How bullying can affect children at different ages

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – If you think bullying doesn’t affect your kids, you might be surprised.

Experts say it can affect kids of any age.

Anchor Rhiannon Ally sat down with Pediatric Associates Natasha Burgert, MD and bullying author SuEllen Fried to discuss how bullying affects different age groups.

Bullying by age: Preschoolers

Question: Can bullying affect kids as young as 3 or 4?

Answer: “We do see kids that young that are bullies, and we do see those kids that are bullied. We do see similar characteristics whether you’re a preschooler, middle schooler, or high schooler. They’re going to be picking on them repetitively. It’s going to be very deliberate in its intent and it’s going to deliberately cause harm,” Dr. Burgert said.

Bullying by age: Elementary school students

“It’s hard to discern what really is teasing as a form of communication and when does that cross the line to bullying,” Dr. Burgert said.

Q: How do you teach your child to deal with teasing?

A: Dr. Burgert said, “It depends on the relationship you have with the person who is teasing you. I think we need to talk to our kids about what they feel comfortable with…. to give them permission to say no, I don’t like it when you call me that name.”

Bullying by age: Middle school students

Q: Why is bullying such a problem for this age group?

A: Fried said one boy told her, “Middle school is senselessly evil. When you look at the graph, it starts very young. Middle school is where it peaks, and then in high school kids start to mature. Middle school is one of the most challenging transitions. In elementary school you were more like a family. All of a sudden you have all these different teachers, different schools coming together and bullying really increases in intensity, and cyberbullying has caused unimaginable levels of cruelty, even resulting in suicide.”

Cyberbullying affects middle and high schoolers

Dr. Burgert said her patients and parents bring cyberbullying up to her often.

“It’s bad. It’s really intense. There are more apps that give you a cloak of anonymity, which as adults, with trolling and mean things we see online, it’s just ramped up when you have that cloak of invisibility. I think this is one time kids come to me and ask permission. Is it OK to put my phone away,” she said.

What if a parent suspects their child is the bully?

Fried said, “Don’t start out in a judgmental way, because most kids who are bullies are doing it from a personal stress. So start asking your child what is going on in their lives. Is there something causing them pain? You want them to know you are in their corner.”

Dr. Burgert agreed and added, “Bullying is not a phase. It’s not something they grow out of. It’s formative…. If it’s something you are witnessing with their friends or even their siblings, get help. Kids need to be taught social skills. They need to be taught empathy skills. It can be taught, and there are professionals that can help.”

For more information on Natasha L. Burgert, MD, visit:

For more information on SuEllen Fried, visit


Rhiannon Ally can be reached at

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Stay and be safe: Facebook tidies up advice on preventing online bullying (Australia)

t is widely held that people are meaner on the internet than in person. Now Facebook is attempting to teach its users how to play nice.

Its newly updated safety centre, including its “bullying prevention hub” are central to its strategy to improve the quality of discourse on the platform – for the sake of its future as much as for its users’ experience.

“If people don’t have a positive experience, they’re not going to keep using Facebook, so safety is actually integral to everything we do,” says Mia Garlick, director of policy and communications for the platform in the Australia-Pacific region.

via Stay and be safe: Facebook tidies up advice on preventing online bullying | Technology | The Guardian

Cyber Bullying: The Definitive Guide for Educators, Parents, and Family Members

Children and teens, who are just learning to navigate social relationships, often find themselves in social situations that are fraught with awkward exchanges. When the line between normal, even acceptable, playful teasing crosses into bullying, problems arise. It’s often difficult for them, and even adults, to discern when teasing becomes bullying, and when a laughing together becomes laughing at someone else’s expense.

Simply put, bullying can be boiled down to unwanted social attention. While it can be subtle or blatant; take place online, or in public; be physical or aggressive; there are a few characteristics that can help define bullying.

 Conclusion and Recommendations

Cyber bullying is part of a complex puzzle that, if reduced, improves student performance and success. But, we cannot forget things like the value of parental involvement, drug and alcohol education, other education on other teen behaviors that can affect student life, like sex education. For example, according to the CDC, for example, 10% of teens (over the age of 12) have used illicit drugs in the past month. And, it’s easy to forget, but many students come to school without having eaten a decent meal; in states like Missouri, over 20% of homes have food insecurity, not knowing where their next meal comes from. Alas, cyber bullying is a very important part of a student’s success, but it’s not the only piece of their puzzle.

And, in fact, determining the other pieces, and addressing those, may help suss out the cyber bullying problem. If a student is being bullied for being so-called promiscuous, for example; or, if a student is being bullied because he wears second-hand clothes; or, if a student is being bullied for getting bad grades; it’s obvious that knowing students is helpful. Additionally, having the appropriate district, counseling, and support services is vital to student success in all cases. There is no “stop bullying,” or even “zero tolerance,” in most cases. It is not as simple as enforcing a consequence, or mending a fence; it requires support for the victim, and likely for the bully.

Additionally, based on evidence, bullying education in primary and middle school grades is vital in prevention. As we become more screen-dependent, our children will be versed earlier in technology. Despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ newly revised, and recently released, guidelines about screen time for young children, parents will continue to expose children to technology at younger ages, until they are practically programming satellites in the crib. If we are to expect our children to understand the limitless joy and knowledge that technology can bring, it is incumbent upon us to teach them the limitless responsibility that comes with it as well, including the responsibility they bear, as in all things, to not cause others pain.

via Cyber Bullying: The Definitive Guide for Educators, Parents, and Family Members |

Impact! How to Make a Difference (Cyberbullying) – Media Smarts and Telus

MediaSmarts has created the Impact! How to Make a Difference When You Witness Bullying Online program: a suite of resources for youth, parents, and teachers to support witnesses to cyberbullying. The program, which launched as part of Bullying Awareness Week (Nov. 13 – 19) was funded by TELUS.

The resources include:

·         A step-by-step, online interactive decision-making tool that helps students choose effective strategies for intervening in different cyberbullying situations;

·         A classroom lesson that supports the decision-making tool, with additional role-playing activities for students;

·         A parents’ guide, Helping Our Kids Navigate Cyberbullying, to help parents better support their kids if they’re targets of or witnesses to cyberbullying; and

·         A series of printable posters for the classroom that promote low-risk ways of intervening when students witness cyberbullying.

All of these resources build upon the findings from Young Canadians’ Experiences with Online Bullying, a 2015 study conducted by MediaSmarts and PREVNet and funded by TELUS. The research aimed to discover three things: what are the barriers to witness intervention in cyberbullying? What incentives can increase the likelihood of witness intervention? And which interventions are more or less likely to have a positive outcome? The findings informed the development of the Impact! program, which provides advice to youth, families, and educators for effective intervening in cyberbullying situations.

Explore Impact!

via MediaSmarts News for November 18, 2016

Bullying slightly up, cyberbulling “not cool” anymore in BC – NEWS 1130

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Bullying is slightly on the rise in this province and it seems girls are more likely to be the targets.

While it doesn’t appear things are going well on bullying rates generally, at least when it comes to doing it on the internet, Dr. Bonnie Henry says kids appear to be making positive changes.

via Bullying slightly up, cyberbulling “not cool” anymore in BC – NEWS 1130

Douglas College play tackles social issues

A story of bullying and the life-shattering consequences that result is onstage at Douglas College this month.

The play is based on the true story of a 15-year-old named James and the socioeconomic factors that lead him to commit a crime.

Blackout unfolds in the form of memories, as James wakes up in a prison cell and struggles to recall how he got there. The story – which was told to Anderson by the young boy who inspired by play – shines a spotlight on such social issues as alcoholism, poverty, crime, racism, sexism and bullying.


“We can all call to mind some local stories of bullying that have led to great tragedy, including Amanda Todd, who took her own life after being bullied,” she said. “We are joined by the Amanda Todd Legacy Society in our dedication of this play to Amanda, and others like her, who have suffered or are suffering under the pain of bullying. We hope our production will bring awareness and an opportunity for discussion on this important issue.”

via Douglas College play tackles social issues

Prince William, Harry and Kate Middleton mark World Mental Health day with London Eye visit


William, Kate and Harry will speak at a Heads Together event on the Southbank next Monday.

This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day focuses on the importance of psychological and mental health first aid for all.

… Later in the day, the Eye will turn purple in support of World Mental Health Day.

The global Light Up Purple drive was set up in memory of Canadian teenager Amanda Todd, who killed herself in 2012.

The 15-year-old brought the problem of cyber bullying to mainstream attention after she posted a video on YouTube in which she told her story with handwritten signs.

via Prince William, Harry and Kate Middleton mark World Mental Health day with London Eye visi | Royal | News | Daily Express

MPs hear from mothers of Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd

The House of Commons Standing committee on the Status of Women heard emotional testimony from the mothers of cyberbullying victims Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons Monday evening as it continues to study violence against young women and girls in Canada.

The two women recounted the personal toll of their daughters’ ordeals as the targets of cyberbulling, which makes old-fashioned playground bullying look like child’s play.

via MPs hear from mothers of Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd