How to Bullyproof Your KidBy Jill Suttie | July 19, 2012 | 3 comments
Two new books explore how to curb bullying in the classroom and online.
Being a teacher is tough. Being a teacher in an environment where kids are being bullied is impossible. Kids don’t learn in an atmosphere where they don’t feel safe, physically or emotionally, and teachers need to have strategies for creating a classroom environment where kids are respectful and caring toward one another.
If you’re a teacher looking for positive ways to manage your classroom and prevent bullying, you can look for advice in a new book by Caltha Crowe called How to Bullyproof Your Classroom.
Crowe is a veteran teacher who now works as a consultant for the Responsive Classroom—a highly rated social-emotional learning program that promotes strong academics as well as positive social skill development for kids. Her book gives a wealth of research-tested interventions that can help teachers create a classroom of caring, including advice on such things as how to run a successful morning meeting, model caring behavior, and catch and discipline “gateway” negative behaviors, before they get out of hand.
Bullying continues to be a real problem in schools across the United States, garnering a lot of media attention. But bullying occurs outside of the classroom too, beyond the supervision of adults, particularly through online social media, like Facebook, where kids often post comments and pictures in the blink of an eye, without considering the consequences.
According to James Steyer, the founder of Common Sense Media and a professor at Stanford Univeristy, parents can and should do more to protect kids from this kind of cyber-bullying. He believes that cyber-bullying has become rampant in part because parents are unsure themselves of what constitutes a valid and acceptable use of technology.
In fact, many parents are less savvy about using the internet than their kids, making it hard for them to keep up with the ever-changing array of options for online connections and creating a situation where supervision can prove difficult.
To help parents navigate these shifting waters, Steyer has written a new book, Talking Back to Facebook, which outlines some of the risks involved in online use and what to do about it.
Steyer contends that letting kids go online from an early age increases their risk of developing ADHD, prevents normal social development, and could lead to an addiction to online gaming. Although he sees the advantages of kids becoming comfortable with online technology, he still finds that many if not most kids are spending way too much time staring at a screen.
Talking Back to Facebook provides concrete advice to parents on how best to limit and supervise kids’ screen time. Steyer’s recommendations cover all forms of online technology, including cell phones, computers, and TV, and are specific to different age levels, making them particularly helpful for parents.
So, if you need help protecting your kids from too much technology—whether it involves texting, surfing the Internet, or violent video games—this may be the book for you. And, if you take the book’s advice, you’ll be doing your kids’ teachers a favor in the process.
As any teacher knows, there’s only so much one can do to prevent bullying in the classroom, and parents are the first line of defense. Perhaps a concerted effort to end bullying by both parents and teachers—usually the most significant adults in kids’ lives—could really make a difference.
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About The Author
Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good‘s book review editor and a frequent contributor to the magazine.