Bullying: No longer just on the playground or school bus

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By Stephanie Carson
Special to The SUN

Bullying is no longer a behavior that happens mostly on the playground or the school bus.

Social media is providing online channels for negative interactions between children, with more than half of teens reporting they have witnessed online bullying.

Experts like Peggy Caruso, a life coach and author of the book “Revolutionizing Your Child’s Life,” said the best way an adult can help their child is to be aware of potential sources of bullying. “The biggest thing is understanding the types of bullying and the signs you look for,” Caruso said. Those signs include a child who seems withdrawn, lacks the desire to interact with others or exhibits extreme changes in behavior.

Legislation that would make cyber-bullying illegal in Colorado was introduced this year, but did not pass. In addition to increased technology providing other outlets for bullies, Caruso said it has also decreased traditional communication between children, like talking and face-to-face problem solving.

“One of the issues with technology, social media and whatnot, is the loss of communication,” Caruso said. “So, I also teach them how to brainstorm with other children and just try to bring back some things that are lost.” To deter negative online interactions, Caruso said it is important to advise your child to resist the temptation to respond to the bully, don’t retaliate, save any evidence and use online privacy tools and settings to block the bully.