Playground intimidation is nothing new. But bullying is becoming an epidemic problem.
Bullies can now pick on their targets through social media and over the internet. October is National Bullying Prevention Month and we want you to be always aware.
Some do it out of boredom, others do it for retribution. But doctors say the majority of people who bully do it for fun.
How do they pick their victims?
"Being different itself tends to be make them a target for bullies," said Reading Hospital Child and Adolescent Services Director Tom Adil.
Doctor Tom Adil says bullying can happen in many forms including physical, verbal and social exclusion. But more recently, cyberbullying is becoming most prominent through text messaging.
So what are the warning signs?
"They show signs of being anxious. If they show signs of being depressed, if they are avoiding social situations. For younger victims, if they have physical symptoms of feeling sick, stomach aches," said Adil.
Adil says if your child is being cyber-bullied, the best thing to do is pull the plug. He says kids that are on electronic devices more than three hours a day are twice as likely to be cyber-bullied. So as a parent, limit that interaction. In addition to parent intervention, Adil says kids need school teachers on their side.
"In order to help the children deal with these difficult feelings that are a result of bullying, there needs to be an adult who is active in these children's lives in order to help them work through those feelings and to get the support that they need," said Adil.
Adil says the best ways to prevent bullying are to supervise student activities, ensure that adults intervene on the spot when bullying occurs and conduct serious talks with children involved to try and stop the behavior.
Allentown, PA 18102