October 17, 2013

October 17, 2013
Stand Up Against Bullying

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Thursday and it is also Stand Up Against Bullying Day. I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. It is another busy day for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Will you join Dab the AIDS Bear and me? Take a stand against bullying and pledge to go purple on 10/17/2013! Why you might ask? Because being complacent about bullying is as bad as being a bully yourself.

This is personal to me... after I was outed my senior year because of a picture taken of me and my first partner in San Francisco at gay pride, a few members of Catholic High School made the rest of the year hell for me. I literally counted the days until graduation and it could not have come sooner.

The only saving grace was I had someone in my life who loved me for me and helped me accept the fact I was gay. Luckily, I moved within 10 days of graduating high school to be with him in San Francisco. Not all bullied children have the opportunity or resources to escape their bullies.

Remember back to the days when a child was bullied at school, it stayed at school?! But today it is much worse than when I was in high school. At least when I left school, the bullies could not constantly harass me.

With the growth of the internet & social media it has made it almost impossible to escape being bullied. Bullying doesn't just stay within the four walls of a school anymore. It follows you home and with smart phones, facebook, twitter and instagram apps; the bullying can follow you everywhere!

Here is a little more information on cyber bullying & how often it occurs.

Despite the potential damage of cyber bullying, it is alarmingly common among adolescents and teens. According to Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation:

Over seventy five percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered children report being bullied whether at school, online or both.

Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.

More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats online.

Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.

Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

The Harford County Examiner reported similarly concerning cyber bullying statistics:

Around half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying

Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim

Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement

1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras

About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others

Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to be involved in cyber bullying

The Cyberbullying Research Center also did a series of surveys that found these cyber bullying statistics:

Over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying

About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly

Mean, hurtful comments and spreading rumors are the most common type of cyber bullying

Girls are at least as likely as boys to be cyber bullies or their victims

Boys are more likely to be threatened by cyber bullies than girls

Cyber bullying affects all races

Cyber bullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem and to consider suicide

Parents and teens can do some things that help reduce the cyber bullying statistics:

Talks to teens about cyber bullying, explaining that it is wrong and can have serious consequences. Make a rule that teens may not send mean or damaging messages, even if someone else started it, or suggestive pictures or messages or they will lose their cell phone and computer privileges for a time.

Encourage teens to tell an adult if cyber bullying is occurring. Tell them if they are the victims they will not be punished, and reassure them that being bullied is not their fault.

Teens should keep cyber bullying messages as proof that the cyber bullying is occurring. The teens' parents may want to talk to the parents of the cyber bully, to the bully's Internet or cell phone provider, and/or to the police about the messages, especially if they are threatening or sexual in nature.

Try blocking the person sending the messages. It may be necessary to get a new phone number or email address and to be more cautious about giving out the new number or address.

Teens should never tell their password to anyone except a parent, and should not write it down in a place where it could be found by others.

Teens should not share anything through text or instant messaging on their cell phone or the Internet that they would not want to be made public - remind teens that the person they are talking to in messages or online may not be who they think they are, and that things posted electronically may not be secure.

Encourage teens never to share personal information online or to meet someone they only know online.

Keep the computer in a shared space like the family room, and do not allow teens to have Internet access in their own rooms.

Encourage teens to have times when they turn off the technology, such as at family meals or after a certain time at night.

Parents may want to wait until high school to allow their teens to have their own email and cell phone accounts, and even then parents should still have access to the accounts.

So join Dab the AIDS Bear and let's all work together and stop bullying and make the world a better place for all.

Hope you have a beary safe and great Thursday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab