Bullying Prevention Month: Teens Encouraged to Fight Bullying for Better Mental Health
Can the right words help us heal issues, together, as a group? The impersonal styles of communication we have developed, thanks to advances in technology and new social media platforms, can often produce arguments, opinions, and hurtful comments all too easily. “People say things that are inappropriate, and they feel comfortable doing it because that buffer is present,” a psychology major told Brigham Young’s school newspaper recently. “Cyber-bullying comes because of this. People feel like they can voice their opinions freely without regard for what the reader could be feeling or how they could be interpreting the message.” A new public campaign urges teens and adolescents to get involved and stomp out bullying at their schools with real, personal interactions, and positive social activities.
“Why They Don’t Pick on Someone Their Own Size?”
Because it often goes unreported, cyber bullying may be much more common than many parents realize. Consider these disturbing statistics from a survey conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services Cyberbullying Research Center:
- 52% of students reported being cyberbullied
- 33 % of teens experienced cyberthreats online
- 25 % of teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the internet
- 52 % do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs
- 11 % have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras
Where Cyberbullying Takes Place
- 2 % Facebook
- 4 % Instagram
- 4 % Twitter
- 5 % Snap Chat
- 2 % Instant Messages
Common Types of Bullying
- 20% of students who were made fun of by a bully
- 10% had rumors or gossip spread about them
Any teen or adolescent could be at risk. With smartphones, computers and personal devices, rumors and mean feuds can spread like wildfire among our teens today. By understanding the problem, and the prevalence, of bullying, parents may be able to offer more help and support for their teens and adolescents. That’s the thinking behind these guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:
No single factor puts a child at risk of being bullied or bullying others. Bullying can happen anywhere, in cities, suburbs, or rural towns. Depending on the environment, some groups, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBTQ) teens, teens with disabilities, and socially isolated teens, may be at an increased risk of being bullied.
Generally, teens who are bullied have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Are perceived as different from their peers, such as being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses or different clothing, being new to a school, or being unable to afford what kids consider “cool”
- Are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves
- Are depressed, anxious, or have low self esteem
- Are less popular than others and have few friends
- Do not get along well with others, seen as annoying or provoking, or antagonize others for attention
However, even if a teen has these risk factors, it doesn’t mean that they will be bullied.
Kids More Likely to Bully Others
There are two types of kids that are more likely to bully others:
- Some are well-connected to their peers, have social power, are overly concerned about their popularity, and like to dominate or be in charge of others.
- Others are more isolated from their peers and may be depressed or anxious, have low self esteem, be less involved in school, be easily pressured by peers, or not identify with the emotions or feelings of others.
Teens who have these factors are also more likely to bully others:
- Are aggressive or easily frustrated
- Have less parental involvement or having issues at home
- Think badly of others
- Have difficulty following rules
- View violence in a positive way
- Have friends who bully others
Remember, those who bully others do not need to be stronger or bigger than those they bully. The power imbalance can come from a number of sources, popularity, strength, cognitive ability, and children who bully may have more than one of these characteristics.
Bullying can affect teens in many ways. They may lose sleep or feel sick. They may want to skip school. They may even be thinking about suicide. If your teen is feeling hopeless or helpless or knows someone that is, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
What Kids Can Do
During October, National Bullying Prevention Month, schools and organizations across the country are encouraged to join STOMP Out Bullying, a national campaign. The goal is get communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the impact of bullying on all kids of all ages.
Teens and adolescents are urged to take bold steps for STOMP Out Bullying™’s signature campaign. Suggestions include:
- Make friends with someone you don’t know at school. Invite them to sit at your lunch table or join you in an after school activity. You probably wish someone had done that for you.
- Be a leader. Take action and don’t let anyone at school be in isolation. If you’ve ever been isolated from others at school or you were new at school and it took time to make friends, you know what it feels like to be left out. Or even if you were never isolated, imagine how it would feel.
Challenge Others to Be Kind
Activities promoted by the campaign are designed to foster empathy among resilient teens. The STOMP out bullying toolkit tells them to:
- make kindness go viral with an act of kindness
- challenge friends and classmates to pay it forward with acts of kindness
- make a video of acts of kindness and submit it to STOMP’s website
- celebrate someone coming out as LGBTQ
Bullying and Suicide
In extreme cases, if the victim of bullying suffers from depression, the result could possibly be fatal. Any alarming comments about suicide should always be taken very seriously. If you fear that your upset teen could be contemplating suicide, never ignore their threats or attempts to hurt themselves. Call a healthcare provider or suicide hotline immediately. You can call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-999-9999 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the U.S.
Discovery Mood and Anxiety Means Recovery
If someone you love is struggling with the symptoms of depression or a behavior disorder, don’t let them suffer alone. Discovery Mood can help. Our personalized behavior modification programs are tailored to fit your family’s needs. Discovery Mood provides multi-faceted levels of care that range from residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, to partial hospitalization for adolescents and teens that are struggling with depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, self-harm behaviors, gender identity, oppositional defiant disorder, eating disorders, and other major mental health disorders.
Call us now at 800.760.3934. Call and speak with one of our highly trained admission specialists today! Or click on the link below for a free assessment or virtual tour. All calls are completely FREE and completely confidential.
Stomp Out Bullying website. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: National Bullying Awareness Month. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
The Daily Universe: Technology: Is it making kids anti-social? by Morgan Hampton. Retrieved October 12, 2016
Statistic Brain: Cyberbullying – Bullying Statistics. Retrieved October 12, 2016.