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About 25% of teens ages 13 through 18 experience some form of bullying. Bullying can include spreading rumors and lies, calling someone names, making fun of others, pushing, shoving, excluding others on purpose, making threats of harm toward someone else, and destroying someone else's property or belongings.

Bullying x Suicide

The relationship between bullying and suicide is very complex and complicated. Research has shown that increased bullying can lead to increased thoughts of self harm, suicide intentions, or harm to others. Bullying and constant harassment can often push teens over the edge as bullying can make someone feel depressed, anxious, isolated, embarrassed, angry, and can lower self esteem drastically.

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Warning Signs of Cyberbullying

  • withdrawals from family or friends.

  • becomes upset, sad, or angry during or after being online or using their phone.

  • expresses reluctance or refuses to participate in activities previously enjoyed.

  • has an unexplained decline in grades.

  • refuses to go to school or expresses anger or dissatisfaction with a specific class or school in general.

  • increasingly reports symptoms of illness for which he or she wants to stay at home.

  • shows signs of depression or sadness.

  • signs of being uneasy or scared to go to school or come into contact with certain people

  • angry or frustrated after responding to text messages

  • increased depression or anxiety

  • troubling sleeping patterns

  • different/abnormal behavior regarding their phone or social media posts

Warning Signs of Bullying

  • Unexplainable injuries

  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem

  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry

  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness

  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.

  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares

  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school

  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations

  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home and self-harm

  • Thoughts of suicide or expressing thoughts of not wanting to be here

CyberBullying and Social Media

Online harassment and cyberbullying may take place at any time during the day or night, but the fallout of that same bullying is often seen at school and can interfere with the victim's educational environment. Sometimes, students are so worried about cyberbullying that they can't focus on their school work or homework and it may leave teens scared of going to school. Cyberbullying often lowers the self esteem of the victim and may lead to numerous mental health conditions.

Schools often struggle to create policies that deal with cyberbullying and when it's appropriate to use cell phones in school. It's recommended that schools create rules and guidelines on cyberbullying and how they will handle it, even if it's off school property as for many teens, school may be the only place they have support and people who care for them.

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How do I help someone being bullied?

  • Recognize – Recognize if there has been a change in mood or behavior and look into what the cause may be. Whether you're a friend or a parent of the teen, make sure you take time to understand their needs. Do not just assume that someone else will help them. Try to determine if these changes happen around a teen's use of their phone.

  • Speak to them – We know that it can be awkward or scary for your teen to sit down with you and discuss how they're feeling and what's happening, but it is very important to do so. Sit down with them in a non-confrontational way and talk to them about how they are feeling. Respect their boundaries and let them know that you are always there to support them, no matter what it is that they are struggling with.

  • Document all bullying and abuse – Keep a record of what is happening and where it happens. Take screenshots of harmful posts or content if possible and save it on your phone. Most laws and policies note that bullying is a repeated behavior, so records help to document it if it were to ever get worse where police or school safety officers would have to get involved.

  • Report Bullying – Most social media platforms and schools have clear policies about how to report abuse. If a classmate is cyberbullying, report it to the school as well as to the social media platform it's being done on.  If a child has received physical threats, or if a potential crime or illegal behavior is occurring, report it to the police as soon as you hear about it. The police may not always be able to do something about it immediately, but it is always best to report threats of abuse so they can investigate and keep records of it.

  • Support – Friends, mentors, and trusted adults should intervene to help struggling youth. If possible, try to determine if more professional support is needed for those involved, such as speaking with a guidance counselor or a therapist if needed. Also, if you are a parent, work with your child to help keep them safe online and discuss different ways they can have positive self esteem.

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