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.

My Big Idea: Anti-Bullying Software for the Classroom | Corona, CA

OCTOBER 12, 2022 | by ALENE BOURANOVA

It’s no secret that bullying is still prevalent in classrooms. In fact, one in five children report being bullied during their school years.

It’s also not a secret that thanks to staff shortages and budget cuts, teachers and counselors are increasingly being asked to cover more and more students, making it easier for instances of bullying to slip through the cracks.

That’s where Brave Up comes in.

The software, which Juan Ramirez (Questrom’21) and Enrique De Lima (CAS’21) helped bring to market, is aimed at students and counselors to help predict, detect, and prevent bullying and cyberbullying inside K–12 classrooms. Brave Up launched in early 2022 and is in use in 150-plus schools across both the United States and Latin America, where much of the leadership team is from.

Comprehensive anti-bullying software has been a long time coming in the education technology space, says Ramirez, Brave Up’s head of revenue and strategy. And particularly now, with students back in classrooms after COVID lockdowns and struggling to adjust to a changed social landscape.

To continue reading this article, click here.

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.

Going Back to School and Making Friends | Corona, CA

Welcome to another school year! For some, it is returning to the same school with the same friends. For others, this may be a very scary time as they are starting in a new place without anyone familiar. Here are some helpful tips to think about when it comes to making friends and having a great school year:

Smile. Smiles make you seem friendly and make others feel special.

Make eye contact. When you look people in the eye, they feel like you’re interested in them and what they are saying.

Say hello. Greet classmates you haven’t talked to before – hello is the first step toward making a new friend. Make a goal to talk to one new person a week.

Forget stereotypes. Don’t stereotype schoolmates by the groups they belong to and don’t limit yourself to your current group.

Be involved. Extracurricular activities are opportunities to meet others who like the same things you do.

Be better. You don’t have to be the same as you were last year. The older you become, the more life experience you have, the better your social skills become.

Ask for advice. If you’re having trouble making friends or keeping friends, turn to people you respect to talk about your difficulties.

Be a good friend. Treat others the way you want them to treat you.

Be trustworthy. Keep your friends’ secrets and confidences, no matter how tempting telling others might be.

Be truthful. Lying might feel easier, but the truth eventually comes out and makes the situation much worse.

Speak up. If you see someone bring bullied or called names, stand up for the victim.

Apologize. If you hurt someone or mistakenly do something you shouldn’t have, say you’re sorry.

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.

Mississippi 10-Year-Old Writes Anti-Bullying Book | Corona, CA

By Associated Press | Aug. 27, 2022, at 1:01 a.m. By BLAKE ALSUP, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal TUPELO, Miss. (AP) —

William Faulkner was 29 years old.

Richard Wright was 30.

John Grisham, Eudora Welty and Greg Iles were all around age 33.

But Atiya Henley was just 10 years old when she published her first book.

Atiya will enter the fifth grade at West Clay Elementary this school year, but unlike most — if not all — of her classmates, she’s already a published author.

Published in February, Atiya’s short book, “The Mean Girls: A Bunch of Bullies,” carries an anti-bullying message.

Atiya’s mother, Amy Deanes, founded West Point-based Superior Publishing in 2020. The small publishing house currently distributes the work of 13 authors; among them, Atiya’s book has been the publisher’s best seller.

According to Deanes, her daughter has always been interested in writing stories. In fact, she wrote a book titled “Black Joe” before writing “The Mean Girls.”

The idea to write this specific book came about during a conversation with her mom. Atiya was playing a game, and Deanes suggested that she create her own game or write a book that other people can experience.

Although the book isn’t based on a situation she’s personally experienced or witnessed at school, she’s seen news reports on the effects of bullying. Atiya said she wanted to do something to help make people aware of bullying in an effort to help stop it.

“I’m very passionate of others’ feelings, and I don’t like when someone gets mistreated or left out,” Atiya said.

The 34-page book took her about a month to write. Her mother both edited and illustrated it.

Atiya and her eight classmates made up the entire fourth grade class at West Clay Elementary during the 2021-22 school year. Her whole class was involved in making the book, posing as characters in photo illustrations.

“We have a very small class, so basically all of them are best friends,” Atiya said.

The school’s principal, teachers and students were overjoyed to have an active part in the book’s creation and have supported it after release as Atiya has traveled to other schools and churches promoting it.

With a head start on what could be a productive career, Atiya is already planning future publications. She plans to publish the first book she penned, “Black Joe,” in the near future, and is currently working on a sequel to “The Mean Girls” subtitled “The Silent Bullies.”

The fifth grader has no intentions of putting down her proverbial pen. As an adult, she hopes to be an author and a real estate agent.

At just 10 years old, she’s already halfway there.

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.

A Catchy Tune with an Anti-Bullying Message | Corona, CA

An anti-bullying song is one of the tracks on the new album “Hazel Eyes” by local Hawaiian band Kolohe Kai. The song was used as part of the Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week campaign earlier this year.

Lead singer Roman De Peralta wrote the track “I Think You’re Beautiful,” and describes it as an uplifting song with an empowering message. The Conversation sat down with De Peralta to discuss the inspiration behind the music.

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.

Is It Sibling Rivalry or Bullying? | Corona, CA

When we welcome another child into the family, we expect that there will be a bit of jealousy and trying to become the favorite is going to be the goal to achieve. For most families, it turns into what we know as sibling rivalry; for others, it can take a different turn.

New research suggests that even when there are no physical scars, aggression between siblings can cause psychological wounds as damaging as the suffering caused by bullies at school or on the playground. The findings offer an unusual look at an area of family life that has rarely been studied, in part because fighting among brothers and sisters is widely considered a harmless rite of passage.

But ordinary skirmishes over the remote or joystick are one thing. But constant physical and verbal abuse is another. Normal rivalries with siblings can encourage healthy competition but when the line between healthy relations and abuse is crossed it is cause for alarm. When one child is consistently the victim of another and the aggression is intended to cause harm and humiliation, it is then to be considered a serious situation.

Nationwide, sibling violence is the most common form of family violence. It occurs four to five times as often as spousal or parental child abuse. According to some studies, nearly half of all children have been punched, kicked or bitten by a sibling, and roughly 15 percent have been repeatedly attacked. But even the most severe incidents are underreported because families are reluctant to acknowledge them, dismissing slaps and punches as horseplay and bullying as kids just being kids.

It can erode a child’s sense of identity and lower their self-esteem, which can inevitably lead to anxiety, depression and anger.

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.

Enjoy Your Summer with Family Activities! | Corona, CA

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone! We have officially made it to the kick-off of summer. And with that comes the constant nagging from the little ones about being bored. Now that we are back to having fun in public again, the options are never-ending. The time is now to plan some great family activities for the kiddos to look forward to as the season progresses. Make it a family vote and let the fun begin!

Camping. Stargazing at night will be a fun activity to do at night over some s’mores. If you don’t have easy access to a campground, do it in the backyard!

Sandcastles on the beach. Wherever you are in Southern California, you’re beach adjacent. It’s time for a family sandcastle contest!

Zoo. Many zoos have special activities planned for little ones, so make sure to look up what’s happening ahead of time to maximize your fun learning about animals.

Gardening. There is no better feeling than seeing your hard work pay off with beautiful flowers or delicious vegetables. Add some art by painting rocks to decorate your new garden!

Park playgrounds. A very cost-effective outing is your local park. Pack up a bit of lunch and spend the afternoon outside.

Theme parks. Theme parks are a perfect way to spend a summer day since there’s usually something for everyone.

Outdoor concerts. There are so many great outdoor events happening this summer, no matter where you’re from. Try to make it to at least one this season for a bit of culture.

Family bike rides. Learning to ride a bike is a milestone in most kids’ lives and a skill that they will never truly forget. Add some exercise to your schedule with a fun bike ride.

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.

School Attributes Anti-Bullying Setting for Student Success | Corona, CA

Hidden Treasure Christian School wants to make mission more visible

By Myra Ruiz | Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 5:00 PM PDT

TAYLORS, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – When John Vaughn, then a minister at Faith Baptist Church, started Hidden Treasure Christian School, he had his daughter’s best interests in mind.

“My dad didn’t want me in the public school system because other children would make fun of me and I would not learn about God,” Becky Vaughn told FOX Carolina.

On May 20, 1978, a house fire left Vaughn with third-degree burns on 95 percent of her body. Her mother, Brenda Vaughn, also survived the fire with third-degree burns to 65 percent of her body.

Not only did the pastor want a bully-free and academically-fulfilling education for his daughter but also one that would instill Christian values. Vaughn said she is grateful for the education she received.

“It helped me to have a biblical perspective to know that God had a purpose and a plan for my life,” Vaughn said.

When the school opened in 1981, its only two students were Vaughn and a 13-year-old girl with Down Syndrome. The next year, enrollment doubled and then kept growing in subsequent years. Today there are 60 students at the school – each diagnosed with a special need that may be physical, emotional, mental, intellectual or a combination of any of these.

Bullying has not been an issue here and we pray it never will be,” Dr. Carl Herbster, Hidden Treasure Administrator, told FOX Carolina. “We’re here to help parents raise their children in a way that would accomplish the greatest potential for that young person.”

Hidden Treasure customizes each student’s curriculum to fit individual needs. The low student-to-teacher ratio and special attention given to each pupil’s learning process have led families from other states to choose Hidden Treasure.

Veronica Smith moved from Atlanta. After touring the school, she realized that Hidden Treasure would be the best place for her 16-year-old daughter, Teagan, who is considered low-verbal.

“I love the school,” Smith said. “Her reading has improved. Her math has improved. Her writing has improved. Her confidence in herself has improved.”

The yearly tuition at Hidden Treasure is $21,000. As a private school, it does not receive any state or federal funding. The school raises money for scholarships, so families aren’t excluded due to financial need.

“We don’t want (Hidden Treasure) as a ministry be a hidden treasure,” Herbster said. “We want to develop the hidden treasure in every young person that comes to us.”

Copyright 2022 WHNS. All rights reserved.

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.

Random Acts of Kindness Day Should Be Year-Round | Corona, CA

Have you ever had someone randomly do something nice for you? Have you ever done something nice for someone out of the blue? It’s one of those simple ways you can brighten not only someone else’s day, but your day as well. There’s just something about making someone happy that can make your insides feel nice.

February 17th is known as National Act of Kindness Day. Sure, doing something nice for someone can, and should, happen every day of the year. But it’s a holiday that was created in New Zealand by Josh de Jong that has spread across the globe. And for good reason – taking a moment to think about someone else is something the world needs, especially after the rough time we’ve all had dealing with the pandemic and its aftereffects. In fact, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation celebrates a whole week (February 13 – 19, 2022) because they believe in kindness and dedicated themselves to providing resources and tools that encourage acts of kindness.

So, what are you going to do to celebrate this very kind holiday? The effort can be as simple as a smile to a stranger – smiles go a long way for someone that is feeling blue. It isn’t a monetary thing; the point is to give someone the “warm and cozies” by your unexpected gesture. If you want to jazz up your good deed ideas, here’s a quick list:

  • Pay for the coffee or meal of the person in front of you in line.
  • Leave a kind note for someone.
  • Share words of encouragement.
  • Drop off some groceries at the local food pantry.
  • Mail a “thinking of you” card to someone you’ve not to talk to in a while.

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.