October second is World Day of Bullying Prevention. Bullying affects kids all over the world and is an under-reported problem. Now, with modern technology, we not only have to worry about bullying in schools, but cyberbullying as well. Florida Statute 1006.147 prohibits bullying and harassment in schools towards all students and employees. The statute describes bullying and cyberbullying as systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students and may involve: teasing; social exclusion; threat; intimidation; stalking; physical violence; theft; sexual, religious, or racial harassment; public or private humiliation; or destruction of property. If you see something, say something! Schools typically have programs implemented to educate and prevent bullying. Teachers also take steps to prevent bullying in the physical classroom as well. Classrooms should be a safe-haven for kids to escape from their home troubles, make friends, and get an education. Bullying cannot be fully prevented, because it is hard to control what kids are viewing and involving themselves in on the internet. It is good to set parental controls on devices and have an idea of what they are interested in so you can try and monitor what they view. Having an open and honest relationship with your kids will make them feel more comfortable confronting you about bullying or being bullied as well. Kids are influenced by music, movies, shows, and social interactions on social media all of which idolize violence, drugs, drinking, and disrespect. Don’t get me wrong, I watch and listen to those things too. As an adult though, I know the difference between simply liking a song or liking a song and thinking that I should be acting on it. Kids are more impressionable.
Kids can be jealous of another’s clothes, family, or money; they can have insecurities; or have been brought up in an abusive household. There is never just one reason as to why people feel like bullying others is okay. You see a lot of body shaming as well when it comes to girls; if they do not look like the celebrities, then they are ugly. That is not okay. Easier said than done, but more girls and women need to complement each other, instead of bringing each other down. Older women always say that they get the most compliments when they are in the public bathroom during a night out. I must say this is completely true. I have found myself giving and receiving compliments more often than not in the bathroom. I am not sure if it’s the drinks that are flowing or the confidence one might have from feeling pretty and dressed up, but that is how we should be towards each other all the time. Bullying is not just something that happens with kids but as we can see adults too. I think it is very important to recognize that bullying starts at a young age and find ways to teach kids how to express themselves in other ways. There have been too many cases where a child commits suicide because the bullying became too much. Prevention can start at home. If you have young kids, then you can think about your behaviors at home. Think about how they mimic everything that you do or say. Light hearted teasing could often-times be offensive. Everyone’s perceptions of what is hurtful is different, so it is good to teach kids and even adults to be mindful. If you have any questions about bullying or feel like you have a case please feel free to call us! For more information and ways to prevent bullying visit stopbullying.gov.
Written by Mairim Zalez (FL License Pending)