Sunday, October 8th, 2017

For some children, bullying can become a round-the-clock reality with no escape. An incident that takes place in a school hallway can carry over and be amplified on social media.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

A study by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2015 found that one in five middle and high school students is a victim of bullying.

“The explosion in social media sites and apps have created so many avenues for kids to be cruel, especially when they feel they can make attacks anonymously,” said Mary Vineis, director of Community Response and Education at Parsippany-based nonprofit NewBridge Services.

Every October, schools and organizations across the nation join STOMP Out Bullying in observing National Bullying Prevention Month. The goal: encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children of all ages.

“Bullying can cause serious emotional scars for victims, and perpetrators don’t fare well in adulthood either,” Vineis said. Studies show that children who bully are more likely as adults to have trouble keeping a job and maintaining relationships, and are more prone to addiction.

During National Bullying Prevention Month, parents are urged to talk to their children about the harm bullying can cause and ways they can protect themselves and others. Here are some warning signs from StopBullying.gov:

Being bullied:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

Bullying:   

  • Gets into physical or verbal fights
  • Has friends who bully others
  • Shows increasingly aggressiveness
  • Gets sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Has unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blames others for their problems
  • Doesn’t accept responsibility for their actions
  • Worries about their reputation or popularity

Talk with your children to ensure they feel safe. If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, the Cyber Bullying Research Center recommends you print out or take screenshots of the bullying and work with the school for a remedy.

New Bridge Services logo

Go through official channels rather than contact the parents of the bully.

NewBridge, a frequent partner with the Morris County Department of Human Services, offers in-school workshops on bullying and programs for parents. For more information call 973-686-2228 or visit www.newbridge.org.