Part 1 of this article reviewed the "why" of girl on girl bullying and the term "relational aggression." Due to the fact that bullying usually starts at school it is necessary to examine how to address this issue at the school level. Further, what parents can do to access if their child is a victim and how to help them.
Many schools have zero tolerance policies regarding physically aggressive bullying but very few schools address relational aggression. The fact is that girls are less likely to physically bully one another. Girl on girl bullying is far more likely to consist of actions such as name-calling, spreading rumors, and attempts to socially ostracize the victim at school. And then continue to cyberbullying. Although cyber bullying will most likely not occur in school, the exception is text messaging, it will affect a student's scholastic performance. Schools must implement an anti-bullying policy that includes consequences for relational aggression.
Adolescents and teens are attempting to assert their independence and therefore less likely to tell parents things that happen at school to begin with. Parents need to stay engaged with their daughters. Take time to have discussions about what's happening at school, keep an eye on Internet and cell phone activity, and be proactive with teachers, counselors, and school administrators.
Signs your child may be a victim of cyberbullying:
- Avoids the computer and cell phone or appears stressed when receiving an e-mail, instant message or text
- Withdraws from family and friends or acts reluctant to attend school and social events
- Exhibits signs of low self-esteem including depression and/or fear
- Has declining grades
- Has poor eating or sleeping habits
What you can do:
- Tell your child not to respond to rude e-mails, messages and comments
- Save the evidence, such as e-mail and text messages, and take screenshots of comments and images. Also, take note of the date and time when the harassment occurs
- Contact your Internet service provider (ISP) or cell phone provider. Ask the website administrator or ISP to remove any Web page created to hurt your child
- If harassment is via e-mail, social networking sites, IM, and chat rooms, instruct your child to "block" bullies or delete your child's current account and open a new one
- If harassment is via text and phone messages, change the phone number and instruct your child to only share the new number with trustworthy people. Also, check out phone features that may allow the number to be blocked
- Get your child's school involved. Learn the school's policy on cyberbullying and urge administrators to take a stance against all forms of bullying
For adolescents and teens: If you are the target of any type of bullying, the first thing that you need to realize is that it's not your fault. You are not alone, you do have power, and you can get help to stop the harassment. If you are afraid to tell your parents, please tell a trusted adult or call (800) 273-8255. For more tips on prevention and help with cyberbullying, please visit the National Crime Prevention Counsel website at www.stopcyberbullying.org.
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