As we mark International Stand Up to Bullying Day on 28th February this year, it’s a good time to think about how you can protect your loved ones from being bullied, or from being a bully themselves.
Defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Education, as ‘unwanted aggressive behavior; observed or perceived power imbalance; and repetition of behavior or high likelihood of repetition’, bullying can take many forms. These include both direct or indirect (such as rumor-spreading) bullying, which take the form of verbal, physical, emotional and cyber bullying. It can happen anywhere – at school, at home and in the workplace, and in person or electronically – such as by messaging app or on an online forum.
Bullying can happen at any age, but we tend to most associate bullying with school years. In fact, 27.8% of US students say they have been bullied in school . It seems to be particularly common problem at middle school. A larger school, new friendships, new hormones, and a lack of emotional maturity can be a potent mix. Verbal and social are the most prevalent types of bullying in schools and the effects on our kids can be far-reaching. From mental and physical health issues to lower academic achievements, the consequences can be seen into adulthood and can affect both the bullied and the bully.
At New York Life, we know it’s so hard to keep your kids safe from every challenge in life, especially at school. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to support kids overcome their difficulties and grasp opportunities. The New York Life Foundation has dedicated more than $41 million in grants and programs to support our middle school youth in transitioning to high school since 2014. Because acknowledging and addressing the important needs of students in the middle grades is not only critical to our shared future, but it is an effort that deserves our attention – not only on International Stand Up to Bullying Day, but all year long.
We don’t just stand up to bullying in schools. Within New York Life itself, we have zero tolerance of bullying in any form, because we all have a responsibility to protect those we love from harm.
It’s time for us all to stand up to bullying wherever we see it, to give our kids and our school community the insight, tools and confidence to stop the damage, so that everyone has a chance to be good at life.
To find out more about how to spot the signs of bullying and what to do, visit: https://www.stopbullying.gov/
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