Cyber Bullying: What to Look for and How to Stop It | Corona, CA

March 23, 2022 | Beau Yarbrough, Los Angeles Daily News

Most students report having been cyber bullied, but some schools have been able to reduce incidents by hiring additional counselors and creating online portals to report bullying and putting links to them everywhere.

(TNS) — Today’s kids face bullying and other dangers in two worlds, one online and the other offline.

“Parenting is parenting and digital spaces are just another place that kids hang out,” said Stephanie M. Reich, professor of education at UC Irvine.

A new Southern California News Group analysis shows that 33.5 percent of California secondary students reported being bullied or harassed in the past 12 months in an anonymous survey distributed in three-quarters of California school districts.

But the same kind of practical advice parents give their children before heading to school or a friend’s house can also protect them from cyber bullying online.

“When your kid is little and they want to go to the park, you don’t just open the door and say ‘There you go,’” Reich said.

According to a survey conducted between May and June 2021 by the Cyberbullying Research Center, 23.2 percent of children in America had been cyber bullied, with the highest numbers experienced by 15 year olds, 27.7 percent of whom had said they’d been bullied.

Cyber bullying can take many forms, from messages or social media posts intended to upset the target, online gossip, recording and posting offline bullying online, or impersonating bullying victims or creating doctored images to defame them.

In a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, 59 percent of teens surveyed said they’d experienced cyber bullying at some point.

“People always think about it as this dark shadowy thing that nobody is aware of that’s somehow different than what bullying is like,” Reich said. “But cyber bullying is a lot like in-person bullying.”

The consequences of cyber bullying, however, can be more severe than offline bullying, according to the National Institutes of Health. Cyber bullying victims are more likely to suffer from depression than those who are bullied in other ways, for example.

There are school districts in California that have much lower reported rates of bullying — some as low as one-third the statewide average. The rates are typically a result of improving school mental health climates, hiring additional counselors and implementing more robust anti-bullying policies and procedures.

More and more, school districts are taking what happens online as seriously as what happens on campus, according to Loretta Whitson, executive director of California Association of School Counselors.

“I can tell you that, many times, kids were pretty upset about being suspended when they (bullied) online, when they were at home,” she said. “But it disrupted education, and that was the rule.”

Districts with low rates of reported bullying often create online portals to report bullying and put links to them everywhere, including on students’ Chromebooks or other district-issued devices, by posting QR codes around campus and placing links on district and school websites. They also sometimes monitor how students use district devices and Internet use, flagging signs of bullying.

Jurupa Unified in Riverside County has both widespread links to the district’s bullying reporting line and uses software to flag when students visit inappropriate websites, including those dealing with drug use or self-harm.

The reporting tools have been getting a workout in the past two years.

“Since the pandemic, even during the virtual year, the actionable reports that have been put in have greatly increased,” said Monty Owens, the district’s director of educational equity.

The biggest way the districts combat cyber bullying, though, is the same way they combat it offline: By changing the school and district culture.

“One of the key characteristics of schoolyard bullying is that there’s a bunch of bystanders standing by, watching, not doing anything,” Reich said. “It’s the same in digital spaces. We want to train kids to intervene.”

That training is taking place in school districts with lower bullying rates. But Reich says there’s more work to do off school grounds to combat bullying.

“It’s really about a community that doesn’t tolerate it on the playground and they don’t tolerate it in digital spaces,” she said.

To get ahead of the issue, Reich said children should learn empathy to help prevent cyber bullying.

“If you’re empathetic, you’re not going to hurt others online and you’re less likely to tolerate it happening to other people online,” she said.

And that includes empathy for the bullies, too.

“Cyber bullies are often cyber-victims themselves,” she said.

Plus, she said, “they often have households that are not great. They have very neglectful parents or very laissez faire ones. They’re usually bullies because they’re trying to assert control.”

Reich believes parents should teach their children to be aware of the possible dangers online and how to avoid them, as well as develop trust with children so they are willing to share about things that concern or upset them.

“If you cultivate a high quality relationship with your child, you can have those conversations with them, whether it’s about digital spaces or offline,” Reich said.

With her own children, she gave her kids access to digital devices and the Internet gradually, based on their developmental stage. And just like talking about the hazards one could encounter on the way to the park, she spoke to her children about how algorithms for various social platforms shove engaging content at users without any concern about whether it’s healthy or accurate.

“We’re just trying to cultivate our kids being conscious and aware when they’re using devices,” she said.

And for parents looking for specific practical advice, the Boy Scouts — who have an online safety training course for scouts as young as first grade — have some tips:

Common types of cyber bullying

  • Flaming, trolling or trash talking by sending or posting hostile messages intended to upset others
  • Recording someone being harassed or bullied, then posting the video online for public viewing
  • Identify theft or impersonation
  • Doctored images
  • Physical threats
  • Spreading rumors or public shaming

Signs a child may be a victim of cyber bullying

  • Avoids computer, cell phone and other devices
  • Appears stressed when receiving an email, instant message or text message
  • Withdraws from family and friends
  • Reluctant to attend school or social events
  • Avoids conversations about their computer use
  • Exhibits signs of low self-esteem, including depression or fear
  • Has declining grades
  • Has poor eating or sleeping habits
  • Acts secretive when online

What to do if your child is being cyber bullied

  • Encourage your child not to respond to the bully
  • Do not erase the messages or pictures, and take screenshots and save them as evidence
  • Try to identify the individual doing the cyber bullying, even if the cyber bully is anonymous
  • If the cyber/gaming bullying is criminal — such as threats of violence, extortion, obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages, stalking, hate crimes or child pornography — contact the police

This story is part of a 2021 Data Fellowship with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism.

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

It’s Time the World Stands Up to Bullying | Corona, CA

When it comes to bullying, there isn’t just the bullied that is affected. Of course, the victim hurt on many different levels. But the bully is also affected – after all, hurt people hurt people. Even those that are a witness to said bullying are affected. No one likes to see someone hurting. Therefore, it is so important that we combat bullying any way we can.

In the United States alone, 20 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 18 say they have experienced some type of bullying. That is a heartbreaking statistic. But if you think of it on a global scale, one-third of the world’s youth are bullied. Those who did the bullying had more social influence, more money, or were physically stronger than the person they bullied. You see, they have this idea that they’re “better” than you. And unfortunately, it can happen at any point in time. The bullying will take place in a school cafeteria, hallway, classroom, school grounds, or bathroom. Some bullies also use texting and online platforms to target their victims.

But there is hope… In 2008, Canada celebrated the first International Stand Up to Bullying Day. It started in February, but it is celebrated twice a year. And today is that day. Schools around the world are celebrating this anti-bullying tour de force by wearing a pink shirt to spread awareness of this very important cause. Because this can’t be done by one student alone – we all need to stand up to bullying if it’s ever going to stop.

So, wear that pink shirt with pride and put your foot down against bullying.

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

21 Facts About Bullying You May Not Know | Corona, CA

bullying

No one likes a bully. And no one deserves to be bullied. Unfortunately, while it feels like you’re the only one enduring the pain that is associated with bullying, it is something that happens to so many of us in our lifetimes. In fact, there are some pretty awful statistics revolving around bullying. Thankfully, light always cast away darkness – and some of the most brilliant light comes from simple acts of kindness. So, don’t be afraid of the bullies and never let them get you down. You aren’t alone. And it will get better.

1. More than half of people under 25 have experienced bullying at some point.

2. 20% of people surveyed, said that they often experienced verbal bullying.

3. 24% of young people are worried about getting abuse online

4. People with a physical disability, are unfortunately more likely to experience bullying than a person without a physical disability.

5. 5% of people surveyed, said that they constantly experienced physical bullying.

6. Social exclusion is a form of bullying. That means, when your mates leave you out on purpose to hurt your feelings, they are indirectly bullying you.

7. More than a third of people go on to develop Social Anxiety and Depression as a direct result of bullying.

8. Almost a quarter of those who have been bullied have had suicidal thoughts.

9. Guys are more likely to bully someone than anyone else.

10.  Those who bully are far more likely to have experienced stressful and traumatic situations in recent times.

11. Of those who bullied daily, 58% had experienced the death of a relative.

12. Bullying is not an identity, but a learnt behavior.

13. The #1 most common reason why people experience bullying is because of attitudes towards their appearance, with attitudes towards hobbies & interests and clothing coming in close at second and third place.

14. 69% of people have admitted to doing something abusive to another person online

15. 62% of people said they were bullied by a classmate

16. People who identify as LGBT+ are more likely to experience bullying.

17. 26% of people reported experiencing cyberbullying in the past 12-months. (2019)

18. More than a quarter of people have had suicidal thoughts as a result of cyberbullying.

19. 35% of people have sent a screenshot of someone’s status to laugh at in a group chat.

20. Almost two-thirds of people agreed that social networks don’t do enough to combat cyberbullying.

21. 44% of people under 25 said that ‘real-life’ means ‘only things that happen offline.’

All statistics are taken from Ditch the Label research.

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

When It Comes to Bullying of LGBTQ Teens Local Politics Matters | Corona, CA

By Cara Murez, HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Youth who identify as LGBTQ+ suffer more bullying at their schools when they live in areas with politically conservative voting records, a new study finds.

School boards should do more to implement policies that go beyond minimum protections for LGBTQ+ youth, regardless of political affiliation, the researchers suggested.

“To my knowledge, nobody has really looked at this connection between a school district’s political attitudes and the experiences of LGBTQ+ students in schools,” said study co-author Paul Kwon, a professor of psychology at Washington State University. “This project highlights an inequity that is not talked about a lot and shows the need for more explicit and inclusive anti-bullying legislation and policies that help mitigate the risks to LGBTQ+ youth, regardless of district political attitudes.”

The study examined school district voting records in the 2016 presidential election, as well as bullying experiences in schools and mental health outcomes of LGBTQ+ students in Washington state using the 2018 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey. The survey included 50,000 students in grades eight to 12, asking about sexual and gender identity, bullying and whether or not teachers intervened during instances of bullying. About 20% of the students included in the survey identified as being LGBTQ+.

Researchers found that LGBTQ+ students are at a higher risk for psychological distress and suicidal thoughts as a result of bullying, particularly in school districts that voted for former President Donald Trump in the 2016 election. These students also reported their teachers were less likely to intervene in instances of bullying than students who responded from more liberal voting districts. The study only found an association between political leanings, bullying and teacher intervention; it wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect link.

In areas where teachers intervened almost always, instances of bullying for LGBTQ+ students matched their non-LGBTQ+ peers, whereas without intervention the LGBTQ+ students reported more bullying.

“This was especially prevalent in more conservative school districts where LGBTQ+ youth report less teacher intervention despite experiencing more bullying,” Kwon said in a university news release. “Over 35% of youth in our study are students in a conservative-leaning school district, possibly placing them at greater risk for more bullying experiences and higher psychological distress.”

The researchers suggested school policy should include explicit parameters for training and education for teachers regarding LGBTQ+ bullying, as well as steps for teachers and administrators to intervene following LGBTQ+ bullying experiences. All school websites should explicitly describe anti-bullying policies as they relate to LGBTQ+ youth using specific examples, the authors said.

“We also recommend educators discuss anti-bullying policy with students and families at the start of each school year, while concurrently highlighting LGBTQ+ identities, particularly in conservative districts,” Kwon said. “After all, students have little choice in the school they attend, almost no choice in the school district they belong to and are unable to vote until they are 18. Thus, they are subjected to the environment of the school and broader culture of the school district chosen for them.”

The findings were published recently in the journal Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy.

The Trevor Lifeline provides LGBTQ+ individuals with crisis intervention and suicide prevention help.

SOURCE: Washington State University, news release, July 19, 2021

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

Student Bullying Facts and Statistics | 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.

The following list includes many alarming and disheartening facts and statistics concerning both cyber bullying and bullying in real life:

Bullying Facts and Statistics

  • According to bully statistics, the percentage of students varies anywhere between 9% to 98%.
  • A study was conducted by the US National Library of Medicine, which explored bullying over 1025 students at the college level by students and teachers, it was found that out of 1025 undergraduates students, 24.7% bully other students occasionally while 2.8% do it very frequently.
  • 49% of children in grades four to 12 have been bullied by other students at school level at least once.
  • 23% of college students stated to have been bullied two or more times in the past month.
  • 20% of the US students in grades nine to 12 reported being bullied.
  • 71% of youth have witnessed bullying at school.
  • 70% of school staff have reported being a witness to bullying.
  • Statistics on Facebook bullying found that at least 1 million kids were bullied on Facebook in 2017 alone.
  • 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.

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

Don’t Be Scared of Bullies | Corona, CA

October marks National Bullying Prevention Month, but today is Halloween, so let’s go into this spooky night with the idea of having a really sweet time. No one should have to tolerate people being mean to them, and if they do, they need to know it will be okay. Not only will things get better, but there are things that can be done to get the bullying to stop. After all, this is the time of year we pretend to be anything we want to be – there is no place for bullies. So, as we gather together with friends to trick-or-treating, here are some tips to think about, in case someone tries to ruin your Halloween fun:

  • Stick with friends and try to avoid being alone in targeted areas like locker rooms, restrooms, and places the bully tends to hang around.
  • Be assertive and show confidence when standing up for yourself. Body language can work wonders – standing up straight and making eye contact will show you aren’t going to stand for it.
  • Ignore the bully by walking away or by not responding to their insults at all. They want to get a rise out of you.
  • Don’t seek revenge – it will only make things worse.
  • Don’t keep it a secret. Ask your friends or an adult for help.

If you see someone bullied:

  • Speak up for those being bullied.
  • Don’t join in the act of bullying and refuse to even watch someone being bullied.
  • Give support by talking to the person being bullied in private; extend your friendship and listening ear.
  • You should report any bullying you see to teachers or another adult.

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

Facts and Statistics of Bullying | Corona, CA

We all know that bullying is a problem, and it feels like everywhere you look is a new way that someone is being bullied. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like – you can become a victim of bullying. And until we can rid the world of the bullies, the best we can do is try to prevent it from happening in our day to day lives. Every good deed counts.

As we are gearing up for the new school year, we need to take a look at some of the facts that our students are facing going to school each day. It isn’t just in your neighborhood, it’s everywhere. But it doesn’t have to be. Talk to your students. Pay attention to subtle changes they may make. No one wants to admit to being bullied but their demeanor will surely be affected. Teach them that bullying is bad and to say something if they see it being done. These few tips will help to ensure a healthy, happy school year:

About 42 percent of kids have been bullied while online with one in four being verbally attacked more than once.

About 35 percent of kids have been threatened online.

About 58 percent of kids and teens have reported that something mean has been said about them or to them online.

About 77 percent of students have admitted to being the victim of one type of bullying or another.

The American Justice Department bullying statistics show that one out of every four kids will be bullied sometime throughout their adolescence.

160,000 children within the United States stay home each day due to bullying situations.

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

Why Students May Not Talk About Bullying | Corona, CA

Many of us know a child who has stayed home from school because they were afraid of being bullied – but you may not realize it. An average of 160,000 students around the country stay home daily out of fear of being bullied each day but do not tell an adult. There are 5 universal reasons why this is the case…

Don’t tattle. We have all been taught not to tattle, but it is vitally important that children learn the difference between tattling about unimportant things and telling someone when bullying is taking place.

Don’t make it worse. Children may fear that things could escalate if the issue is addressed.

Won’t be believed. Some children feel that they will not be listened to and that the issue will not be believed if they tell an adult or suggest it was self-inflicted.

Won’t help. A majority of children believe that telling an adult does nothing to stop the bullying. Sadly, research tends to support this thought. If children learn that adults won’t help, then they are not very likely to report the incidents.

Shame. When children are bullied, they often feel ashamed or embarrassed. These feelings alone can keep them from reporting issues, because they don’t want people to know that they were being bullied.

The challenges that children face when not telling adults that they are being bullied can be dealt with by having a bully prevention program in place in every school, as well as parents and adults talking to children about bullying and the importance of telling someone in authority when it happens, and treated in a positive light.

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

Just the Facts, Sir: Bullying Edition | Corona, CA

With as much media attention as has been given to the tragic consequences of bullying, one only has to read the comments section of online articles about bullying to really see that many adults still don’t fully comprehend the negative impact that bullying has on so many children every day. And unfortunately, there are many times that parents will be unaware of any bullying their child may be facing in their daily life. It doesn’t even matter where you live or who you are – there are bullies everywhere.

In order to fully grasp just how incredible bullying has gotten in the last few years, let’s take a look at some bullying statistics:

Because of bullying, 160,000 kids in the US stay home from school every day.

83% of bullying incidents receive no intervention and continue to happen.

Bullies are four times more likely to engage in criminal behavior as an adult and often develop suicidal thoughts.

Male bullying more often consists of verbal and physical abuse, whereas female bullies use verbal abuse and social bullying by spreading of rumors.

Only half of educators have received training on how to handle bullying situations.

In a 2007 report it showed that nearly 80% of students who experienced bullying stated that it occurred inside the school grounds.

Verbal assaults amongst children more often target appearances and behaviors rather than race or religious affiliations.

33.1% of middle and high school students surveyed agree or strongly agrees that teachers can stop bullying.  And 2/3 of these students are not confident that they can get help from their teachers.

Approximately one out of ten Internet users aged 10-17 had been the victim of cyber bullying.

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

Reasons Kids May Not Mention Bullying | Corona, CA

No one wants to be bullied. Growing up is hard enough as it is. Unfortunately, many times you don’t get the choice. It is estimated that an average of 160,000 students around the country stay home daily out of fear of being bullied each day. And more often than not, parents are unaware that the bullying is taking place. But why? Here are the top five reasons your child may not be mentioning that they are getting bullied:

Tattle tales. We are taught as children that no one likes a tattle tale. However, it is vitally important that children learn the difference between tattling about unimportant things and telling someone when bullying is taking place.

Retaliation. While the adult may be able to address the issue with the child doing the bullying at the time, but they aren’t always going to be around. There is nothing scarier than having a bully retaliate.

Liar, liar. Some children are skittish to tell an adult for fear of not being believed. Some will even believe that maybe they did something to bring the bullying on themselves.

No help. A majority of children believe that telling an adult does nothing to stop the bullying. Sadly, research tends to support this thought. Often kids are told to “toughen up”, or “that it is just a part of growing up”.

Shame. When children are bullied, they often feel ashamed or embarrassed. These feelings alone can keep them from reporting issues, because they don’t want people to know that they were being bullied.

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.