by Erik Libby, TJFS Clinical Director and Licensed Social Worker
First, let’s start with a seemingly simple question, and then we’ll get into tips on how to prevent bullying. So, what exactly is “bullying?”
Bullying is harmful behavior that hurts someone else. Bullying can include name-calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumors, and threatening someone. With technology, bullying also includes the use of social media to hurt people. When bullying is repeated over a long period of time, it can harm a child emotionally and physically.
What Are the Signs of Bullying in Children?
- Belongings getting lost or damaged
- Physical injuries and unexplained bruises
- Being afraid to go to school
- A decline in grades
- Physical illness symptoms like stomach aches, nausea, and headaches
- Anxiety, nervousness, and depressed moods
- Asking for or taking money to give to bully
- A decrease in sleep and appetite
- Bullying others
Who’s at Risk for Bullying?
Children who appear different due to race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, those who appear to have low esteem, and those who may be physically disabled may be targeted for bullying.
Prevention of Bullying:
- Talk to children about bullying and cyberbullying
- Let them know who to ask for help
- Report bullying to the school teachers, and administration
- Report crime and hate crimes
- Help children relax and calm themselves
- Connect children to school social workers, and counseling for anxiety and depression, in order to help with emotional effects.
- Take the child to their pediatrician to evaluate physical symptoms of illness.