How To Start Your Own Bullying Prevention System
Bullying in the school system is a common problem that can affect students of all ages and backgrounds. Students who bully often do so to exert power over someone else. Those who are bullied can typically feel powerless and hurt. Some of the signs of bullying can be easy to spot, but others are more hidden—particularly those behaviors that take place online. Since bullying can create long-term damage mentally, physically, and emotionally, it can be important for parents, teachers, and even students to know how to prevent it. Putting effective anti-bullying systems in place can create a safer, more peaceful school environment. If you are an educator, parent, or student who is interested in creating your bullying prevention system, here are some tips that may help you get started.
Figure Out Your Community’s Needs
Not every program blueprint will be effective for every school. For example, let's imagine that you are basing your bullying prevention system on another school's program that is targeting physical violence. While this is one area that you may need to target to eliminate bullying, it may not be the main type of bullying that your school needs to eradicate. Maybe your school has an issue with verbal bullying or is dealing with an increase in sexual harassment.
Whatever it is that your school is having an issue with, it can be important to create a program that targets that problem rather than trying to model your program off of another school's system. This may help you find the most success in implementing the program and seeing positive outcomes.
Start Garnering Interest Before You Launch Your Program
An anti-bullying program may be more effective when there is a solid support system behind it. If you put all the work into crafting a program but you don't advertise it well, or you don't have people on board beforehand, the program might have a much more difficult time getting off the ground. If it fails right away, you may have to start over at square one.
When you first start conducting research and creating your program, make sure to tell other parents, teachers, and students. They can give you feedback and support so that you can have a successful launch when your program is ready.
Focus On All Aspects Of Bullying
Bullying normally doesn't just happen without cause. Several different reasons can lead to bullying, and there are plenty of consequences that may take place after bullying occurs. If you choose to focus on the bullying itself, you may be missing key issues that are causing the behavior. These factors can continue to harm students well after they've been victimized.
To help ensure that you create a successful anti-bullying program, it can be vital to target all of the problems that create a bully, all of the behaviors that will not be tolerated at your school, and all of the mental health issues that can stem from bullying trauma. A comprehensive system can shut down bullying much more productively than a simple one that targets just one aspect of bullying behavior.
Create Safe Methods For Kids To Report Bullying
Sometimes, the consequences of telling someone about a bully may be enough to prevent a child from saying anything at all. This problem can harm your bullying prevention system by making it harder to detect bullies. To avoid this, you can create avenues that allow kids to feel safer when reporting bullying.
You might create a box in which kids can write down their bullying issues on pieces of paper and place them inside. Maybe you can create an online system where kids can report bullying incidents secretly or an app where they can send in tips. Whatever your idea is, run it by others to help ensure that it keeps your students safe (rather than puts them more at-risk) and encourages speaking out against bullying.
Build An Anti-Bullying Curriculum
Many successful bullying prevention programs have some course or lesson plan that allows them to thrive. These lessons teach students about the different types of bullying, why bullies choose to harm others, and how they can stand up when they see someone being bullied or when they are being bullied themselves. Students can use the knowledge they learn in these programs to help further your program and make their school a safer place. When you place the power in your student's hands, there is no telling what they could accomplish.
Train Your Staff
If an issue should occur in your program, it may be an error with your staff, not your students. It can be important for your staff to be adequately trained as much as your students are to eliminate bullying from your school successfully. Educators may be able to observe things others cannot, and they are a vital aspect of any bullying prevention program.
What should your program teach your staff? Some essential skills that you may need to teach your staff are handling bullying reports and delivering consequences to those who have been bullying others. Students may feel more supported and defended knowing that their teachers are on their side—which can enhance the success of the program.
Set Your Sights Beyond The School Community
A successful anti-bullying program often extends far beyond the school's community. When you are forming your program, it can be helpful to receive support from local organizations, national organizations, and even social media. When you have a program that everyone has their eyes on, it may be more successful. This can also make it easier to gain the attention of your students if the program receives attention on popular platforms and television shows.
Your program does not have to be large to be efficient, and different schools may require different things. However, more support may equate to more success in some cases.
Build Something That Will Last In The Long Run
When coming up with goals for the program, it can be important to establish both short and long-term milestones. Long-term goals can help ensure that the program lasts for years and paves the way toward more kindness and empathy in the school system. While anti-bullying programs can be hard to maintain and lose momentum over time, setting them up for success from the beginning may give them an extra boost. Doing extensive research can help you create a program that continues to work down the road.
Online Counseling With BetterHelp
Those who have experienced bullying and those who have bullied others themselves can benefit from professional intervention. Speaking with a therapist can provide survivors of bullying with a safe space to process their emotions and heal. It can give bullies a place to open up about why they choose to bully and provide them with opportunities to move forward in a healthier way. Online therapy can provide the ideal environment for individuals from both of these groups to begin their recovery. BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that allows users to connect with their therapist through video chats, phone calls, or in-app messaging. The individual can choose which method they’d like to use to talk, according to their comfortability and availability.
The Efficacy Of Online Counseling
No matter a person’s age or background, online counseling may be able to provide some relief from emotional distress and mental health challenges. One study assessed the efficacy and feasibility of a therapist-guided internet-based CBT intervention for adults with childhood trauma. The results of the study “suggest that therapist-guided Internet-based CBT is associated with a substantial reduction in PTSD symptoms.” These results seem to show that online therapy could successfully manage symptoms associated with trauma from childhood bullying.
Bullying is a widespread problem that people all around the world are working to address. Bullying prevention programs can reduce incidents of mistreatment between classmates, coworkers, and other peers. In effect, this can create a more positive social environment and encourage cooperation, compassion, and empathy. The effects of bullying are not to be understated— and can be both physical and emotional. Participating in online counseling can be one resource for addressing unhealed wounds from the past.
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