What is Bullying
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
• An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power-such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity-to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
• Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.
Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:
• 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. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
• 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
Signs a Child is Bullying Others
Kids may be bullying others if they:
• Get into physical or verbal fights
• Have friends who bully others
• Are increasingly aggressive
• Get sent to the principal's office or to detention frequently
• Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
• Blame others for their problems
• Don't accept responsibility for their actions
• Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity
Why don't kids ask for help?
• Bullying can make a child feel helpless. Kids may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tattletale.
• Kids may fear backlash from the kid who bullied them.
• Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.
• Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.
• Kids may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect kids from bullying, and kids can fear losing this support.
No Place For Hate
More than 160 schools in the Southeast region participate in this popular anti-bias training program, which gives students an opportunity to understand the damaging impact that bullying and bigotry have on individuals as well as the social fabric of the schools. The program is free to schools and easy to integrate into the core curriculum, even as it teaches important messages about the destructive impact of hate. If you'd like to learn more or to know if your child's school participates, check out their website below.
Georgia Department of Education School Safety Hotline
Georgia's toll-free, anonymous, 24-hour school safety hotline is designed for crisis prevention. If students know of an unsafe situation in school (weapons violations, bomb threats, drugs or alcohol, bullying, etc.), they can anonymously pass on that information through the hotline, initiating immediate and appropriate action.
From 8am- 5pm call 404-464-7891. After hours call 1-877-SAY-STOP.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If someone is feeling hopeless, helpless, or thinking of suicide because of bullying, they can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in their national network. These centers provide 24-hour crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
Keenan's Kids Foundation works to improve the daily lives and the future of children and has been dedicated to informing the public about child safety hazards. They are available to speak to parents about bullying issues regarding their children, among other topics.
Ambassadors 4 Kids Club
The Ambassadors 4 Kids Club is a national organization with online resources and an Anti-Bullying program that is a highly interactive for kids in Pre-K through Eighth Grade. The program improves school and child safety by educating and empowering kids to speak out against bullying. This educational program is evidence based and approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Services.
Stopbullying.gov is an informational federal website that provides a wealth of information on bullying, how to address it, preventive tips, and outlets to help.