Bullying is the act of intentionally causing harm to others, through verbal harassment, physical assault, or other more subtle methods of coercion. It may include physical bullying including hitting, kicking, pushing, punching, choking, and sexual assault; verbal bullying including threatening, teasing, “hate” talk, taunting, etc.; online or cyberbullying; and social exclusion.
Many times bullying is not addressed due to the fact that these crimes are not recognized by the true nature and name of the crime: assault in the third; or sexual assault; or assault one. Each community and school system needs to develop a definition of bullying; develop consistent enforcement of effective consequences for verbal and physical aggression; build positive connections at school and in the community; monitor the programs to confirm that consequences are effective; create an effective counseling program for the bullies, and their victims; and create an anti-bullying campaign in each school system, and the community at large.
The New York Dignity for All Students Act
Signed by Governor Patterson on September 8, 2010.
Scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2012.
Specifically bans harassment and discrimination against students based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, color, weight, national origin, ethnicity, religion and/or disability.
Requires New York State school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies.
This law also mandates each district appoint at least one staff member in each school to implement anti-bullying techniques and methods.
Also requires that administrators report incidents of bullying or bias-based harassment to the New York State Department of Education.
Some Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied
How To Help Your Child
“Cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others.” B. Belsey
Online bullying, or cyberbullying, is on the rise. Primarily used by teens via the Internet, cellphones, and other devices to hurt or embarrass another person.
“Sexting” is an explicit text message or photo sent from a wireless phone. Most sexting happens from one cellphone to another. Teens are becoming more aggressive in their cellphone dialog. They are more willing to text something that they would not say face-to-face. The apparent dangers are that a picture or message can be forwarded to hundreds of people and become public knowledge. Texting inappropriate photos can turn into a criminal matter. It is a form of cyberbullying, and any image that depicts a minor in a sexual activity or indecent manner is considered child pornography. Police will prosecute an adult or child who engages in explicit media with a minor, and parents can be prosecuted.
Parents need to become tech-savvy in this digital age. Check your child’s computer and cellphone. For sexting, check your child’s outgoing text messages to monitor communication. Look for text acronyms that you can find online and compare these with your child’s cellphone text. If your child is deleting outgoing texts, s/he may be trying to hide something. Also look in the inbox or trash folders to read texts that they may have tried to delete. Speak with your child and set limits on cellphone and computer use. Become an informed parent by always checking your child’s communication online and via his or her cellphone.
“Cyberbullies” are the perpetrators of this crime. They often spread lies and rumors about the victims, send or forward cruel information, post photographs of victims without their consent, pretend to be someone else to trick others online to reveal personal information. A child or teen may be cyberbullying if they quickly close programs or switch to another program; laughs while using the computer; avoids discussions as to what they are doing on the computer; has friends over to view what they are doing, or notifies friends to view a website or chat room; uses the computer at all hours of the night; and is using multiple online accounts, or an account that is not theirs.
“Cyberbully victims” should inform their parents, schools, and the police regarding any threatening or severely negative remarks, photographs, etc.; never post or share personal information online or your friend’s personal information, or share your passwords, except with your parents; never meet anyone in person that you meet online; share with your parents what you are viewing and seeing online; always block the communication with the cyberbully; talk to your parents and friends; and report the cyberbully to your ISP (Internet Service Provider). You may contact http://www.cybertipline.com/ to report cyberbullying.
Your child may be cyberbullied by someone if he or she appears nervous or upset when an Instant Message or Email appears or when they are on the computer looking at a site like Facebook, Ello, Yik Yak, tsu, Twitter, and other social media sites; unexpectedly stops using the computer, and when you ask why, makes up a quick excuse; is uneasy about going to school or going to parties, etc.; avoids discussions about the computer; appears angry or depressed after using the computer, or just angry or depressed in general; and/or becomes withdrawn from usual friends or family. The VRC can provide the “Bringing in the Bystander” training for students and staff. This program provides many techniques for students and school personnel.
Teens and children can also help others being cyberbullied by refusing to participate in this behavior, tell friends to stop this behavior, and report this behavior to a trusted adult. Schools should develop cyberbullying rules, and raise awareness of this issue by creating an anti-cyberbullying campaign program.
How May We Help?
LET’S FIND A WAY FORWARD TOGETHER.