A Culture of Bullying

No child deserves to be bullied. Period. Nevertheless, bullying takes place, particularly in certain environments that do not promote respect, kindness, and attention.  Bullying and its prevalence seem to be on the rise in our country.  It is my opinion that our larger national culture has adopted the practice of disrespect and discord with greater frequency today.  When our leaders treat each other with disrespect, the effects filter down.  When our national discord is laced with negativity and inappropriateness, the effects filter down. What was once unacceptable behavior, becomes more acceptable and bullying can be a manifestation of that.

The following are some bullying statistics in our country: 

  • Every 7 minutes a child is bullied at school
  • Every day, 160,000 children miss school because of a fear of bullying
  • 70% of educational research is currently devoted to bullying
  • 34% of elementary school students report being frequently bullied at school
  • 1 in 10 students are hazed in high school
  • 45 states have laws addressing bullying
  • Youths who engage in bullying behaviors in middle school, and receive no intervention, are three times as likely to have at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24. These youths are more likely to steal, drink, be truant, have academic problems, drop out, use weapons, and engage in criminal behavior.

At Kidventure, we understand that preventing bullying begins with the example our camp staff sets.  When we consistently demonstrate kindness to each other and our campers, we create a particular environment.  When we consistently practice this over time, we create a particular culture.  That culture helps steer behavior and tamps down negative behavior and the threat of bullying.  For us (Kidventure) it is essential to foster this type of culture where positive behavior is sought and negative behavior such as bullying is not accepted.  Moreover, we also train our teams to understand and recognize the ‘Who, What, When, Where, and Why‘ of bullying.

Who?
Bullying can happen anywhere youth come together and in any youth-serving organization.
What?
Experts define bullying as intentional, repeated, unpleasant, or negative behavior by one or more persons directed against a person who has difficulty defending himself or herself. The six common types of bullying include the following: physical, verbal, nonverbal and relational, cyber-bullying, hazing and sexualized bullying.
When?
Certain activities create more opportunities for bullying behaviors including: transition times, times when youth are crowded together, activities with mixed ages, activities that involve changing clothes, free time, overnight trips, and before and after school.
Where?
Like high-risk activities, high-risk locations also contribute to increased bullying behaviors. Secluded areas, out-of-the-way locations, stairwells, bathrooms, locker rooms, and buses are common places that youth use to bully others because they are isolated and less-monitored.
Why?
Bullying may occur for many different reasons including fear, insecurity, or the example that child has been shown at home. Nevertheless, every effort should be made in any youth organization to educate, train and reduce any bullying.
Teach your kids first by example.  Create a culture of respect and kindness in your own home.  Teach your kids to stand up to bullying or report any to teachers, coaches, or other parents.  Together families, camps like Kidventure, and communities can be the example for our children and together we can create a safer and more positive environment for all of us.
Helpful Resources:
  • Cyberbullying Resources:
    http://cyberbullying.org/resources/teens
  • Resources for kids:
    http://netsmartz.org/NetSmartzKids
  • Sexting laws by state:
    https://cyberbullying.org/state-sexting-laws.pdf

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