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Bullying Awareness Month

            I’m sure everyone knows someone who is a victim of bullying or who was a bully, considering statistics show that over 3.2 million students fall victim to it every day. Bullying has become more than just physical abuse. Not only that, but verbal and emotional abuse is more common and often goes unnoticed. With the use of social media, cyberbullying has become a fast tactic for bullies to target others online. It’s difficult to prevent others from bullying someone online because you can create fake profiles or be anonymous.

            Due to this rising epidemic of bullying, which often leads to suicide, 18 sixth grade students declared October as National Stop Bullying Month in 2009.

In addition to that, the second week of October is set as National Stop Bullying Week and National Stop Bullying Day is the second Wednesday of October, which landed on October 12 this year. The annual designation is designed to bring awareness of the need to stand up against and put an end to bullying.

            To help raise awareness about bullying, users on Twitter created the hashtag

#NationalStopBullyingDay, where users spoke out against bullying and their own personal experiences with it. With this hashtag, it promotes positivity and the importance of kindness. By having celebrities join it, others are more inclined to listen because impressionable kids want to be like the ones they idolize.

            The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has websites that offer tools, support, and links for help and education on bullying. One problem with bullying is that many have witnessed it and are bystanders. By becoming more educated about the impact bullying has on others, those who watch bullying happen may be more inclined to step in if they understand the consequences bullying has on others. This is essential because bullying starts taking place during childhood, and in most cases, carries on throughout adulthood. With the proper education about how those who are bullied experience depression, anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness; someone may think twice before making the conscious choice to stand up to a bully. Those who are bullied also have decreased academic achievement, school participation, and are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out due to the bullying they face in school.

            Because of this, there are anti-bullying and cyberbullying prevention organizations like STOMP Out Bullying, who create national events to help raise awareness for those who are victims of bullying. An example of this is Blue Shirt Day, where everyone is encouraged to wear a blue shirt to show support for those who are affected by bullying and to signify the importance of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.

            National Stop Bullying Day is important because bullying has a long-lasting effect on those who experience it, especially as vulnerable children. By trying to stop it before it takes place, it can save children and teens the emotional trauma that will ensue following the abuse they face. The world is a better place when everyone is kind towards others and doesn’t judge someone without knowing them.

Photo Credit: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/?gclid=CJvb3q3zqrYCFQuxnQoduz0ABg.

Sophomore double major in Journalism/Mass Communication and Professional & Creative Writing with a double minor in English and Spanish. When I'm not crumbling under the weight of my work, I enjoy writing, reading, watching TV, and listening to music. Twitter: kellyhabs; Instagram: kellyhaberstroh
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