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Monday, October 29, 2012

Just what is Mix It Up at Lunch Day?

A national campaign launched by Teaching Tolerance a decade ago, Mix It Up at Lunch Day encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries.

In our surveys, students have identified the cafeteria as the place where divisions are most clearly drawn. So on one day – October 30 this school year – we ask students to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch. It’s a simple act with profound implications. Studies have shown that interactions across group lines can help reduce prejudice. When students interact with those who are different from them, biases and misperceptions can fall away.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cyberbullying only rarely the sole factor identified in teen suicides

Public release date: 20-Oct-2012

Contact: Debbie Jacobson
American Academy of Pediatrics 

NEW ORLEANS – Cyberbullying – the use of the Internet, phones or other technologies to repeatedly harass or mistreat peers – is often linked with teen suicide in media reports. However, new research presented on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, shows that the reality is more complex. Most teen suicide victims are bullied both online and in school, and many suicide victims also suffer from depression.
For the abstract, "Cyberbullying and Suicide: A Retrospective Analysis of 41 Cases," researchers searched the Internet for reports of youth suicides where cyberbullying was a reported factor. Information about demographics and the event itself were then collected through searches of online news media and social networks. Finally, descriptive statistics were used to assess the rate of pre-existing mental illness, the co-occurrence of other forms of bullying, and the characteristics of the electronic media associated with each suicide case.
The study identified 41 suicide cases (24 female, 17 male, ages 13 to 18) from the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. In the study, 24 percent of teens were the victims of homophobic bullying, including the 12 percent of teens identified as homosexual and another 12 percent of teens who were identified as heterosexual or of unknown sexual preference.
Suicides most frequently occurred in September (15 percent) and January (12 percent) although these higher rates may have occurred by chance. The incidence of reported suicide cases increased over time, with 56 percent occurring from 2003 to 2010, compared to 44 percent from January 2011 through April 2012.
Seventy-eight percent of adolescents who committed suicide were bullied both at school and online, and only 17 percent were targeted online only. A mood disorder was reported in 32 percent of the teens, and depression symptoms in an additional 15 percent.
"Cyberbullying is a factor in some suicides, but almost always there are other factors such as mental illness or face-to-face bullying," said study author John C. LeBlanc, MD, MSc, FRCPC, FAAP. "Cyberbullying usually occurs in the context of regular bullying."
Cyberbullying occurred through various media, with Formspring and Facebook specifically mentioned in 21 cases. Text or video messaging was noted in 14 cases.
"Certain social media, by virtue of allowing anonymity, may encourage cyberbullying," said Dr. LeBlanc. "It is difficult to prove a cause and effect relationship, but I believe there is little justification for anonymity."

Children with mental health disorders more often identified as bullies

NEW ORLEANS – Children diagnosed with mental health disorders were three times more likely to be identified as bullies, according to new research presented Oct. 22 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.

Bullying is a form of youth violence defined as repetitive, intentional aggression that involves a disparity of power between the victim and perpetrator. A 2011 nationwide survey found 20 percent of U.S. high school students were bullied during the preceding 12 months. And while it is well-established that victims of bullying are at increased risk for mental health illness and suicide, few studies have investigated the mental health status of those who do the bullying.

In the study, "Association Between Mental Health Disorders and Bullying in the United States Among Children Aged 6 to 17 Years," researchers reviewed data provided by parents and guardians on mental health and bullying in the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, which included nearly 64,000 children.

In 2007, 15.2 percent of U.S. children were identified as bullies by a parent or guardian. Overall, children with mental health disorders were three times more likely to bully other children. A sub-analysis by type of mental health disorder found that children with a diagnosis of depression were three times more likely to bully, while a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) was associated with a six fold increase in the odds of being identified as a bully.

"These findings highlight the importance of providing psychological support not only to victims of bullying, but to bullies as well," said study author Frances G. Turcotte-Benedict, MD, a Brown University master's of public health student and a fellow at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI."

"In order to create successful anti-bullying prevention and intervention programs, there certainly is a need for more research to understand the relationship more thoroughly, and especially, the risk profile of childhood bullies."

Watch video here


Kevin Curwick, Minnesota Teen, Fights Cyberbullying With A Very Nice Twitter Account (TWEETS)

Tired of seeing his classmates taunted on Twitter, a Minnesota teenager decided he would fight cyberbullying in his own way: by starting a Twitter account that would only spread good things in his school community, KARE News reports.

Read more >>>

School Climate and Cyberbullying: An Empirical Link

Source: Cyberbullying Research Center

One promising way to prevent cyberbullying and other problematic online behaviors from occurring is to develop a positive climate at school where students feel safe and cared about.

Learn more >>>

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cyberbullying a factor in teen suicide, but not only reason

Cyberbullying a factor in teen suicide, but not only reason

shutterstock 79721536 Optimized Cyberbullying a factor in teen suicide, but not only reason
While cyberbullying is a real issue, experts say most students are bullied online and at school (Shutterstock photo)
When it comes to teen suicides, cyberbullying is rarely the sole leading mechanism of peer torment, states a small study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ national conference in New Orleans last weekend. According to the research, teens who commit suicide are usually depressed and experience bullying both at school and online.

Read more:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

How High School Students Use Facebook To Fool College Admissions Officers

How High School Students Use Facebook To Fool College Admissions Officers: "College admissions officers have learned to check applicants' Facebook profiles, and what they see there can have a negative impact on the students' chances. Guess what? The kids are a step ahead of them."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Study highlights the power of positive relationships for girls' mental health

Study highlights the power of positive relationships for girls' mental health

New York / Heidelberg, 10 October 2012

The experience of being bullied is particularly detrimental to the psychological health of school girls who don’t have social support from either adults or peers, according to a new study by Dr. Martin Guhn and colleagues from the University of British Columbia in Canada. In contrast, social support from adults or peers (or both) appears to lessen the negative consequences of bullying in this group, namely anxiety and depression. The work is published online in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies.

Guhn and his team looked at whether the combination of high levels of bullying and low levels of adult as well as peer support have a multiplicative negative effect on children's well-being.

A total of 3,026 ten-year-old school children from 72 schools in Vancouver, Canada, took part in the study and completed questionnaires, which assessed their satisfaction with life, their self-esteem, and their levels of anxiety and depression. The authors looked at whether the ratings for these factors differed, according to the quality of the children’s relationships with both adults and their peers and how often they felt victimized.

Overall, girls were more likely to report positive relationships with both adults and peers, higher satisfaction with life, higher self-esteem as well as higher anxiety levels. There were no differences between boys' and girls' reported levels of bullying and depression. However, as many as 1 in 7 girls and 1 in 6 boys felt victimized several times a week, with verbal and social victimization more commonly reported than physical bullying; cyber bullying appeared to be relatively low.

The authors also found that positive relationships with adults and peers were strongly linked to life satisfaction and self-esteem, whereas bullying was strongly linked to depressive symptoms and anxiety. In addition, victimization was particularly strongly linked to low life satisfaction, low self-esteem and more depressive symptoms in girls who reported low levels of social support from adults as well as from peers.

The authors conclude: "Our findings have implications for promoting children's well-being in school and community contexts, supporting interventions that foster relationship-building skills and simultaneously reduce victimization. In other words, children need more than the absence of risk factors to experience good mental health and well-being."

Guhn M et al (2012). A population study of victimization, relationships, and well-being in middle childhood. Journal of Happiness Studies; DOI10.1007/s10902-012-9393-8

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October is 'Bullying Awareness Month' But When is 'Most Kids Don't Bully Month'?

October is National Bullying Awareness Month and that's mostly a good thing because it reminds us that bullying can be hurtful and can be prevented. But part of "awareness," is being aware that most kids don't bully. In fact, numerous studies have shown that the norm among most American (and other) kids is to treat each other respectfully.

A 2011 study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project for the Family Online Safety Institute found that "Overall, 69% of social media-using teens think that peers are mostly kind to each other on social network sites." Unfortunately, "another 20% say that peers are mostly unkind, while 11% volunteered that "it depends." That's an issue we need to confront, but it's important to realize that about 7 in 10 kids are mostly experiencing kindness, not rudeness and certainly not bullying or harassment.

Read more >>>

Monday, October 8, 2012

Watch What You Post: More College Officials Look at Applicants' Social Media Pages

Today, most college applicants have blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Pinterest boards, YouTube videos and other content posted on social media sites. While these websites can be useful - both academically and socially - it is becoming increasingly important for students to use them responsibly to avoid dashing their collegiate dreams.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Unite Against Bullying

PACER Center Logo: Champions for Children with Disabilities

UNITY DAY - OCT. 10, 2012

Unite Against Bullying With Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper and Thousands of Students Across the Country

What are your true colors when it comes to bullying? If you care about students who are bullied and want bullying to end, make your color orange on Unity Day
 – Wednesday, Oct. 10. Link together in schools, the community, and online, and send one very large orange message of support to students who have been bullied. This special event is part of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Month
, and the key message is “Make it Orange, Make it End!” Unity Day began in 2011 and is held on the second Wednesday in October. Last year, Ellen DeGeneres wore orange on her television program and talked about the importance of Unity Day as a way to show support and raise awareness. This year, Anderson Cooper will do the same on his daytime show “Anderson Live,” and DeGeneres will “tweet” about Unity Day to her 13 million Twitter followers. Won’t you join them in raising awareness and showing support on Unity Day?

What Can You Do on Unity Day? Wear Orange!

It’s easy to offer support for those who have been bullied – just wear something orange! Whether you choose orange socks or shoes, an orange necktie, or an orange T-shirt, you will be showing that you care. Students can use orange markers to write “Unity” on their hands and binders, too. If you want to make a bold statement and support the work of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center at the same time, purchase the “Official” Unite Against Bullying T-shirt
 for your school, team, organization, or yourself. PACER is partnering with CustomInk, the “design online” custom T-shirt company, as part of its “Be Good to Each Other” campaign. You can order the official orange shirt, create your own design, or order one designed by a celebrity. All profits from the campaign support PACER.

Walk the Walk in a Pair of Hand-painted “Unite Against Bullying” Converse Shoes

It’s important to speak up in support of those who have been bullied. If you want to do more than just talk, you can “walk the walk” in a unique pair of orange hand-painted “Unite Against Bullying” Converse shoes. PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center is partnering with The Swanx (
) shoe company of Puyallup, Wash., to offer three different versions of Converse shoes for National Bullying Prevention Month. The Swanx is making a generous donation to PACER for every shoe sold from its entire collection of hand-painted shoes during October. Take a look!

Order a Unity Day Banner for Your School

“Unite Against Bullying” banners are a great way for students at your school to make a powerful visual statement of support on Unity Day. Hang the banner in a prominent place where kids can sign it and show that they care. Speedy Signs
 of Lake City, Fla., is making banners (2 feet by 4 feet) available at a 25% discount to the first 100 schools that request one. To order, visit the Speedy Signs website
, select the 24-inch by 48-inch option, click on “add to cart,” and enter the keyword "PACER25." If you aren’t among the first 100 schools to order, there are other value-priced banners, school posters, and decals available.

Set up a “Unity Table” to Hand Out Orange Ribbons

Unity ribbons are one more way to get students involved on Oct. 10. Set up a “Unity Table” in a high-traffic area at your school, a prominent place where you can hand out ribbons and raise awareness. Create your own ribbons using a 5/8 inch-wide spool that can be purchased at a craft shop or dollar store. Cut the ribbon into 12-inch strips, and use a black permanent marker to write your own message on each ribbon. It can say “Unity,” “The End of Bullying Begins With Me,” or an original bullying prevention message that’s right for your school on Unity Day

Promote Unity Day Online and in Person

The more people who participate in Unity Day, the greater the impact will be. There are many ways you can promote Wednesday, Oct. 10 both in school and online. Be sure to ‘Attend’ and ‘Share’ the Unity Day Facebook Event
 with family and friends. Print the informational flyer, bring it to school, and talk with your teacher, guidance counselor, or principal about how your school can participate. You might even suggest a class discussion to your teacher about the meaning of “unity.”Learn more

Use Social Media to Share Your Unity Day Events, Activities, Photos

Students across the country are holding events on Unity Day, and it is important to share what you are doing with others. Use Facebook and Twitter to tell everyone about your Unity Day activities at school, in the community, and online. Be sure to post your pictures on the Unity Day Facebook page
 and update your status to “Unity Day – Wednesday, Oct. 10.” Together we can “Make it Orange, Make it End!”

Tech Talk: 10/03

Tech Talk: 10/03: The Apple iPad is popular among children, but there is no way to filter out pornography sites with its built-in Safari browser. Now there's an alternative browser that gives kids access to the web, minus the porn. ((CBS News and CNET Technology Analyst Larry Magid has Tech Talk.))

Local elementary schools use Broadway play 'Wicked' to teach about prejudice

When “Wicked: The Musical” begins its run on Wednesday, thousands of Louisvillians will again pack the seats of the Kentucky Center’s Whitney Hall to take in the rousing music and inspiring story of this touring national production.

“Wicked,” based on a novel by Gregory Maguire, fills out the background for the characters of “The Wizard of Oz,” helping to put the famous story into context. In Maguire’s version, the Wicked Witch of the West didn’t start out bad, but suffered from bullying and persecution at the hands of Glinda the Good Witch.

Inspired by the musical’s message against judging people by their appearance, some local educators plan to incorporate its message into their anti-bullying efforts this year.

Read more:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Welcome to National Bullying Prevention Month!

Welcome to National Bullying Prevention Month!

Here are some initial thoughts and resources:

1.      Plan a kick-off event for your bullying prevention program for this year: an assembly, a play, a series of classroom conversations, a school-wide theme for the year, skirts, a poster contest……
a.      Be sure to involve your entire school staff, families and school partners.
b.      Announce it in your newsletter.

2.      Have discussion with your students of the basic Bullying Prevention Rules:
a.     We will not bully others.
b.     We will try to help students who are bullied.
c.      We will include students who are left out.
d.     If we know someone is being bullied, we will tell a trusted adult – at home or at school.

3.      Include Cyberbullying in your plans.  Some basic ‘starter’ Rules for all of us:
a.      Think before you post.
b.     Remember: once you hit ‘send’, you have lost control of your message.
c.      Remember: once you hit ‘send’, you can’t take it back.

4.      Share your ideas with colleagues across the state!  Really!  Is there something you, your school or your district is doing that you want to share with others?  A program, a set of materials, parent information, a document you have developed….. If so, please let me know.  I’ll pass it along.

And remember to check out the Bullying and Harassment
 and Cyberbullying
 pages on the Safety Center
 web site

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