According to StopBullying.gov, an official website of the U.S. government, 1 in 5 children ages 12-18 report having experienced bullying, and more than 70% of students have witnessed bullying. United Way of Broward County’s Choose Peace/Stop Violence program works throughout the school year in Broward County to raise awareness of bullying and prevent it from happening.
Persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion and despair, as well as depression and anxiety. That’s why it’s important that students, parents and educators understand what bullying is: the act of repeatedly and purposely saying or doing mean or hurtful things to a person who has a hard time defending himself or herself.
Bullying is different from playful teasing and can take on many forms:
- Verbal – Including name-calling, derogatory comments, taunting, inappropriate sexual comments, threatening to cause harm
- Physical – Including hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting, mean or rude hand gestures, taking or breaking someone’s things
- Social – Including excluding or isolating someone on purpose, spreading rumors and lies, embarrassing someone in public
So, how can you tell if your child is being bullied? While not all children exhibit warning signs, you can look for changes such as:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or damaged belongings
- Frequent illness (real or fake illness), like headaches or stomach aches
- Changes in eating habits. Your child may come home from school hungry because he or she did not eat lunch.
- Frequent nightmares or difficulty sleeping
- A decline in grades or interest in school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Decreased self-esteem, feelings of helplessness or depression
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
If your child is being bullied, if your child bullies others or if your child witnesses bullying, there are things parents can do. Click here to read some helpful do’s and don’ts.
In addition, share this information with your child.
Learn more about United Way of Broward County’s Choose Peace/Stop Violence program by visiting ChoosePeaceStopViolence.org.