It’s Time We Stop Cyberbullying | Corona, CA

As parents, we all want our children to be safe and sound, even when we aren’t around to watch them. Unfortunately, the world has really taken an aggressive turn for the worse with our access to the internet. The more we become closer, the easier it is for those with ill intentions to find us. And with social media, we have a new form of bullying to be concerned about – cyberbullying.

Because social media is now the way of the world, we need to be aware of any changes to our children’s demeanor, in case it takes a turn for the worse. And because it is online, it’s difficult to run away from the bully. Cell phones and computers themselves are not to blame for cyberbullying. Social media sites can be used for positive activities, like connecting kids with friends and family, helping students with school, and for entertainment. It’s a shame that these tools can also be used to hurt other people.

  • Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach a kid even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night.
  • Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source.
  • Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.

For a short video/film on cyberbullying, click here.

Whether done in person or through technology, the effects of bullying are similar. If you or someone you know is being cyberbullied, talk to someone you trust.

If you would like to learn more about cyberbullying prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Students at Risk for Bullying | Corona, CA

There’s no doubt that bullying has become a problematic epidemic in the United States, but just how much of a problem has it become? Whether it be cyber bullying or bullying in real life, just about everyone has experienced some degree of bullying throughout their lifetime. Though some children and teens experience bullying at high rates and with more persistence than others, just about every child around the country is mostly likely going to have some type of connection to bullying.

Sadly, children and teens that are considered different than others are the most frequent targets of bullies. Youth with disabilities; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students; students that are overweight; and students that are perceived as weak or insecure are the most likely targets of bullies. However, even if a child does have these risk factors, it doesn’t mean they will get bullied.

The problem really stems from the fact that many bullied students will not speak up when it happens, for fear of retaliation, not being believed, etc. And sadly, we continue to hear how this bullying is affecting the students directly – at times having an incredibly tragic end. We, as adults, need to be able to make our children feel comfortable with speaking up without feeling scared to do so.

In addition, parents and teachers that are in close contact with children on the school’s campus need to help put bullying to an end. It takes a village to raise a child – we all need to come together to support and accept one another to help reduces these alarming statistics as a community.

If you would like to learn more about bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

The ABCs of a Bully | Corona, CA

When it comes to bullies, there is a general personality type we can look for. But how does it begin? After all, babies aren’t born bullies – it is a reaction to the environment they are surrounded by. Children who bully use their power to hurt others, and are often hot-tempered, inflexible, rebellious, and often lack empathy. Let’s trace this behavior back to the beginning…

It may seem young, but in preschool years, bullies often use direct verbal bullying and physical power to control material objects or territory because they may not have the skills necessary to interact in socially appropriate ways.

In the elementary school years, bullies are more inclined to use threats and physical force to make victims do things that they do not want to do. During this time period, some children may begin to use indirect bullying to exclude peers from their social circle and activities.

In the middle and high school years, it is all about fitting in so bullies rely on direct verbal and physical bullying. Rumor-spreading and social exclusion through the use of the Internet or cell phone are also the latest trend. Boys rely on bullying for physical dominance, girls to enhance their social status.

Bullies fail to develop the social skills necessary for sharing, reciprocating, empathizing, and negotiating – key necessities to having healthy relationships, and as they mature into adulthood, children who have bullied others often show higher rates of:

  • Aggression
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Carrying weapons to school
  • Dropping out
  • Crime
  • Difficulty controlling their emotions
  • Depression
  • Suicides

If bullies can change these patterns of behavior before they become habitual and entrenched, will be less likely to suffer with these devastating and long-term effects.

If you would like to learn more about personality traits of bullies, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Start the Year off with Simple Acts of Kindness | Corona, CA

The holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean our kind acts need to be. In fact, on your list of resolutions, why not add simple acts of kindness? There are several simple acts of care and kindness that could make someone’s entire day turn around, even after having a terrible start.

In this day and age, bullying is occurring more often, making a simple act of kindness that much more important now. It’s up to us as individuals to help show others kindness and positivity prevails in any situation. Here are 10 simple acts of care and kindness that could possibly turn someone’s frown upside down:

  • If people around are gossiping about another, chime in with something nice to say about them.
  • Smile at someone, just because. Smiles are contagious!
  • Try to make sure everyone in a group conversation feels included.
  • Write a little positive note to a friend.
  • Talk and make the new kid at school feel welcome.
  • If someone is being bullied, stand up for them.
  • Give your seat up to someone on the bus.
  • Make two lunches and give away one.
  • Talk to the shy person who’s sitting by themselves at lunch.
  • Be kind to everyone, even if they are bullying you. “Kill them with kindness.”

This year, let’s us all come together and contribute all sorts of simple acts of care and kindness. Bringing in a little bit of proverbial sunshine to someone’s life should be something everyone wants to do. Imagine the world if we did?

If you would like to learn more about simple acts of kindness, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

October is National Anti-Bullying Month | Corona, CA

Rumors, nasty comments, pushing, shoving, hitting – they have no place in our schools. It’s not just “kids being kids”. It’s not just something they will outgrow. Bullying and harassment are serious issues with serious consequences. Students who are bullied are more likely to be depressed, to think about and attempt suicide, and have behavior problems and difficulty learning.

Bullying contributes to poor school attendance, which is a barrier to improving student achievement for all. It affects efforts to close the achievement gap, a longstanding priority for the PTA. Nationally, an estimated 160,000 children miss school every day because of bullying. Prevention of bullying is a priority issue of the PTA because quite simply– children need to attend school in a safe environment.

Governor Jerry Brown signed important legislation sponsored by PTA to protect students from bullying and harassment. AB 1156, by Assembly member Mike Eng, gives students, their families and their teachers effective tools to help better ensure school is a place where everyone is free to learn and teach without the threat of harm. The bill requires training of school site personnel in the prevention of bullying, and it gives victims of bullying priority for transferring out of a school, if requested.

Training sessions on bullying prevention and intervention are now available through the California Department of Education for teachers, administrators, parents, students, certificated staff, risk management and community members. These sessions provide knowledge about the dynamics of bullying, a greater understanding of a systematic approach to bullying, and increase skills in identifying and implementing strategies to address bullying.

If you would like to learn more about National Anti-Bullying Month, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

September Is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month | Corona, CA

Now that we are smack-dab in the middle of back-to-school season, it is important that parents are sensitive to our children as they report the day’s events. Keeping an eye on their daily attitudes will help catch any signs of depression or adverse effects from fights with friends or bullying.

It is a fact: one in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Sadly, children are cruel when it comes to physical differences, so unfortunately, a child suffering from obesity is likely to suffer from bullying. It is important to teach your child not to let words affect them, but it is also important as parents to prevent unhealthy lifestyle choices for our tiny humans. Thankfully, childhood obesity can be prevented. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active.

How can National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month make a difference? We can all use this month to raise awareness about the obesity epidemic and show people how they can take steps toward a solution. Celebrate this health awareness month with these tips:

  • Make small changes as a family, like keeping fresh fruit or going on a family walk after dinner.
  • Motivate teachers and administrators to make schools a healthier environment for every child by providing healthy food options, daily physical activities and lessons about bully prevention.

If you would like to learn more about National Childhood Obesity Month, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Mean Girls Isn’t Just a Movie | Corona, CA

If you’ve ever seen the classic movie, Mean Girls, you know that girls don’t really take feelings into consideration when they choose to prey on another girl. It’s a dog eat dog world, especially in schools and sadly, girls are often worse than boys in that they use verbal abuse over physical bullying. Most Anti-bullying programs don’t look at friendship issues, but for girls, that’s where the aggression usually happens. Here are some tips that can help:

Start by building strong connections at home. You want to be understanding and a good listener. But that doesn’t mean asking questions that can be leading or suggest that she has been wronged.

Validate the range of emotions she is experiencing are valid. Help your daughter understand that all emotions, both positive and negative, are normal.  Remind her that bad emotions don’t make her a bad girl. By allowing her anger or irritation to play out will help her calm down quicker than if you just play down the situation.

Avoid problem-solving for her. You want your daughter to learn how to handle herself in these situations and in life. Be there for her and don’t just tell her what to do. Helping her work through what is going on by asking her questions.

Try role play to work through the problem. Help your daughter hold her ground with her own strong but not aggressive statements. Sometimes, a better idea is to start developing new friendships and avoid that “friend.”

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Thirteen Reasons Why We Need Good Friends | Corona, CA

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have at least heard of the newest Netflix show “13 Reasons Why”. The basic synopsis is this: a high school student commits suicide, but before she does, she makes 13 cassette tapes with the reasons that led her up to committing the act. It is up to those she left behind to figure out that everything could’ve been prevented had they just been a good friend to her. Kind of makes you ask yourself – am I a good friend?

But what exactly makes one a good friend? If you really want to know, ask yourself what it is that you look for in your friends. Do you reciprocate those same actions to them? Here is a quick list of traits people look for when finding themselves a friend…how many do you do?

Honesty is the best policy. Trust is important in any relationship, but especially in friendships. After all, if you can’t trust your friends’ opinions, who do you turn to when you need them? Same goes for you. If your friends ask for an opinion, give them an honest one.

A friend ‘til the end. After trust is earned, loyalty is expected. If you hear someone is talking about your friend, stand up for them. Always remember the golden rule!

A shoulder to lean on. One of the most important aspects of friendship is support. Listen to them and give good advice. Being there for one another is the best defense against any kind of bullying.

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Good or Bad, Words Matter | Corona, CA

One of the biggest problems we have in schools is bullying. Thankfully, we have a week every year focused on the impact of words in our communication. During Words Matter Week, we need to consider the importance of our words in our day-to-day lives. This isn’t about of talking just to talk, this is about carefully crafted language. Words Matter Week is a time to focus on banishing grammatically incorrect and hurtful words from our written and spoken communication.

The quote for Words Matter Week 2015 is simple – “If you wouldn’t write it and sign it, don’t say it”.

Because it seems bullying starts at a young age, it is a good idea to speak to your students about the way various forms of speech affects others, both positively and negatively. Try these questions to spark a discussion in the classroom:

  • Words can change history. What word, speech, or document do you believe to be most important?
  • What writers make your heart sing? Why?
  • What word, said or unsaid, has or could change your life? How?
  • Communication breaks down when words are misused. What is the funniest or worst break-down you’ve ever observed?
  • What person in your life helped you understand the importance of choosing words carefully?
  • If you had to eliminate one word or phrase from the English language, what would it be? Why?

Words Matter Week is celebrated annually, with celebrations held online at www.WordsMatterWeek.com and at libraries, bookstores, and schools nationwide and is sponsored by the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE).

If you would like to learn more about Words Matter Week and what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

The History of Seth’s Law | Corona, CA

bullyingIn the current climate, it’s fitting that we take a moment to reflect on a law passed in California that protects public school children from bullying. That law? Seth’s Law. Seth’s Law is a 2012 law that strengthens existing state anti-bullying laws to protect all students. This law requires CA public schools to update their anti-bullying policies and programs, focusing on protecting students who are bullied based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity/gender expression, as well as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, and religion.

California law says that all public school students should have equal rights and opportunities. Yet many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students report that they experience significant bullying in California schools. And teachers, administrators, and other staff often fail to address the bullying when they see it.

Seth’s Law is named after a 13-year-old California student who tragically took his own life in 2010 after years of anti-gay bullying that his school failed to address.

Under this law, school districts will adopt a strong anti-bullying policy that prohibits bullying and implement a specific process for receiving and investigating complaints of bullying, including a requirement that school personnel intervene if they witness bullying. Additionally, publicize anti-bullying policy and complaint process, including support materials in all schools, offices and district websites.

Seth’s Law specifically contains the following requirement: “If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.” (Education Code Section 234.1(b)(1))]

If you would like to learn more about Seth’s Law and what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.