The threat of bullying does not end when the final school bell rings, signaling the end of the school year. Bullying can happen anywhere, anywhere that children are together. It can happen at summer school, recreation programs, summer camp programs, and summer sports academies or in cyber space.
Talking to your children about bullying should not end with the end of the school but rather it should be an ongoing conversation. Just as parents counsel their children at every age about issues such as alcohol use, tobacco use and drug use, an open dialogue about bullying should also be in place. These conversations may be especially important as your children head off to summer recreation activities, whatever they might be. Remember, that a tormentor may continue to taunt their victims remotely.
This possibility has been made less difficult with the advent of such mobile devices as tablet computers and smart phones. Cyber bullying can occur any time, any place, even under the nose of a camp director.
A recent national survey for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed the pervasive nature of bullying and how it can happen in any setting. More than one in five has been bullied on school grounds, grades 9-12 and sixteen percent reported that they had been electronically bullied through texting, emails or instant messaging. Girls at 22.1 percent were electronically bullied more than twice as often as boys at 10.8 percent. Girls in tenth grade were the most bullied at 24.2 percent followed by eleventh grade girls at 19.8 percent and tenth grade boys at 18.1percent.
Parents or guardians should ask their child if they are being bullied or if they have seen other children being bullied. Bullying relies on one key factor, silence. If children report bullying there is an opportunity to intervene. When a child discloses bullying to an adult it is truly a remarkable event. Some research indicates that many children feel shamed by the bullying experience because they feel they should be able to protect themselves from being bullied in the first place.
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