Bullying exists as a major issue in high schools and university campuses worldwide. You’ve likely attended assemblies, workshops, or seminars on bullying: how to recognize it, how to de-escalate it, and how to prevent it. Online bullying has skyrocketed over the past several decades with the technological revolution. Social media platforms such as Facebook and SnapChat have made intimidation easier than ever — and more dangerous. According to Bullying Statistics.org, over 4300 students commit suicide each year. However, there’s a more disturbing fact: for every young adult that commits suicide, 100 more have tried and failed. Young adults who experience agression are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide.
While the statistics surrounding bullying continue to increase at an alarming rate, a light exists in this dark place: advocacy. Many college and university campuses acknowledge this issue and work to provide students with support. Advocating for kindness, tolerance, and respect among students can dramatically decrease the instances of intimidation on and off campus. Transitioning to a college environment can present new challenges when it comes to getting along with new people; not only do you know fewer people, but your college campus may be significantly more diverse. And while parents can become involved to help students during the elementary, middle, and high school years, it will fall to you to address bullying in college no matter where it occurs. There are many ways to stop bullying. Let’s take a look at the top methods you can use to stop intimidation against yourself or against others on a college campus.
How to Prevent Bullying
While you will never be responsible for another’s behavior, certain actions can prevent bullying in college. Here are five excellent tips to help you stop bullying:
Know the different kinds of bullying such as physical, verbal and online bullying. While physical bullying can be easily identifiable by unwanted acts of aggression including pushing, shoving, grabbing, or hitting, verbal and online bullying can be harder to identify. Being able to recognize the different kinds of intimidation is essential in being able to properly address the issue if it ever arises in your presence. Bullies will use different kinds of intimidation methods to create fear in their intended targets. If you are aware of what’s occurring, and feel safe doing so, you can diffuse the situation before it escalates.
In addition to recognizing the kinds of bullying, it’s also important to recognize the effects of it. Students experiencing this kind of abuse may become fearful, withdrawn, depressed, or even suicidal. They may experience issues with self-confidence and working with others.
If you or someone you know experiences bullying or is living with the effects of intimidation it’s important to know what resources your campus community offers. Most college campuses will offer peer mediation, peer educators, and many paper resources in a designated student center to help students address this form of abuse. Check if your school offers a CyberBullyHotline where instances of agression can be reported anonymously. Additionally, there are many national hotlines and online resources such as NoBullying.com that offer support for those who have witnessed or are experiencing bullying behaviors on campus.
Get active on your campus. Attend workshops and seminars that focus on identifying and addressing bullying ,as well as, rallies and other events which speak out against this reprehensible behavior. Investigate whether or not becoming a peer advocate or peer counselor would be possible. Working to create a campus culture that advocates against bullying is key to nurturing an environment that welcomes each and every student. You can be part of the solution: the solution that stands up for everyone and speaks out against all forms of bullying.
If you see something, speak up and address it. Silence can be interpreted as a support of bullying. You can be vocal with both your voice and digital device. Recording instances of bullying on your phone or another electronic device often has the power de-escalate the situation since many bullies do not want to be labeled as such. Speak up against or record the incident only if you are safe to do so. Data shows that people engage less in bullying if clear consequences exist for such actions.
Exist as a living example of how to treat your fellow underclassmen. Choose words and actions carefully. Show others how two (or more) students can disagree cordially without resorting to any type of verbal assaults such as name calling. Model using “I statements” when participating in class discussions. Let your actions lead the way for others to accept and spread kindness throughout the campus. Introduce yourself to a student sitting alone, or extend an invitation to a classmate who doesn’t often attend social functions. Know someone struggling with their academics? Share some tips on how to ace exams! People learn by example. If you lead, others will follow.
Transitioning to college can initially be an overwhelming experience. Start small and cultivate a good, working relationship with your roommate. If you can get along with your roommate, and all the quirks he or she has, then you’ll be able to get on like a house on fire with just about anyone! College exists as an excellent opportunity to meet students from diverse backgrounds. And while you may have differing political or religious views, this is absolutely no reason to engage in uncivilized behavior. Likewise, classmates with mental or physical disabilities can still fully participate in academic and social activities; disabilities never define who a person is.
There are many ways to stop bullying. The first and most important is to recognize it. Once you can recognize the different kinds of intimidation, you’ll be able to better assess the next step in stopping it. The effects of bullying can negatively impact a student’s academic and social life. Such effects can range from avoiding peers to serious depression to suicide. If you suspect that a friend or acquaintance is being bullied it’s imperative that you act — you action just may save a fellow student’s life.