14October is National Bullying Prevention Month. The premise is the reduction of childhood bullying incidents.

“One in six students will experience bullying on or off school property,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. October 2 is World Day of Bullying Prevention Day.

“Bumps and bruises are the rite of passage for childhood bullying. The consequences of childhood bullying and depression can persist forty years after the bullying occurs. The reaction of depression from bullying can cause multiple psychological symptoms and in extreme circumstances, bullying-inducted suicide. Children and adolescents experiencing bullying have significant rates of self-harm and anxiety,” according to recent studies.

The observance of the day is “to encourage schools, communities and organizations to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on children.”

Bullying is a public health issue. Bullying is a form of aggression. It is continuous and deliberate misuse of the power dynamic in a relationship. Bullying can be physical, verbal, social and cyber.

Physical bullying is a person using their body as a tool for intimidation. Hitting, pushing, tripping, pinching and damaging property is a concise list for physical bullying tactics.

Verbal bullying uses words as weapons. The words are used to threaten, to offend and to hurt the victim.

Social bullying includes teasing, nasty looks, spreading false rumors, spreading gossip and physical gestures. The victim experiences alienation. Gaslighting is a widespread practice of social bullying perpetrators.

Those who use gaslighting attempt to have a person question their reality. For instance, a person can purposely ignore an individual within a meeting. The confrontation with the perpetrator creates the comment, “I didn’t see you.”

Cyberbullying is the evolved technological level of bullying. Cyberbullying is intimidation and harassment on multiple platforms. The messages are sexual comments or gestures, threats of harm to the target, offensive videos about the victim.

“Cyberbullicide” is a term created by Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin in 2009.

“It is a descriptive term for suicides that are directly or indirectly influenced by online bullying. Students who participate in bullying and cyberbullying, both offender and victim, have a significant likelihood of experiencing suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts and completed suicides.”

“In 2013, 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick was extensively bullied on multiple online platforms by girls from school, including her former best friends. She switched schools, but cyberbullying continued, and after a year and a half, Ms. Sedwick took her life,” according to news sources.

Bullying has three roles: perpetrator, target and bystander. The Bystander has multiple options. The person stays and watches the event. The bystander has a passive response to the perpetrator and target.

The supportive role for the perpetrator is cheering, encouraging and laughing at the intimidating actions. Defenders could ask the perpetrator to cease torturing the target. However, there is the possibility for the perpetrator to torture the intervening individual. Some onlookers are unsure of an effective action. Often the question is, what can I do?

Bullying impacts health habits such as frequent tears and angry outbursts, changes in eating and sleeping habits, stealing and substance misuse.

Help is available. The United States Department of Health and Human Services sponsors the Stop Bullying Now Helpline. The Helpline contact number is 1-800-273-8255.

A second option is 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The 988 Lifeline is sponsored by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and V! brant Emotional Health.

Counselors are available 24/7 on the 988 Lifeline. Spanish and English counselors are available. The Lifeline can be contacted by the website Lifeline-988lifeline.org, 988 for text and chat, and SMS:988.
You are not alone. Reach out and connect for support.

The October 2, World Day of Bullying Prevention and the October, National Bullying Prevention month features community engagement activities.

Blue shirts and banners can commemorate the World Day of Bullying Prevention.

Educators can create bulletin boards about anti-bullying topics. Free sample lessons with multimedia slides and videos about anti-bullying activities are available on School Connect at https://www.school-connect.net>anti-bullying>curriculum.

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