It’s National Bullying Prevention Month
October is here again, and that means it’s National Bullying Prevention Month – one of the most important months in our calendar!
A Brief History
National Bullying Prevention Month was started in 2006 by the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER), a program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Each year, PACER works hand-in-hand with schools across the country to raise awareness of bullying and encourage actions and activities that can help put a stop to it.
This is coming right on the heels of a new attempt to understand the scope and severity of cyberbullying – and with bullying moving from the playground to social media, now is a great time to start focusing on stopping online bullying.
Major Events This Month
Run, Walk, Roll Against Bullying
Hosted by communities throughout the country, this event is focused on improving awareness of bullying and encouraging people to make a commitment to helping stop it. There’s no one way of doing things – indeed, PACER’s own website offers several different suggestions for activities – but it’s recommended that people try to make the event memorable, educational, and supportive. Some of the major events are linked to on their site.
Taking place on October 21, 2015, Unity Day is an event where people are encouraged to wear orange as a way of symbolizing their commitment to ending bullying. Unity Day is primarily a school-based event, when PACER encourages classes to hold talks about bullying, put up banners, and generally try to put a major focus on ending bullying.
You can encourage your child to move online with this – talk to them about taking photographs of these events, sharing them online, and attaching the appropriate tags to each image in order to help the subject trend on social media and reach more people.
Alternatively, give them more information on what cyberbullying is, what it looks like, and how they can best respond to it – most teenagers never report cyberbullying, but if your teen is comfortable sharing anything with you, it’s not that hard to get them to speak up.
Why Are We Supporting This?
Bullying is not just a childhood thing that people grow out of – it can have real, lasting consequences on health, behavior, and income. If we want the best for our children, we have to take every reasonable measure to stop bullying and ensure they have the opportunity to succeed in life – but there’s no need to do it alone.
Bullying is effectively a social problem, and that means social solutions tend to be the most effective. If bullies start finding themselves shunned by their own friends because of what they’re doing, most of them will quickly stop doing it – the rush they get from putting others down isn’t anywhere near as important as the positive opinion of their social circle.
Putting a stop to bullying requires everyone to do their part – you have to make it happen, not wait for someone else to solve the issue.
In support of this, our theme for October is Bullying – and we’ll be taking a much closer look at this subject (and, in particular, its digital manifestation) over the next few weeks. For now, though, see what your child’s school is doing for National Bullying Prevention Month and ask what you can do to get involved – it really will help them!