Texting to Fight Bullying in Schools? Possibly!

December 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Bullies and Children

Bullying after school

Kids can now be armed with one more strategy to stop bullying: their own cell phones. Currently about one in four students is bullied on a regular basis in school, so putting the power in their hands is more important than ever. In response to the growing bullying problem in schools, a number of companies have rolled out services that allow students to anonymously report bullying incidents to their school administrators and officials.

Blackboard, a leading company in educational technology and programs, is one of those companies who now has a service called TxtTip for reporting bullying behavior via cellphone. Other districts across the country are using Tip 411, a system originally for sending tips to police that can now send tips to school officials about bullying, abuse, depression, etc.

Why it works

Students, especially those middle school-aged, tend to communicate more comfortably through technology. They may be nervous to come forward face-to-face with a school administrator they barely know, but would be okay with sending a confidential, tip in a text. Both TxtTip and Tip 411 are completely anonymous, so students don’t have to worry about their name being associated with “tattling.” With this option, the fear of intimidation is eliminated.

Tip texting services are also effective because they are fast. Students can use their mobile devices, such as a Samsung Galaxy, to send information while it’s happening instead of waiting and sitting on the information. Not only can this help intervene in bullying that is occurring, but it can also prevent it from starting. If students are sending in texts as soon as they know about any plans of bullying, school officials can intervene and stop the problem before it escalates into a full blown incident.

According to recent studies, in 85 percent of school bullying incidents no intervention is taken place by school officials. This could all change with new bully policies in school districts and new technologies to report incidents and threats.

Possible drawbacks

Tip 411 is an anonymous service and while in theory, the idea of anonymous tip texting is a good one because it protects the student from any retaliation, it can have some drawbacks as well.

For one, school officials and police officers don’t know who is sending the tips, so it’s hard to know without investigating every tip which are legit and which could a false alarm. It’s also possible that students could abuse the anonymity of the tip line to leave false information about students they don’t like.

Blackboard’s TipTxt, on the other hand, is confidential, but not totally anonymous. The service can track the phone number associated with each text.

The bottom line

Both Tip 411 and TipTxt are free (with only the cost of adding a tip line) for school districts to use and easy for students to operate. They are a quick and efficient way for students to take care of each other and make their schools a safer place to be.

Have the Conversation: Parents Use Hollywood’s Bullies to Their Advantage

June 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Bullies and Children

Girl with hands signaling to stop in black and whiteSpend a few hours watching television and one thing becomes immediately clear: there is no shortage of bullies on the airwaves.

From Gordon Ramsay on “Kitchen Nightmares” screaming at chefs and telling them how horrible their food is, to the animated Buford on Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb” stringing another character’s underpants up a flagpole, bullies are all over the networks.



Bullying on TV

A study, found in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, reported on the levels of aggression portrayed in reality TV. The numbers show that “American Idol” depicts a whopping 57 acts of aggression during each hour-long program, and a British version of “The Apprentice” weighs in with a disturbing 85 acts of aggression during just one show.

Have a Conversation

In many of these programs, bullying is shown in an unrealistic light with intentions of humor and shock. In some cases, the bully and his or her behavior are accepted among the other cast members, and no one tries to stop it. While many of these shows offer less-than-ideal ways for kids to learn about bullying, they do offer parents a great opportunity to start a discussion about the very serious and all-too-common topic.

There is also a healthy variety of YouTube’s effective (and humorous) anti-bullying videos and  Break’s funny videos to view. With these resources, parents have ample opportunities to discuss and view bullying with their kids, coaching them to avoid being the bad guy and stand up for themselves if the victim.

What is a Bully?

Bullying is a type of aggressive behavior that involves a person deliberately and continually trying to cause another person harm or discomfort, explains the American Psychological Association. Bullying can be physical, verbal or done over the internet. The person who is being bullied has usually done nothing to have caused this to happen — in other words, it is not the victim’s fault; it’s the bully’s fault that this is occurring. Victims traditionally have a lot of problems defending themselves, which may perpetuate the problem.

No Laughing Matter

Although television shows, movies and videos often make light of bullying, in real life it’s no laughing matter. The Stop Bullying website points out that the victims of bullying can have very real physical reactions, including sleep deprivation, self-induced sickness, reclusiveness and they even sometimes contemplate suicide.

Watch Shows Together

Parents who want to talk to their kids about bullying can use one of the many television programs to start the conversation. Although many reality shows may not be appropriate for young kids to watch, family-friendly programs like “Phineas and Ferb” or “Arthur”— which features a character with bullying traits named Binky — can give parents ample opportunities to start talking to their kids about this serious topic. Parents can point out the characters as being bullies and then ask their kids if they know anyone who is like them at school, as well as if they have ever been treated like that by anybody.

Grab a bully by the horns and educate yourself enough to be able to talk to your children to teach them how to recognize and combat a bully.

Why Do Children Bully?

December 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Bullies and Children

There are many reason why children become bullies. In order to stop the bullying cycle you have to find out the reasons behind a bully actions. If you can understand why a child is acting in a certain way you can give them the tools they need to function in a different a and acceptable manner. Read more

Is Your Child A Potential Bully Target?

December 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Bullies and Children

All children are at risk from bullies, but some children present an easier target then others. According to one source 25% of all children will experience being a victim of bullying. And this figure is on the rise. What can you do as a parent to help your child to not be the victim of a bully? Read more

What To Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied

December 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Bullies and Children, Featured

Tommy comes home from school and tells you that he is having his lunch money stolen every day by a bigger kid in the next grade. Or, Mandy comes and tells you that the other girls are spreading rumours about her. What do you do as a parent? Read more

How to Tell if Your Child is a Bully

December 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Bullies and Children, Featured

Many parents do not want to admit that their child is a bully. And if they do, they want to pass it off as a childish phase that the child is going through. It is important for parents to realise that bullying is not a normal behaviour and it is a very serious situation. There are certain things that parents can look for to ensure that their child is not a bully and if they are that they cease this behaviour as soon as possible. Bullying can have very serious long term not only on the victims but on the bully themselves. Read more

What Do I Do If My Child is a Bully?

December 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Bullies and Children, Featured

One of the worst calls a parent can get is from either the school or another parent letting them know that their child is a bully.

What do you do now?

First, stay clam. Your first reaction may be to either dismiss or deny the situation, or to punish the Read more

Bullying Tips For Teachers

December 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Bullies and Children

In today’s schools one of the most common problems facing students is bullying. Bullying occurs for many different reasons. Since there can often be permanent damaged caused by bullying, either emotional trauma or actual physical damage, all cases of bullying should be treated with concern and addressed as serious issues. They should never be looked at as just children playing. Read more