Below are some of the recommendations that I gleaned from experts in bullying prevention programs. The first set is geared toward children ages 4 to 9 years old and is discussed in more detail in my picture book, Siggy and the Bullies. The second set of options is excerpted largely from cyberbully411.org and focuses on online harassment. This information is probably most suitable for kids ages 10 and older. Please share with a young person you know.
• Stand up for yourself. Tell the bully to stop.
• Ask a grown-up you trust for help.
• Leave any place where you don’t feel safe. Tell an adult why.
• Make a new friend.
• Walk with a group of friends. Don’t stay alone.
• Remember that you are loved. Spend time with people you like and who like you.
Being Bullied Online?
If you are being cyberbullied, there are things you can do to stop it:
• Ignore the person. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to ignore the person and go on about your business.
• Log-off if the harassment is bothering you.
• Block or delete the person. If it is happening on Instant Messaging or some other place online that requires a ‘buddy list’, you can block certain users based upon their username, or delete them if they are in your buddy list. You can also block emails that are being received from specific email addresses.
• Change your information. If someone has hacked into your profile, change your password. If someone repeatedly sends you messages (like, ‘add me to your buddy list’ over and over), consider changing your username or email address.
• If there is a profile that was created about you without you knowing, contact the company who runs the site to have the profile or language taken off.
• If you are upset about what is being said, talk to someone you trust. Don’t feel like you’re alone. If you feel scared or overwhelmed, maybe even trapped, it’s definitely time to talk to an adult. Tell your parents or seek out other authorities like a minister, teacher, coach, school counselor, a youth group leader, or other adult family member such as an aunt or uncle.
Remember that God loves you. We love you—and you are never alone!
For more tips, check out WORDS WOUND by Justin W. Patchin and Sameer Hinduja.