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Don't be a bully

While returning to school can be an exciting time, it can also be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if your child is being bullied.

Researchers studying bullying have found there is one incident of bullying every seven minutes, and surveys show as many as half of all children are bullied at some point during their school career, and at least 10% are regularly harassed. A study of students in grades 6 to 10 found that 13% reported bullying others, 11% reported being the target of bullies, and 6% said they bullied others and were bullied themselves.

When it comes to bullying boys tend to use physical intimidation and threats, while girls more often than not will verbally bully their victims. And in today's world of technology bullying has made its way into cyberspace, with reports of people being bullied in online chat rooms and through e-mail.

But how do you identify bullying behavior? Bulling involves a person or group repeatedly trying to harm someone who they think is weaker or more vulnerable.

There are obvious signs of bullying like physical attacks:

  • hitting
  • kicking
  • punching

Verbal attacks:

  • calling someone names
  • saying nasty things about them
  • spreading rumors

But there are also some not so obvious signs, like indirect attacks which include making others exclude someone from an activity or group.

A child's social, emotional development and school work can suffer when they're the victim of bullying. If you suspect your child has been, or is being bullied, get them to talk about it and let them know it is not their fault, and that it is not tattling for them to talk about the bullying.

If you suspect your child is bullying others it is important to get help for him or her as soon as possible. If you allow the behavior to continue it could lead to serious academic, social, emotional, even legal problems down the line.

Are you a bully, or are you being bullied, there is a simple online test you can take to find out. Click here for the test, as well as more important information about spotting and stopping bullying.

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