The following is a sponsored guest post
As parents, we strive to protect our children from the dangers of the world. However, many children experience threats in their classrooms and school hallways–spaces where they are supposed to feel safe and at ease. There are various things parents can do to help prevent teasing, tormenting, gossiping, or worse from peers. However, after reaching out to teachers and administrators, parents often feel as though they have exhausted all resources if the bullying continues. One option that an increasing number of parents are moving towards is taking their children out of traditional school. Instead, they are opting for alternative education methods, such as online school, to remove their children from abusive situations.
Risk Factors of Bullying
Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Education has discovered that about 25 percent of students report being bullied, while 70 percent report witnessing others being bullied. Unfortunately, bullying is often a trickledown effect, meaning many children who are bullied turn around and bully others. Fortunately, bullying prevention is a growing research field, which has identified some key risk factors for bullies and bullying victims alike.
Children and adolescents may have an increased risk of being bullied if they are perceived as different from their peers for any number of reasons. Other risk factors of bullying include being weak or unable to defend oneself, having low self-esteem, and inability to get along with others. Unfortunately, research suggests that LGBTQ youth, youth with disabilities, and socially isolated youth may also have an increased risk of being a victim of bullying.
There is also a group phenomenon when it comes to bullying. This means children and teens often experience bullying as a group rather than on a one-on-one basis. Most of these abusive behaviors happen during middle school, but these activities have long-lasting effects into adulthood for everyone involved.
Effects of Bullying
Bullying has effects on the physical, mental, and emotional health of children and teens who are bullied. Often these individuals will show certain signs that indicate some type of bullying is occurring. For example, they will often have changes in sleeping and eating habits, and they may have health complaints, such as headaches. If a child has a sudden shift in academic performance, school participation, and interest in sports and hobbies, this may suggest that they are being bullied.
Bullying may cause or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, and exclusion. These feelings are linked to depression and anxiety, which are mental illnesses that can lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors. These mental illnesses often increase feelings of sadness and loneliness. Suicide is not a direct response to bullying, but rather can be correlated with a lot of other factors. Most teens who die by suicide showed multiple risk factors. Some of these teens were not bullied at all.
The effects of bullying influence everyone involved, including the bully and the bystanders. School districts across the country have implemented bully prevention initiatives. Bully prevention requires the whole community–students, families, administrators, teachers, and staff–to create a culture of respect. Parents should encourage a line of open communication and set an example of how to treat others, especially those with distinct differences. However, even with these initiatives and proactive parents, bullying still regularly occurs. Some parents feel as though they have exhausted every option, which is when many of them have turned to online school.
Benefits of Online School to Children Who Are Bullied
Homeschooling has been on the rise for a while. The Internet has brought more homeschool curriculum and programs to families searching for nontraditional schooling methods over the public school system. Online school is an alternative to a traditional classroom setting that provides a more structured curriculum than homeschooling. Contrary to homeschooling, online school requires little involved form the parent. Youth can recover from bullying while attending online school from the comfort of their homes.
Online school offers a variety of benefits. For example, many online schools provide self-paced courses, which allows students to work as they feel comfortable without the intimidation of bullies. Since all courses are online, students can focus on their coursework without the distraction of bullies and pressure from peers and teachers. Attending schools online also lets students develop more independence around their schoolwork.
Online school and homeschooling options can help provide a positive environment for students to recover from the negative effects of bullying, especially if the child’s health has diminished. The children and teens who transfer to online school because of bullies can regain self-confidence in a safe environment while regaining interest in studies and other extracurricular activities. There are a variety of online schools to choose from, but they all will provide a positive schooling environment from home that enhances the student’s health and well-being.
Have you or your kids been bullied?