Friday, September 30, 2011
48 Hours examined the state of bullying & cyberbullying in our nation’s schools and what they found was alarming!
If you think bullying isn’t a serious problem in schools, or better yet, if you think bullying isn’t happening in your child’s school, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are sadly mistaken! CBS’ 48 Hours recently aired a special: Bullying – Words Can Kill (you can view it online at http://www.cbsnews.com/2718-18559_162-1249.html?tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0) that depicted the state of bullying and cyberbullying in America. They portrayed an in-depth look at bullying in one typical American middle school and what they witnessed and reported was eye-opening! Nice, normal, everyday kids are being bullied, harassed and tormented to the point they skip school, change schools or leave school altogether. Some kids even go to an extreme to escape the devastating effects of the torment – they commit bullycide.
Bullycide is the fairly recent term used to describe a suicide committed by a child or teen in response to or after being bullied. According to http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-suicide.html:
The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming:
• Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
• Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University.
• A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.
• 10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above.
• According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying.
The research regarding this relationship is very young, but the truth is we don’t need the research to see that a relationship does exist and prevention is needed. Young teens and tweens inherently are trying to discover who they are and are desperately trying to fit in with their peers – developmentally speaking; it is a notoriously difficult time in their lives. Add to that having to endure bullying and cyberbullying, and for many, it becomes unbearable. But by the time they reach middle school and high school it may be too late – the damage may be done, the window for prevention, for creating a generation of caring, empathetic kids who see the damage this does, long gone.
That’s why at the Monique Burr Foundation for Children we believe prevention regarding bullying and cyberbullying must start earlier, much earlier. Our Speak Up Be Safe™ (SUBS) Program for 1st through 5th grades includes bullying and cyberbullying prevention and it discusses other forms of digital abuse and safety as well! Visit our website at MoniqueBurrFoundation.org/SUBS to learn more about the program and how you can get involved or bring the SUBS program to your area! This show also leads me to my next two “Question of the Day” blog entries: Why do kids bully? and Why do kids send sexually explicit pictures and misuse technology? So stay tuned for those – coming soon!!!