More than 43% of teens report being bullied online, with 70% of students saying they witness frequent bullying online, research shows. Bullying includes:
- physical attacks
- verbal attacks
- purposely excluding somebody from a group
Cyberbullying includes any kind of bullying that takes place over digital devices, through texts, social media, online forums—any place where people share content. It includes:
- posting negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone
- sharing personal or private information that causes embarrassment or humiliation
WHY DO PEOPLE ACT LIKE BULLIES?
Why do people, both young people and adults, tend to act like bullies online? For one reason, online bullies are less likely to see the results of their bullying. One study showed only 16% felt guilty after bullying online while 40% felt nothing at all. When asked why they do it, some kids say it made them feel funny, popular, or powerful.
Some bully because of the opportunity. Cyberbullies are more likely to have poor relationships with their parents, so they may not have much supervision of what they are doing online. More than 80% of young people say bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF BULLYING?
What is all this bullying doing to kids? Kids with access to technology can be subjected to online bullying 24-7, making them feel there is no escape and leaving them feeling isolated and desperate. It’s no wonder cyberbullying has been linked to self-harm and suicide among young people. Kids subjected to bullying and other trauma are also more likely to carry emotional scars in the form of what I call trapped emotions.
Sometimes, for reasons that we do not yet understand, emotions do not process completely. In these cases, instead of simply experiencing the emotion and then moving on, the energy of the emotion somehow becomes “trapped” within the physical body, causing physical and emotional stress for years to come.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS BEING BULLIED?
There are many things we can do to help children (and adults) who have suffered from bullying. Unfortunately, many kids don’t ask for help because they are afraid of being seen as weak or as a tattletale, or because they fear backlash from the bully or rejection by their friends. Teens are more than twice as likely to tell their peers about bullying than they are to tell parents or other adults, according to one study. As a result, parents are often the last ones to know. Here 12 warning signs of bullying to watch out for:
- Emotional upset, anxiety, and depression
- Frequent headaches and stomachaches
- Faking illness
- Unexplainable injuries
- Changes in eating habits
- Poor sleep and or frequent nightmares
- A drop in school performance
- Not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends
- Avoidance of social situations
- Low self-esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors including self-harm, running away, or talking about suicide
If your child or an adult you know is talking about suicide, please let them know about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.
HOW CAN I HELP MY CHILD
If you see your child struggling with any of these issues, talk with him or her about what’s going on. Talking with your children is the key both to preventing bullying, and to uncovering and healing the emotional trauma it can cause. Some other steps you can take:
- Help your child to know that he or she is valued and that it is safe to communicate with you as a parent or a counselor.
- Pay attention to what your child is doing online and be aware of warning signs specific to cyber bullying.
- Encourage kids to speak with an adult they trust if they are being bullied or see other kids being bullied.
- If your children are teenagers, talk with them about how to stand up to kids who bully and how to report bullying at their school.
- Take action with the school and or the bully’s parents to assure the child’s safety.
- Urge kids to help others who are being bullied by showing kindness or getting help.
- Help your child to find and release trapped emotions.
- Visit EmotionCodeGift.com for free resources to help.
- If possible, help the bully to discover and release the trapped emotions contributing to his or her own behavior.
Parents of bullied kids often feel helpless, angry and frustrated. It’s important to recognize that it is natural to feel this way, but you don’t want to dwell on it. Try to keep your own emotions under control so that your child feels safe. And don’t neglect yourself. Make sure you identify and release your own trapped emotions so that you can be there fully for your child.
Veteran holistic physician, Dr. Bradley Nelson, is one of the world’s foremost experts in the emerging fields of Bioenergetic Medicine and Energy Psychology. He has certified thousands of practitioners worldwide in helping people overcome unresolved anger, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other negative emotions and their associated physical symptoms. His bestselling book, The Emotion Code, provides step-by-step instructions for working with the body’s healing power. For more information and a free Emotion Code Starter Kit, visit www.EmotionCodeGift.com.