Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2020

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24 Hudson Valley Parent n March 2020 Editor's note: It's hard not to agree with the Mid-Hudson Valley Community Profiles project's assess- ment that targeted bullying can have a negative impact on a student's self-esteem along with the ability to concentrate and learn. Or that bullying has a ripple effect, where non-bullied kids in proximity of incidents involving bullying others become afraid or insecure. Fortunately, the assesssment also shows that incidents of bullying in the region decreased by 15 percent between 2014 and 2018. Trouble- some, however, is that despite the decline, there were 9.3 bullying incidents for every 1,000 students in the region in 2018. Here, James McGuirk, Ph.D., president of the Children's Founda- tion of Astor, looks at how kids are bullied, its harrowing effects and how to address and stop it. Your 12-year-old son has always loved going to school. All of a sud- den, he is complaining of stomach aches, headaches - any excuse to stay home. You recently heard from a friend whose child believes that your son is being verbally harassed on the bus and in the lunchroom. The friend suggests there may have been some physical abuse as well, and you are left reeling. Bullying is a serious, perva- sive issue. In our society bullying occurs in-person, in schools and at home, sometimes through the veil of computer and phone screens, away from adult supervision. Ac- Stand up to bullies The problem of bullying and what to do about it By JAMES MCGUIRK, PH.D. cording to the National Center for Education Statistics' 2017 School Crime Supplement, about 20 per- cent of youth ages 12-18 experience bullying, and 15 percent of students in this age group reported being bullied online or by text. Similarly, the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Sur- veillance System shows that 21.7 percent of New York State youth ages 14-18 reported being bullied on school property, and 17.6 per- cent reported being electronically bullied within the prior 12 months. Manifesting in a variety of ways, bullying can include verbally teasing, name calling, threatening or taunting someone; physically harming a person or their property, as well as socially isolating someone by excluding them; alienating them from peers or starting negative ru- mors. These behaviors often occur in schools or places where children gather in groups but can also follow them home due to the increasing use of technology. Modern and insidious cyberbullying can occur through SMS, texts, social media, chat rooms or gaming forums where people can view or share content online. Often causing embarrass- ment or humiliation, digital torment includes sending, posting or sharing negative, harmful, false or mean content about someone else. Bullying causes widespread eff ects. While bullying has been an issue facing youth for ages, there has been growing recognition about the negative ways it can impact the lives of victims. Repercussions can persist through adulthood and include depression, anxiety, weight loss and decreased academic achievement, among others. Dis- tressingly, the information reported about bullying is not always paired with actionable steps to prevent and address the torment that children may be experiencing. According to, only about 20 to 30 percent of student victims report bullying to an adult, which makes it critical for parents and guardians to under- stand the signs and social dynamics of bullying, as well as ways to han- dle it when it effects their children. For instance, if your child begins regularly complaining of physical ailments, is increasingly reluctant BULLYING It's e ects and how to combat it

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