October is National Bullying Prevention Month. People and organizations around the country will be spreading the message that bullying will not be tolerated. You can be part of the solution! Report bullying, wear orange this month to show your support, and go out of your way to be kind to others.
“Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time,” according to the website Youth.gov. Bullying actions may include “making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”
Bullying doesn’t always happen in person these days. It often occurs via technology, or cyberbullying. A 2017 study from the National Center for Education Statistics found that one in fi ve kids ages 12–18 report ed being bullied. Other surveys have reported similar numbers—about 20 percent of kids say they have been bullied.
Kids and adults have increased their technology use due to the COVID-19 pan demic. Through online schooling, increased social media use and interactive gaming, more time spent in the digital sphere means a greater chance that kids will experience cyberbullying.
If you are being bullied, you should tell a trusted adult. You should tell someone when you see others being bullied, too. If you experience or witness cyberbullying, the National Bullying Prevention Centeradvises:
• Tell your parents or an adult you trust, and ask for their advice.
• Report the situation to the technology, app, or social media provider.
• If the situation involves classmates, let your teacher know.
• Show support to the person being bullied by reaching out to them
with a kind message.
• Document the bullying—take screenshots and save texts.
On Unity Day, Wednesday, Oct. 21, you can wear orange to show your support for other kids and tell the world that bullying is not okay. Julie Hertzog is the director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, which sponsors Unity Day and founded National Bullying Prevention Month in 2006. “By wearing and sharing ORANGE on Unity Day, we can send the unifi ed message that we care about student’s physical and emotional health and that bullying will no longer be accepted in this society,” says Hertzog.
Find more information at pacer.org/bullying/