National Bullying Prevention Month
October is National Bullying Prevention Month in the United States. Founded by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, the month-long event is designed to help prevent childhood bullying and promote kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. (PACER is an organization founded to advocate for the education of children with disabilities. PACER stand for Parent Advocacy Coalition for Education Rights.)
What is bullying?
Bullying is unwanted, deliberately hurtful behavior that is repeated over a period of time. Bullying is often about an imbalance of power—bullies may use their physical strength, popularity, or something they know about another person to harm or control others.
Forms of bullying
Bullying can take many forms, including verbal, physical, social, and cyberbullying (a form of bullying on digital devices).
- Verbal bullying includes name-calling, teasing, inappropriate comments, threats, and abusive comments.
- Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, spitting, tripping, and stealing or damaging possessions.
- Social bullying includes deliberately excluding someone from social events, spreading rumors about a person, and embarrassing or humiliating someone.
Why bullying is serious
Bullying is serious because it can have a damaging effect on the person being bullied, on the person doing the bullying, or even on the bystanders who witness incidents of bullying. Bullying creates a climate of fear, and bystanders may be anxious that they will be next on the bully’s list of targets. The targets, the people who are being bullied, are more likely to lack self-confidence, have low self-esteem, have difficulty concentrating, and suffer from depression and anxiety. People who bully are at greater risk than others of becoming involved in violence and crime. Bullies also have a higher risk of struggling or failing at their school studies.
You may feel ashamed to admit you are being bullied. But it’s the bullies who should feel ashamed, not you. Remember that bullying is the cowards’ way. It takes a lot of courage to speak out against bullies.
Bullying is very distressing. If you are the target of bullies, it may well be too much for you to handle on your own. Don’t put yourself in danger. Tell an adult you know and trust. If the bullying is happening at school, speak to a teacher, a school counselor, or the principal about your problem. These adults are in a better position to help you by becoming involved in the situation. There are also many organizations that you can turn to for support. Here are some websites that provide information about dealing with bullying: