Bullying, What you should know

Bullying is something that has been occurring for many years. Leave It To Beaver had Eddie Haskell, The Rugrats had Angelica, Little House on the Prairie had Nellie Olsen, Sid bullied Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story, and Robbie was bullied by Scut Farkus in A Christmas Story. The point is, bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and genders.  Although, in some instances we may make light of bullying, it’s a very serious offense. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power.

There are different types of bullying:

  • Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things.

  • Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships.

  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions.

Another type of bullying is Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:

  • Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter

  • Text Message

  • Instant Message

  • Email

There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying—either being bullied or bullying others.

Signs a Child Is Being Bullied

Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.

  • 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

  • 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

 

How to Prevent Bullying

  • Help kids understand bullying.

  • Keep the lines of communication open.

  • Encourage kids to do what they love.

  • Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.

As an extra precaution and a way to stay “In the know”, below is a list of commonly used abbreviations:

 

LOL = laugh(ing) out loud, GR8 = great, IRL = in real life, TYVM = thank you very much, IMHO = in my humble opinion, BRB = be right back, J/K = just kidding, L8R = later, NP = no problem, WYD= what you doing?, 53X = sneaky way to type "sex", KMS = kill myself, LH6 = let’s have sex, KYS =  kill yourself, MOS = mom over the shoulder, POS = parent over shoulder, CD9 = code 9, parents around, GNOC = get naked on camera, 99 = parents are gone, WTTP = want to trade photos?, LMIRL = let’s meet in real life, 1174 = meet at a party spot, IWSN = I want sex now, CU46 =  see you for sex, FWB = friends with benefits, ADR = what’s your address, MPFB = my personal f*** buddy, PAL= parents are listening, TWD = texting while driving, GYPO = get your pants off

Ellen Pierce