Monday, October 21, 2013

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Bullying is discussed frequently in the news and is a serious issue that families should not only be aware of but discuss at home.  Did you know that October is bullying prevention month? This entire month is devoted to encouraging bullying awareness, understanding why it may happen and working together to try and stop bullying. What better time to talk about bullying with your family? 



 Before we can help to prevent bullying we need to understand it.  Stopbullying.gov provides many helpful pages to understand this problem. They have many resources for educators parents and community members alike. You can learn about what bullying is and find definitions here.
Another good resource is Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center website. You can find plenty of information and facts about bullying on their site here
 

An important factor to consider when discussing bullying is that this is an issue involving self-esteem. What exactly is self-esteem? Read pyschologytoday.com's definition. Not only does bullying negatively affect the victims, but often the bully is suffering from low self-esteem as well. 

A major problem today that must addressed when tackling the difficult topic of how to stop bullying is that of cyberbullying. In our technology-saturated society we are constantly connected to each other through social networking and this makes it so much easier to bully anyone and everyone safely from your home, hidden behind your computer screen or smart phone. According to Stopcyberbullying.org, "Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones." Visit their website for helpful resources and information. Research, victim stories and parent resources can be found at cyberbullying.us.

Teaching children about digital citizenship is one way to combat cyberbullying. Digitalcitizenship.net states, "Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately. Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology. Digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use." Commonsensemedia.org provides helpful advice for parents on how to teach digital citizenship as well as standing up to cyberbullying. Check out these 10 guidelines for digital citizenship created by a librarian



What can you do to help prevent bullying and raise awareness? There are a plethora of great websites that provide helpful resources, tips and initiatives aimed at stopping bullying. Making yourself aware of the issue and helping to educate others is the first step to stopping bullying in your community and around the country.

 Choosekind.tumblr.com is devoted to promoting kindness and empathy amongst youth. The initiative is inspired by the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio, a book about a boy born with a facial deformity who wants only to be treated like a normal kid by his classmates. You can sign a pledge to "Choose Kind". Many students have already signed the pledge and the Tumblr page has many pictures and videos of students around the country reading the book in the classroom and helping to inspire kindness.




You can find many handouts and flyers about bullying prevention from Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center here. You can also add your name to Pacer's digital petition to say "The End of Bullying Begins with Me". You can even print out a petition to take and display at your local schools to help spread the word. The National Education Association provides a bullying prevention kit. Stompoutbullying.org provides a student participation toolkit. You can find petitions and read about students helping at their schools as "Bully Busters" at dosomething.org.  Finally, you can find various resources and useful websites at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's website, many of which are organized by ages and profession for adults.

You can make a difference in a fellow students or child's life. Be sure to talk about the importance of bullying prevention with a friend or neighbor today and spread the word about Bullying Prevention Month. Your local librarians are always glad to help provide further resources on bullying. Stop in today to check out a book from our Bullying Prevention Month display. Just one caring adult can make all the difference.

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