Good morning! Hope everyone is doing OK after everything that has happened over the past week.
As you can tell by the title of this post it’s National Bullying Prevention Month, and before October is over, I wanted to do a post and hopefully raise some awareness about bullying having been on the receiving end myself many times throughout my life.
Bullying Prevention Month
Most people understand bullying as behavior by an individual or group, repeated over time, that is intended to hurt another individual or group either physically or emotionally. All bullying, whatever the motivation or method is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. It can affect anyone and we are all potential targets – whether we are adult, child or the bullying is at school, in the community, at work, on line or at home.
Bullying via Social Media
With the rise of mobile phones and hand-held devices, social media has become part of everyone’s life and the use of social media has seen the growth of online bullying. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat allow people to share photos and video instantly around the world. We communicate with our friends and family through social media and it has become a vital part of business. Unfortunately, these advancements in technology have also seen advancements in cyber-bullying. Forms of cyber-bullying via social media can include the following:
- Spreading malicious and abusive rumors
- Harassing you repeatedly
- Intimidation and blackmail
- Posting embarrassing or humiliating images
- Posting your private details
- Setting up a false profile & Catfishing
These are just some of the bullying examples used on social media.
If someone is bullying you via a social media, the first thing you should do is block the person that’s bullying you and report them to the social media site. Try to document the bullying with a screen shot of the message or photo as you may need this as proof.
Bullying at School
There are many reasons why kids bully other kids. A bully may be struggling with personal problems at home. The bullying behavior may be the only way they know how to deal with a difficult situation in their personal life, such as parents divorcing, a death of a relative, abuse or humiliation of some sort in their life. This does not mean that bullying behavior is OK. Sometimes, a bully will pick on someone because they are jealous or because they think that they will be seen as bigger and tougher’ and it boosts their sad ego. For the bully, behaving in a bullying manner is seen as a way to win friends, but this is a myth. All forms of bullying and anti-social behavior is unacceptable.
It may seem scary to tell someone but, telling will not only get you help, it will make you feel less afraid. If you are being physically bullied and are in danger you must speak with a trusted adult immediately.
Bullying at Work
When we think of bullies, we tend to remember the ones we knew at school. Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t stop there for everyone. For some, the bullying continues into adult life. The bullies we knew at school have continued to bully or intimidate the people around them and may have used these techniques to climb the employment ladder to a position of authority. Although there can be a fine line between a tough boss and an abusive one, bullying generally refers to being subjected to repeated emotional or even physical abuse.
Bullying at work and anti social behavior resulting in stress, is a fact of life for too many workers in the UK but your employer has a ‘Duty of Care’ to provide a safe and stress-free place of work for all staff.
Mental Health & Bullying
Bullying can seriously affect someone’s physical and mental health. Sustained bullying can cause stress, emotional issues, social problems, physical disorders and in some serious cases, self harm or even death. The physical and mental impact on our lives due to bullying related health issues can affect our behavior and relationships at home and work. It can also have an impact on our ability to do our job. Mental health related conditions are among the biggest contributors to long term sick leave in the UK with over half a million workers citing stress, depression or anxiety as a factor for their absence in the last year.
Identifying when support is needed is extremely important and having friends and family around is invaluable as initial symptoms of a mental health condition can be easily missed. The body and mind are linked, and someone who is suffering from mental illness may also experience physical symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome or increased pain, these in themselves may be an early warning sign of mental illness.
Ways to Prevent Bullying at Work & School
- Recognize the signs of bullying – Make sure that staff know what constitutes as bullying so that regardless of whether they are being bullied, witnessing bullying or even repeating behavior that someone else may feel bullied by, they know what bullying behavior is.
- Keep an eye on those that could be victims of bullying – You might notice that some people become withdrawn from a group or don’t have many working relationships, so these may be the people you need to keep an eye on.
- Have a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying – Having a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying ensures that people feel safe and have the confidence to be happy and work productively in their jobs.
- Train managers to identify bullying behavior or the signs an employee is being bullied – Give managers the tools/skills to have difficult conversations to address bullying behavior. While a single incident of unreasonable behavior is not considered workplace bullying, it may have the potential to escalate and should not be ignored.
- Manage workplace stressors and risks – Role conflict and uncertainty may cause bullying behaviors due to the stress it places on employees. Ensure everyone understands their roles and have the skills to do their job to minimize the risk of employees’ perceiving difference of opinion or management action as bullying.
- Have a clear definition of bullying – Bullying occurs at all grade levels. An entire school district needs to have the same language within all its schools in order to reduce bullying.
- Established system for a child to report being bullied – A counselor and other professionals should meet with the children involved and their families to determine a solution.
- Classroom discussions – To motivate the effects of bullying to sensitize students and promote self-awareness.
- Counseling – Should be available to kids who are bullied, for the bullies and for those who help the bullies. When needed, these children should be referred to outside therapists for ongoing help.
- School-wide events – That focus the student body on bullying, for instance, “Bullying Awareness Tuesdays.” There could be activities in each class such as designing slogans to put on the walls, such as: “It’s wrong to bully others,” or “It’s wrong to go along with a bully.” A child who reports bullying should be rewarded.
Links to Get Involved With to Stop Bullying:
Check these out these links to see what you can do to help raise awareness against bullying:
If you are or you know someone who is being bullied, I hope one of these links can help, and just know that you are not alone and that there are people out there who will listen.
Thank you for coming to my blog. I hope you enjoy the rest of the week and I will see you next Wednesday!