Information for Parents
Helping parents reduce the dangers of bullying and cyber bullying in the digital age and raise healthy, happy, successful kids.
For ages 6-12.
Highest rates of bullying occur in 4th through 8th grades:
90 percent of students reported being victims of some kind of bullying.
About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly.
Parents across the globe have mounting concerns about their children being bullied at school or online. As our kids go online at ever younger ages how do we protect them? What do we do if our child is bullied at school or a victim of cyber bulling? Incidences of bullying and cyber bullying are among the most difficult and urgent issues confronting families and, as recent headlines have shown, can have tragic consequences.
What is Stepping On Up?
The Stepping On Up video guidance series was developed to address the needs of young students grades K-6 and will help create safer and more caring schools. It will directly help your child successfully navigate the challenges and changes of elementary school and develop social and emotional skills they will use throughout their life. Stepping On Up presents important teaching and learning opportunities, not only to stop bullying and cyber bullying but to create respectful, inclusive and caring school communities. As our puppet characters, Dieter and Zazi say, “It is our school too,” and it is the intent of this program to empower students and community members to take the steps necessary to make schools safe and bully-free.
Stepping On Up incorporates proven effective approaches from the fields of social emotional learning, character education, violence prevention and resiliency. It engages students to explore the following areas:
- Cyber Bullying
- Internet safety
- Bullying in schools
- Respect for others
- Responsibility for actions
- Positive decision making
- Personal safety (online and in the real world)
- Anger Management
- Age Appropriate Choices
Develop Valuable Life Skills
Each Stepping On Up Lesson also explores valuable life skills and attributes such as:
- Good character
- Problem solving
- Positive interpersonal skills
Clip of the Month
Each month we will stream a complete segment from one of our lessons along with sample discussion questions for the program. Check out our Clip of the Month »
Win Free Programs
We are pleased to announce that because of the generous support of Our Funders, we will be giving away sets of free programs to schools participating in our Stepping On Up Student Essay Writing contest »
Facts about bullying and cyber bullying.
- About 71 percent of students report bullying as an on-going problem.
- There are about 282,000 students that are reportedly attacked in high schools throughout the nation each month.
Read more in the Stepping On Up Facts About Bullying and Cyber Bullying Guide in our Free Resources area »
How Can Parents Step Up to Bullying
While bullying is a persistent and pervasive problem in our schools, it is not an intractable or permanent one: we all can take steps to reduce and eventually eliminate it from our school communities….
Read more in the Stepping On Up SOU Guide to Bullying in our Free Resources area »
How Parents can Step Up to Cyber Bullying
There is little doubt that the Internet, new media and digital devices are transforming our lives and the lives of our children in the most profound ways.
- 52% of 5 to 8 year-olds are using smartphones, video iPods, iPads, or similar devices
- 23% of 5 to 8 year-olds use more than one medium “most” or “some” of the time.
- 19.8% of teens reported sending more than 120 messages per school day
- 43% of teens report having been bullied online
Read more in the Stepping On Up SOU Guide to Cyber Bullying in our Free Resources area »
Signs of Bullying
Children often find it difficult to talk about being bullied. They may feel ashamed or embarrassed or blame themselves. As a result many bullying victims suffer in silence and some research indicates that 20% of victims say nothing about it. It is important that parents and teachers know how to spot the signs that bullying may be occurring.
Possible warning signs that a child is being bullied include:
- torn, damaged, or lost pieces of clothing, books, electronics, jewelry or other belongings
- unexplained injuries: cuts, bruises, and scratches
- reluctance to go to school, loss of interest in or sudden dislike of school
- avoids school bus rides or changes walking route to school
- avoidance of after-school activities and school-based social gatherings
- unusual difficulty in concentrating or lack of focus
- being listless, unenthusiastic, remote or showing a lack of interest in favorite activities
- a sudden drop in academic interest and declining grades
- mood swings (tearfulness, withdrawal, bursts of anger, anxiety attacks, depression)
- unusual headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments
- difficulty sleeping, nightmares, bed-wetting
- change in eating habits, a loss of appetite or overeating
- rarely talks of friends and seems socially isolated
- significant change friendships and relationships
- having more conflicts or discipline issues at school, acting out at home
- self-destructive behaviors such as cutting, talk of suicide
Signs of Cyber-Bullying
Some signs that your child may be the victim of cyber bullying include:
- Sudden reluctance to go online or use a cell phone
- Avoiding a discussion about what they’re doing online
- Closing the browser or turning off the cell phone when a parent enters the room
- Sudden avoidance of family or prolonged isolation in bedroom
- Or, any of the signs of bullying noted above
What to do if your child is being bullied at school or online
What Parents can do to prevent your child from becoming a victim of bullying or cyber bullying
- Talk about what bullying is and help your child identify bullying behaviors
- Look for signs that your child is being victimized or bullied
- Stress the importance of reporting all incidents of bullying at school.
- Identify teachers and/or staff your child is comfortable talking to about this and other problems they confront.
- Role play reporting an incident of bullying with your child
- Brainstorm ways your child can report bullying confidentially
- Monitor your child’s Internet use on computers and mobile devices.
- Install filtering software on your computer to safeguard you child from finding objectionable material on the Web.
- Place student/family computer in a common room, not the bedroom.
- Discuss Internet etiquette
- Have a family meeting about Internet use and brainstorm good ways to use of the Internet safely
- Teach tolerance and empathy
- Learn about the anti-bullying campaigns at your child’s school and become involved in making it a central part of the school culture.
- Support local bullying prevention programs in your community
What Can I Do if I Think My Child is Being Bullied at School or Online?
If your child or student shows signs of being a victim of bullying or cyber-bullying and is in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem. Get help right away and follow the suggestions posted at: http://www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/index.html. The site outlines a number of responses depending on the severity of the situation. Here are a few suggestions which follow their guidelines.
Talk with your child:
- Express your concern and understanding
- Let them know you want to help and support them
- Encourage them not to be embarrassed or blame themselves for what has happened.
- Gently try to get as many details about the events as possible
- Underline that they can always talk to you about difficult things
Talk with staff at your child’s school. Contact the:
- School counselor
- School principal
- School superintendent
- State Department of Education
If someone is feeling hopeless, helpless, thinking of suicide:
- Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in our national network. These centers provide 24-hour crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
If there has been a crime or someone is at immediate risk of harm:
- Call 911
If the school is not adequately addressing harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion, contact:
- School Superintendent
- State Department of Education
- U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
- U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Things Wired Parents Can Do
- Start a MeetUp in your community using our Free Resources area »
- Join Stepping On Up on Facebook: There are many Facebook Page communities dedicated to helping families take action against bullying and cyber-bullying. To get started, join our community and see who we follow on FACEBOOK.
- Engage on Twitter: if you have a Twitter account follow the hashtag #bullying, #cyberbullying, or #stepppingonup to follow and engage with Thought Leaders in the broader ongoing conversation.
More Resources for Parents
Ask teachers to order Stepping On Up for your child’s school »
Bring Michael Pritchard to Your Child’s School
Michael Pritchard, the host of Stepping On Up, has been making impactful presentations to schools, youth and community organizations across the country for nearly 30 years and has been called America’s Most Respected Youth Counselor. Learn more »
Recommended Sites, Programs and Partner Resources
There are numerous resources on the Web to augment Stepping On Up and build safer, more caring and focused schools. Be sure to check out all of our Free Resources »