National Bullying Prevention Month started out as a campaign founded by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center in 2006. This campaign aimed to unite communities nationwide to bring awareness and educate individuals, schools and communities on bullying prevention.
Historically, bullying had been viewed as “a childhood rite of passage” that “made kids tougher,” but the reality has always been that bullying can leave devastating and often long-term effects such as a loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression for those involved. PACER reached out to the community through partnerships with education-based organizations such as the National PTA, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association to provide schools, parents and students with the educational resources and support to better respond to bullying behavior. This initiative has helped shift thinking away from bullying as “rite of passage” and toward the knowledge that bullying can be prevented and stopped through education and awareness (PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center, 2022).
In the last decade cyberbullying has increased due to kids having access to social media at their fingertips. There are many warning signs of cyberbullying that can indicate something is going on. They can be:
- Noticeable increases or decreases in device use, including texting.
- A child exhibits emotional responses (laughter, anger, upset) to what is happening on their device.
- A child hides their screen or device when others are near, and avoids discussion about what they are doing on their device.
- Social media accounts are shut down or new ones appear.
- A child starts to avoid social situations, even those that were enjoyed in the past.
- A child becomes withdrawn or depressed, or loses interest in people and activities. (stopbullying.gov, 2022)
So how can you show your support and prevent bullying? There are many ways to show your support through:
- Take the pledge to Speak up with Kindness, Reach out with Acceptance and Be a Friend through inclusion.
- Responding quickly and consistently to bullying/cyberbullying and sending the message that bullying is not acceptable.
- Notice, Talk, Document, Report and Support
- Building a safe school/community environment and talking about bullying.
- Take your support to social media. Post banners, graphics, blogs, articles and your pledge to stop bullying
- Wear the color orange in support of Anti-bullying.
Everyone, big or small can help prevent bullying and help create a safe and inclusive community.