October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is defined as the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. The statistics of bullying in our country’s youth culture are staggering. According to StopBullying.gov, 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools; 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying; 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month; and 41% witness bullying once a week or more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that both bullying others and being bullied are linked to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) wants to help in the fight against bullying. Rebecca Stinson and Stephanie Tompkins, two high school guidance counselors at GCA, share that bullying – specifically cyberbullying (bullying that takes place using electronic technology) – has no bounds. Tompkins states, “Young kids and adults both experience negative comments, rude and judging aggression, and attempts to intimidate or harass through all technology outlets.”
Stinson adds, “Cyberbullying can often lead to low self-esteem, poor academic performance, depression and anxiety, and in many cases, has led students to suicide.”
GCA is using a variety of platforms to promote its battle against bullying. Daily tweets of bullying facts, a promotional video, and an anti-bullying flyer shared on the school website are just a few tactics. The school also has a student-based event that will teach young people how to take a stand against cyberbullying. Additionally, a parent event will help update and inform parents on things like apps and social media and share ways they can address cyberbullying as a parent.
For more information, GCA’s counseling department encourages adults to attend an online parent-oriented event on Thursday, October 12 at 7 p.m. at the 4C Café (College & Career Counseling Center). Together, we can change the culture in our schools and our communities.