This week is Anti-Bullying week and the theme for this year’s Anti-Bullying Week is to choose respect over bullying. Research shows that more than half of people under 25 will, at some point, experience bullying. As a result, 1 in 3 will self-harm, grades will drop and 37% will experience social anxiety and depression.
Among the many ways people can be bullied, cyber bullying is one of the most prominent and this is mostly done on social media. There are a lot of benefits that we get out of social media. However, there’s also a down side to being on social media. In our article on Do You Know? Social Media Causes Stress, we explored all the ways social media causes stress and has negative effects on our mental health.
What is Bullying?
Bullying can be realised in the following ways:
- Making someone do something they don’t want to
- Being mean
- Sharing inappropriate content or images
- Passing mean comments, sharing embarrassing videos or spread rumors on social media sites, through email, or whatsapp.
- Hacking into someone’s system and post embarrassing message about him or her .
Bullying is a behaviour choice. As cyberbullying has emerged with the development of technology, for many parents, it may feel a bit like uncharted territory. Read this article for 10 telltale signs your child is being cyberbullied?
Why do people bully? Top 4 reasons
Some of the most common reasons why people bully others include:
• It’s used as a coping mechanism and response to something stressful going on in their lives
• Because they are insecure and are trying to detract away from themselves by focusing on somebody else
• They are jealous or feel like you are in some way superior to them – instead of competitive behaviour, they have become abusive
• Because they are worried they won’t be accepted by their peers if they don’t do it
How can we teach children to choose respect over bullying?
1- We need to ensure that our children know what it means to be respectful kind. We all need to choose to respect each other both face to face and online. Children and young people can set a positive example by opting to respect each other at school, in their homes and communities, and online. [Read: Parents, teach your child to be kind]
2- Bullying is a behaviour choice, so children need to make a conscious decision to be kind and respectful
3- Let children know that we can respectfully disagree with each other i.e. we don’t have to be best friends or always agree with each other but we do have to respect each other.
4- Also, if your child is on social media, teach them to protect their passwords like they would their PIN to avoid people hacking their accounts.
5- Actively create an online world tailored to your interests and values. Seek out social connections that boost your wellbeing rather than undermine it, just as you would offline. Social media can increase happiness and nurture your social circle. But depending on who you are, social media can potentially also make you unhappy and more isolated.
12 Ways to help your child understand what bullying is and avoid it
Below is an infographic on 12 ways to help your child understand what bullying is and avoid it. Download it as a guide to help you know how to teach your child about bullying.
1. Bullying is not nice. It makes the victim feel bad.
2. A bully forces you to do things you don’t want to do.
3. Bullies are sometimes insecure or jealous.
4. When you’re being bullied Stand up to the bully or tell a trusted adult.
5. Don’t feel ashamed if you get bullied. It’s never your fault
6. Cyber-bullying is when people say or share mean things about you online or using social media.
7. A good friend will not say mean things about you anywhere
8. Bullying can lead to depression.
9. Model respectful relationships to your child
10. Teach your child to choose respect and respect differences.
11. Teach your child to be firm. Bullies begin with verbal harrassment. How the victim responds can determine if it continues.
12. A healthy self esteem reduces the chances of being a victim of bullying.
Are you worried your child is being bullied, there’s a wealth of information here on how to help your child overcome bullying? You can read this article on how to bully-proof your child as well. As parents we also need to avoid cyber bullying. Some of the tips above can help as well. Stay safe online!