October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Started in 2006, it aims to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention around the world and is supported by hundreds of schools, corporations, and celebrities. While schools can sponsor month-long events, the most popular is to wear orange on October 19th, designated Unity Day.
Why is this so important? Check these statistics (from Pacer.org):
- One out of every four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year. (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2015)
- 64 percent of children who were bullied did not report it. (Petrosina, Guckenburg, DeVoe, and Hanson, 2010)
- More than half of bullying situations (57 percent) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied. (Hawkins, Pepler, and Craig, 2001)
- School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%. (McCallion and Feder, 2013)
- The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%). (Davis and Nixon, 2010)
Bullying doesn’t just occur in the physical world. Online bullying (called ‘cyberbullying’) is a growing and insidious activity that is proving even more destructive to children than any other kind. It includes not only websites, but cell phones, Nintendo, and Wii, as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. Examples include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, and fake profiles. Kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to:
- Use alcohol and drugs
- Skip school
- Experience in-person bullying
- Be unwilling to attend school
- Receive poor grades
- Have lower self-esteem
- Have more health problems
- 14.8% of high school students in the US report being bullied. (Center for Disease Control, 2014)
- 90% of teens who report being cyberbullied have also been bullied offline. (“Seven Fears and the Science of How Mobile Technologies May Be Influencing Adolescents in the Digital Age,” George and Odgers, 2015)
- Bullied to Death--a true story of a teen who commits suicide because of cyberbullying
- Calling my Childhood Bully–a video about an adult who calls a boy who bullied him in high school (7 min.)
- Cyberbullying video—from BrainPop Jr; a good primer on the topic. Also included are topical games, activities, lesson plans, and a quiz. This can be viewed without a BrainPop Jr. subscription.
- Cyberbullying--geared for 5th grade and up; common questions students may ask about cyberbullying and the answers
- Cyberbullying—from BrainPop; a good overview; also included is a quiz and extended resources. This can be viewed without a BrainPop subscription.
- Cyberbullying—a discussion on what cyberbullying is; for older students or as a guideline for you when teaching the topic
- Think Time: How Does Cyberbullying Affect You–a hard-hitting short video that hits all the important points of cyberbullying
The best way to teach cyberbullying is as part of a unit on digital citizenship’s rights and responsibilities. When students use the internet, they likely only consider the benefits–what are called the ‘digital rights’–like these (from D. Ferris):
Right to freedom of expression
Right to privacy
Right to credit for personal works
Right to digital access
Right to our identity
What they rarely consider–until they are pointed out to them–are the related digital responsibilities such as:
Responsibility to report bullying, harassing, sexting, or identity theft
Responsibility to cite works used for resources and researching
Responsibility to download music, videos, and other material legally
Responsibility to model and teach student expectations of technology use
Responsibility to keep data/information safe from hackers
Responsibility not to falsify our identity in any way
Make a discussion and understanding of the repercussions of cyberbullying part of an overarching curriculum on how students function in the online world.
One more–a short, colorful book on how to prevent bullying:
by Rich Linville
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Rich Linville, the author of several humorous child-oriented books (such as one about unicorn jokes), takes a serious look at bullying in his latest publication, Why Are There Bullies and What Can You Do About It (Amazon Digital Services 2016). This is a delightful, interactive, easy-to-read book aimed at all stakeholders in the national epidemic of bullying. He organizes the topic into seven big questions such as What is bullying? and Why do people bully? Then, Linville, a long-time teacher who’s probably seen more examples of the bullying kids inflict on each other than he ever wanted to, answers each question with a quick useful list of solutions that vary depending upon circumstances.
As a teacher for over 35 years, I highly recommend this book to fellow educators.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.