Back to School And The Fear Factor
Going back to school is a different experience for each child. There are the kids who like school, there are kids who dislike school, and then there are the kids who fear school. Teasing and bullying have been a part of the school experience since they were established, and although schools have made a very conscious effort to eliminate these actions, they still take place. Teasing can be playful and hurtful. Bullying or taunting are meant to intimidate.
Over the past several years, cyberbullying has become very prevalent and has actually led to many teens so threatened that they have moved to another school and in some cases committed suicide to escape the torture. Cyberbullying is when one child or group targets another child or group and uses interactive technology, ie: cell phones, bashing websites (where kids can vote for the fattest or ugliest kid, for example), social media, etc. to taunt, threaten or embarrass the intended target(s). Almost 50% of all teenagers have been subjected to some form of cyberbullying. This is a huge problem.
There are many resources to help combat on-campus bullying and cyberbullying. Check with the counseling office at your school, the PTA or one of the following websites: The Bully Project is at www.the bullyproject.com. Procter & Gamble Company is using its Secret deodorant brand to promote its anti-bullying campaign through its Facebook page (Mean Stinks). Washington has also become involved through the National Crime Prevention Council website on bullying, www.ncpc.org/cyberbullying.
The pressures of school and the maturation process already overwhelm our children. Taunting and bullying does not need to be added on top of this. Parents need to be aware if their children are being bullied or their child is a bully. Parents need to set the example, be conscious of what they say and do, and make sure they stay involved with their children. Parents of those who are bullying need to be held accountable; there is no excuse for allowing this to happen.
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