How children are bullied and the amount of youths being bullied has significantly changed in recent years. Verbal, physical and social bullying still occurs, however, the dynamic has changed with cyberbullying. With emails, social media and other platforms on the Internet, bullying has become something that youths cannot find reprieve from and they cannot keep hidden. Their cell phones and devices go everywhere with them, and so does the harassment.
As bullying tactics change, it is crucial for adults to remain aware of these new tactics and how to address them properly.
It can be hard for parents and other adults around youths to spot the signs of bullying. Often children and teens try to mask the abuse because they are embarrassed. Here are some signs that bullying is occurring:
Warning Signs of Bullying
- Having nightmares, becoming withdrawn or beginning to bully other children.
- Attempting or talking about suicide.
- They are upset during or after using technology.
- Spending more time online or stopping using their devices.
- Stopping what they’re doing on the computer or hiding their phone when you are around.
- Being afraid to go to school or complaining about feeling ill in the mornings.
- Skipping school or starting to do poorly in school.
- “Losing” belongings or coming home with clothes or books destroyed.
- Coming home, or to school, with unexplained bruises or cuts.
- Showing obvious changes in behaviour.
How Adults Can Help Prevent Bullying
- Encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult and report bullying if it happens.
- Talk to them about how to respond to bullying, whether they are the victim or a bystander.
- In the majority of cases, bullying stops when peers intervene or do not support the bullying behaviour.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Let your kids feel comfortable talking to you about anything - including bullying, as they may feel embarrassed or ashamed.
- Start conversations about daily life and feelings.
- Encourage positive activities and hobbies. Let them do what they love.
- Build confidence and self-esteem, and forms a supportive group
- Model how you should treat others.
- Work together with your child’s school. Talk with their teachers and be involved at school.
- Give your children access to support systems.
Resources for Children Experiencing Bullying
- Alberta 24/7: 403-264-8336
- Alberta Daily Text: 587-333-2724
- Bullying Helpline: 1-888-456-2323
- Stomp Out Bullying
- Connect Teen
- Government Alberta Bullying Resources