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CYBERBULLYING


Results of a Stanford survey of 1,500 students grades 4-8 during the 2003-2004 school year, reported on isafe.org:


42 35 53


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percent have been bullied while online (one in four have had it happen more than once).


percent have been threatened online (nearly one in five have had it happen more than once).


percent admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online (more than one in three have done it more than once).


percent have received mean or threat- ening e-mail or other messages.


percent admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online (more than four out of 10 say it has happened more than once).


percent have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.


Emphasize that fighting back physically


doesn’t help and that reporting bullying to adults is mandatory. Pay particular attention to any boy who


GET TRAINED, ONLINE


Find the PowerPoint presenta- tion “Bullying: Prevention and Intervention Tips for Scout Leaders and Parents” at scouting. org/filestore/ppt/bullying prevention.ppt. Developed by Loudoun County, Va., school psy- chologist and former Scout leader Ginger McClure, the module reviews the definition and causes of bullying, instructs leaders in response and prevention, and tells parents and Scout leaders what to do if a Scout tells them he’s a victim of cyberbullying.


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seems vulnerable or atypical. “The biggest predictor of being victimized is being differ- ent,” notes Graham. Some youth groups even make inclusion a rule: “We tell kids, ‘If you see someone sitting by himself, you have to go over and ask them to play,’” says Adam Jacobs, execu- tive director at Kids Creative, an after-school and summer program in New York City. Create a sense of belonging by giving a


new Scout a sense of responsibility, and don’t forget to urge older boys to lead and teach the younger ones, Geier advises. Finally, leaders can help the bully. Even if he


starts to minimize his behavior (“I only called him a nerd”), let him know that he’s violated the Scout Law. That’s not negotiable. When you talk with him:


Keep your voice calm. Show empathy and let the boy know you value him.


Without labeling him a bully, discuss his unacceptable behavior. Impose consequences.


S COUTING ¿ SEPTEMBER•OCTOBER 2010


Encourage an apology or making amends. Set realistic goals and don’t expect imme- diate change.


Tell him he can always ask you for help. It may seem counterintuitive, but giving


the troubled Scout a carefully supervised lead- ership or teaching role can stem the bullying by making him feel connected. Help him use his strengths or develop some. If the bullying persists, you can ask the boy


to sign a contract pledging to support, encour- age, and respect his fellow Scouts. Outline specific consequences in the contract, including that the bully bring his parents in to discuss any incidents. Creating an anti-bullying culture while


helping both the bully and the target is a tall order, so don’t try it alone. Adults working together can create an environment where bul- lying has no chance of thriving. “The answer,” says Barreto, “is working together to create a network of support.” ¿


A longtime writer on parent/child issues, KATHY SEAL co-authored, with Dr. Wendy Grolnick, Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids (Prometheus Books, $18.98).


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