We oftentimes think of bullying, especially cyber-bullying, as a problem that exists mostly in the lives of teenagers, but the facts show that bullying can begin as early as age two, and can be dangerous even in elementary school. According to educational reports, 20% of elementary school children have been the victim of a bully. A bully who, if not stopped, will go on to be a middle school bully and later a high school bully. In order to break this chain of events Edutopia offers ideas on How to Cultivate a Bully-Free Community. In a moment we will talk about some of the teenage statistics regarding bullying, but for now let us focus on best practice for creating a bully-free environment.
One of the key concepts promoted in the article is to create a culture of compassion within the classroom. The school highlighted in the article is trained in Marshall Rosenberg’s Compassionate Communication which promotes regular discussion and clear communication as a means of bullying prevention rather than awkward Public Service Announcements or one-stop bullying prevention weeks, or quick programs.
Creating a culture of compassion is something often overlooked within the classroom, especially given the demands already placed upon teachers with regard to content coverage and testing requirements. Nonetheless, research is beginning to consistently show that compassion and mindfulness taught in schools has a positive effect not only on bullying, but in many other areas as well. This brings me to another article posted on Edutopia entitled Creating More Compassionate Classrooms which provides more information on how to make your classroom environment into one of compassion, and thus fight bullying with long-term, research-based, best practice.
Most of the statistics on bullying come from the world of teenagers, but they are staggering and we know that many of these bullies did not begin their “careers” as teenagers, most probably began at a much younger age. Nonetheless, here are some statistics:
- Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online
- 1 in 4 (of the 43%) says it has happened more than once
- 81% of young people think that bullying online is easier to get away with
- 70% of students report frequently seeing bullying online
- Teens who spend three or more hours per day on social networking sites are 110% more likely to be cyber bullied
- 1 in 10 adolescents have had embarrassing or damaging photos of themselves posted online
- The most common medium for cyberbullying is smartphones
- 25% of teens have been bullied via text message
- 64% of teens report being bullied on Facebook
- 29% of teens report being harassed on Twitter
- 21% of teens have been bullied via email or direct messaging
- Girls are twice as likely to be the victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying as boys
- Boys are more likely to be threatened than girls
- 1 in 10 victims will inform their parents
- Victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to commit suicide
- Victims are more likely to have low self esteem
You might also like a copy of this infographic that displays all of this information plus more.
We all know, however, that after looking at these statistics we need stopgap measures to help raise awareness of bullying, hopefully prevent bullying, and let those being bullied know that there are safe ways to stop bullying. Here are some resources you can use in your classroom.
- Create a culture of compassion in your classroom by encouraging open dialogue.
- Share some of the resources with your students. Take time to talk to them about bullying/cyber-bullying.
Why it Matters (Teaching Rubric)
By creating a classroom culture of compassion you help to create a Respectful Culture (essential competency 3.4) by communicating in a way that is professional, positive, open, and inclusive of all students. You also generate much better Knowledge of Students (essential competency 2.7) as you hold brief, informal discussions with your students. You become aware of their differences, backgrounds, and interests which can lead to more informed and better differentiated teaching.
Take one or more of the resources/ideas in this article and bring it to life in your classroom. Hold a discussion about bullying, and allow the students to be open and honest. Conduct one of the CommonSenseMedia lessons. The most important thing is that you open up a dialogue with your students, and make sure they are aware that you will not tolerate bullying – not being compassionate – within your sphere of influence in their lives. Help students to understand what compassion is, and how it manifests for them in their daily lives. Share your ideas and thoughts on how you might accomplish this in the comments area below.
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