Take If Their Child Has Been Involved in Bullying..............6 Get Informed About Bullying How widespread is bullying?

What is bullying and how does it differ in boys and girls?

Why must we stop bullying?

Why do kids bully?

Is bullying on the rise?

Why is bullying an age-old problem?

Why is bullying hard to change?

Warning Signs of Bullying What are the signs that a child is being bullied?

What are the signs that a child is bullying others?

What are the signs of a “bully-victim"?

Bullying: How to Help Your Child What do I do if I suspect that my child is being bullied?

What do I do if my child tells me that he or she is being bullied?

What do I do if my child is bullying others?

What do I do if my child is a witness to bullying?

Prevent Bullying at School What should parents do if they witness bullying?

How can parents help to prevent bullying at their child's school?

What kind of school programs should I advocate for to stop bullying at my child’s school?

Bullying Special Edition Published by Education.com, © 2009 2 Bullying Quick Facts Consequences of Bullying How is bullying related to self-esteem?

What are the long-term effects of bullying?

What are the long-term effects of being a bully?

Get Informed About Cyberbullying What does cyberbullying look like?

How is bullying at school related to cyberbullying?

Why must we stop cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying Warning Signs What are the signs that my child is being bullied online?

What are the signs that my child may be bullying others online?

Cyberbullying: How to Help Your Child What do I do if my child is experiencing cyberbullying?

What do I do if my child is bullying other kids online?

Preventing Cyberbullying How can I work with my school to prevent cyberbullying?

What can I do in my home to prevent cyberbullying?

What questions can I ask my child to start a discussion about cyberbullying?..........31 Contact Information Education.com



Dr. Shelley Hymel and Dr. Sue Swearer

–  –  –

Working Together to Spread the Word Education.com's Bullying Quick Facts for Parents Bullying is an ever-present problem in the lives of school kids. There is not a day that goes by where we don't hear from parents about a cruel bullying story ‒ the 1st Grade Boy trapped in the Boys Bathroom, the 3rd Grade girl who is excluded from her former friends during every recess, the 5th Grade Boy who came home with a sign taped to his back that read "call me weirdo," or the 8th Grade girl who was the victim of an untrue rumor that she had sex. This could be your child? ‒ one out of three students are bullied every year. Parents of bystanders, children who bully, and victims all must take a proactive stand against these statistics by getting involved in their school and in their community.

Our hope at Education.com is that this Quick Facts PDF Book summarizing our research based special edition: www.education.com/special-edition/bullying will provide insight into what can be done to reduce the destructive behaviors and conditions that cause bullying.

We've partnered with two leading national organizations in hopes of reaching as many parents as we can with this quick guide ‒ the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and Norton™ Security Software. The AASA’s membership includes over 70% of America’s superintendents and is dedicated to helping our schools provide the best educational resources to help our children be successful in all facets of their school lives. Norton is a trusted leader of Internet safety products, including their recently announced Norton Online Family product that provides parents with the tools to connect with and protect their children online. Norton recognizes the interconnection between bullying at school and online, and is committed to reducing all forms of bullying.

Finally, we wish to acknowledge our guest editors, world-renowned in the field of bullying.

Shelley Hymel, Ph.D. (Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, and Special Education at The University of British Columbia) and Susan Swearer, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Licensed Psychologist, and Co-Director of the Nebraska Internship Consortium in Professional Psychology) made these parent quick facts possible by inviting bullying researchers from all over the world to generously contribute research based articles and ensuring that long standing myths on bullying would not be propagated.

If you have further comments or questions, please write to us at: info@education.com.

–  –  –

Spread the Word: Let's End Bullying Ten Actions ALL Parents Can Take to Help Eliminate Bullying The latest research shows that more than half of all children are, at least on occasion, directly involved in bullying as a perpetrator, victim, or both. And many of those who are not directly involved witness others being bullied on a regular basis. No child is immune - kids of every race, gender, grade and socio-economic sector are impacted. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As parents we have the power to help reduce bullying. Here are Education.com’s top ten actions you

can take to help address bullying:

1. Talk with and listen to your kids - everyday. Research shows that parents are often the last to know when their child has bullied or been bullied. You can encourage your children to buck that trend by engaging in frequent conversations about their social lives.

Spend a few minutes every day asking open ended questions about who they spend time with at school and in the neighborhood, what they do in between classes and at recess, who they have lunch with, or what happens on the way to and from school. If your children feel comfortable talking to you about their peers before they’re involved in a bullying event, they’ll be much more likely to get you involved after.

2. Spend time at school and recess. Research shows that 67% of bullying happens when adults are not present. Schools don’t have the resources to do it all and need parents’ help in reducing bullying. Whether you can volunteer once a week or once a month, you can make a real difference just by being present and helping to organize games and activities that encourage kids to play with new friends. Be sure to coordinate your on-campus volunteer time with your child’s teacher and/or principal.

3. Be a good example of kindness and leadership. Your kids learn a lot about power relationships from watching you. When you get angry at a waiter, a sales clerk, another driver on the road, or even your child, you have a great opportunity to model effective communication techniques. Don’t blow it by blowing your top! Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way, you’re teaching your child that bullying is ok.

4. Learn the signs. Most children don't tell anyone (especially adults) that they've been bullied. It is therefore important for parents and teachers to learn to recognize possible signs of being victimized such as frequent loss of personal belongings, complaints of headaches or stomachaches, avoiding recess or school activities, getting to school very late or very early. If you suspect that a child might be bullied, talk with the child’s teacher or find ways to observe his or her peer interactions to determine whether or not your suspicions might be correct. Talk directly to your child about the situation.

5. Create healthy anti-bullying habits early. Help develop anti-bullying and antivictimization habits early in your children, as early as kindergarten. Coach your children what not to do - hitting, pushing, teasing, "saying na-na-na-na-na," being mean to others.

Help your child to focus on how such actions might feel to the child on the receiving end (e.g., “How do you think you would feel if that happened to you?”). Such strategies can enhance empathy for others. Equally if not more important, teach your children what to Bullying Special Edition Published by Education.com, © 2009 Bullying Quick Facts 5 do -- kindness, empathy, fair play, and turn-taking are critical skills for good peer relations. Children also need to learn how to say "no" firmly, and how to avoid being mean to others. Coach your child about what to do if other kids are mean - get an adult right away, tell the child who is teasing or bullying to "stop," walk away and ignore the bully. It may help to role play what to do with your child. And repetition helps: go over these techniques periodically with your Kindergarten and early Elementary school aged children.

6. Help your child’s school address bullying effectively. Whether your children have been bullied or not, you should know what their school is doing to address bullying. Research shows that “zero-tolerance” policies aren’t effective. What works better are ongoing educational programs that help create a healthy social climate in the school. This means teaching kids at every grade level how to be inclusive leaders and how to be empathic towards others and teaching victims effective resistance techniques. If your school does not have effective bullying strategies and policies in place, talk to the principal and advocate for change.

7. Establish household rules about bullying. Your children need to hear from you explicitly that it’s not normal, ok, or tolerable for them to bully, to be bullied, or to stand by and just watch other kids be bullied. Make sure they know that if they are bullied physically, verbally, or socially (at school, by a sibling, in your neighborhood, or online) it’s safe and important for them to tell you about it and that you will help. They also need to know just what bullying is (many children do not know that they are bullying others), and that such behavior is harmful to others and not acceptable. You can help your children find other ways to exert their personal power, status, and leadership at school, and that you will work with them, their teachers, and their principal to implement a kindness plan at school.

8. Teach your child how to be a good witness. Research shows that kids who witness bullying feel powerless and seldom intervene. However, kids who take action can have a powerful and positive effect on the situation. Although it’s never a child’s responsibility to put him or herself in danger, kids can often effectively diffuse a bullying situation by yelling “Stop! You’re bullying!” Kids can also help each other by providing support to the victim, not giving extra attention to the bully, and/or reporting what they witnessed to an adult.

9. Teach your child about cyberbullying. Children often do not realize what cyberbullying is. Cyberbullying includes sending mean, rude, vulgar, or threatening messages or images; posting sensitive, private information about another person;

pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad; and intentionally excluding someone from an online group. These acts are as harmful as physical violence and must not be tolerated. We know from research that the more time a teen spends online, the more likely they will be cyberbullied – so limit online time.

10. Spread the word that bullying should not be a normal part of childhood. Some adults hesitate to act when they observe or hear about bullying because they think of bullying as a typical phase of childhood that must be endured or that it can help children “toughen up”. It is important for all adults to understand that bullying does not have to be a normal part of childhood. All forms of bullying are harmful to the perpetrator, the victim, and to witnesses and the effects last well into adulthood (and can include depression, anxiety, Bullying Special Edition Published by Education.com, © 2009 6 Bullying Quick Facts substance abuse, family violence and criminal behavior). Efforts to effectively address bullying require the collaboration of school, home, and community. Forward this list and articles you’ve read to all the parents, teachers, administrators, after school care programs, camp counselors, and spiritual leaders you know. Bullying is an enormous problem but if we all work together, it’s one we can impact.

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