With the rise in online bullying, increases in bullying at younger ages, increases in bullying based on gender or sexual preferences, many experts on bullying have stepped into the field to offer anti-bullying solutions. These days, it’s possible to find many bullying experts. But are they competent to assist kids in difficult situations? What does it take to be an anti-bully expert, anyway?
According to the CDC, suicide attempts among young people result in about 4,400 deaths per year. Since bullying could be a major cause for negative or suicidal thoughts, it’s important to find competent, capable experts to reduce the effects of bullying on kids.
What to Look for in a Bullying Expert
According to the National Association of People against Bullying (NAPAB), the need for experts to lead the charge against bullying is a global necessity. Education is a top priority. Experts on bullying tend to be focused in psychological and counseling fields.
Dr. Joel Haber, a clinical psychologist specializing in bullying prevention covers bullying among kids, but is considered an expert on workplace bullying and sports bullying. He has identified four different types of bullying: physical, verbal, relational or social bullying, and cyber-bullying.
Since bullying could be a major cause for negative or suicidal thoughts, it’s important to find competent, capable experts to reduce the effects of bullying on kids.
Along with other experts, Dr. Haber suggests methods for those who witness bullying to take a stand against it. This is important information for anyone, whether they are teenagers visiting a summer camp, or adults in a corporate work environment.
If you’re looking for a local expert, check their educational background – where did they study and what did they study? Do they have references? Can you get a referral from a local medical professional who is familiar with their work?
Bullying Experts With Personal Experience
Those who get involved with anti-bullying efforts often do so because of personal experience. Anna Mendez, President of NAPAB, began the organization when her 16-year-old son, Danny, committed suicide after relentless bullying.
The same type of motivation was the catalyst for the creation of Matthew’s Place, an online center of information for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer (LGBTQ) youth owned by Judy Shepherd, Matthew’s mother. After her son was killed in a horrific attack by two men later sentenced to life in prison, Shepherd became an advocate for gay rights.
In her book: “The Meaning of Matthew,” Shepherd describes her son’s death, how she felt about the vigils and ceremonies held around the world while Matthew struggled to survive, and how she became an activist after his death. According to Judy Shepherd and Matthew’s father, Dennis, the type of bullying experienced by Matthew was just a symptom of a bigger problem. The Matthew Shepherd Foundation was set up to “ensure people recognize the role hate plays in society, and to ask people to do all they can to erase that hate”.
Someone who has direct experience with bullying is TV talk show host and comedienne, Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres has used her fame to shine a light upon the subject. She’s even listed various places where people who have been bullied can find information to help them deal with their problems.
One of these sites, The National Center for Bullying Prevention, (PACER), has attempted to change the idea that bullying is a normal part of growing up. The PACER Center has resources specifically designed to assist kids with disabilities. The site offers options for parents, educators, and kids themselves. Their slogan is, “The End of Bullying Begins with You.”
The Rise of Online Bullying
One of the most pervasive ways that kids are bullied is through the use of the Internet and social media. Cyberbullying is a tremendous problem. Kids are constantly on social media, and if parents don’t closely monitor this, their kids may become victims.
In 2005, Dr. Sameer Hinduja from Florida Atlantic University, and Dr. Justin Patchin from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, created the Cyberbullying Research Center. They provide solid research on the prevalence of cyber-bullying, and also offer advice and resources for parents, educators and communities. There is a frequently updated section on cyberbullying laws in each state.
Experts Provide Solutions for Bullying
Kids are constantly on social media, and if parents don’t closely monitor this, their kids may become victims.
Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate Magazine, wrote a book called Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. Bazelon explores bullying through the stories of three different kids caught up in bullying incidents. Her book also offers information about school programs that have been able to reduce bullying incidents.
Author Paul Coughlin began an organization known as The Protectors in 2005. Coughlin says bystanders need to step into ongoing bullying environments and learn anti-bullying methods. By exhibiting the courage to stand up to someone bullying another person, bystanders can become “Alongside Standers” .
Bullying Signs: What Parents Should Look for
Signs of bullying can be difficult to see. Many parents whose children committed suicide say they didn’t see any distress in advance. However, there are specific signs parents can look for. These include such behavior as wanting to be alone, being sad frequently, crying often, or losing interest in typical activities. Other warning signs include changes in eating or sleeping habits. Sometimes kids might eat too much or too little, sleep too long or not at all. And of course, they may show increased hostility or talk about running away .
The best way to defeat bullying is to learn to stand up to bullies. Obviously this can be difficult, because once you stand up to a bully, you may be their next target. But these experts understand that controlling bullies requires a concerted effort, and their resources can help parents, educators and even kids learn to fight back.