Bullying can take place in various forms that include verbal, physical, social and cyber bullying. While online schools do offer an alternative that allows parents to remove their child from a harmful environment, there are a few other things we can do to help mitigate the problem of bullying in schools and in colleges. The effects of bullying can be extremely harmful and devastating, and can range from depression and anxiety to the victims facing difficulties in trusting others and securing employment opportunities. What is important here is that we understand the nature of the students carrying out the bullying and the reasons behind those actions.
Who is at Risk?
To be able to protect our children, we first need to understand how bullying is carried out so that we can identify students who are at risk and help them deal with it effectively with the help of options like online K-12 courses. Students who are perceived as being weak or who don’t fit in socially are usually the targets of bullying. To help them, virtual learning platforms can be made part of the solution, if used in an effective manner. Students are typically bullied because of the way they appear, their sexual orientation or their ethnic background. Potential victims of bullying can include youth identified or perceived as LGBTQ, students with physical or mental disabilities, and religious students.
1. LGBTQ Students
Students who are identified or perceived as LGBTQ are often targeted and are considered at high risk for bullying. Most experience a sense of insecurity and fear for their safety on account of their sexual orientation. In such cases, online K-12 courses can prove to be a viable alternative for such students since they help take them out of their insecure environment and help foster a sense of security. This in turn helps students feel safe and focus on their learning process via a virtual learning environment, which can result in a remarkable improvement in their grades.
2. Students with Disabilities
Bullies tend to go after students with disabilities since they make for easy targets. Since they are defenseless and probably have a harder time communicating about bullying incidents to others, this form of bullying can be dangerous. Such situations can be effectively tackled with the help of online schools. Students with disabilities are usually weaker than their peers, which is why they are more prone to becoming victims of bullying.
3. Religious Students
It is quite common for students to be bullied because of their religion. While online learning platforms do help tackle this issue, it is important to note that the cause of the bullying seldom has anything to do with one’s own beliefs about religion. Usually, it is the result of media hype or propaganda, which can easily propagate negative perceptions. Students have impressionable minds and can get carried away easily. Enrolling for online K-12 courses can help parents control what their children are exposed to and put them in the driver’s seat in term so their child’s education.
4. Girls and Young Women
With the rise of social media apps, girls and young women are more often the targets of cyber bullying than boys. Online schools can help mitigate this problem if they are used effectively. Girls and young women are usually targeted on the basis of their appearance or sexuality. Additionally, girls are more prone to using social media for bullying rather than indulge in physical bullying (like boys).
How You Can Help Prevent Bullying
Preventing incidents of bullying is extremely important to all of us as a community since it doesn’t just affect the victims. Continued bullying over a long period of time can sometimes cause victims to lash out and this can have cascading effects on those around them. While online schools do offer viable alternatives when tackling the issue of bullying, it is important that we as a society address it effectively by helping both victims and the ones carrying out the bullying.
In addition to employing online K-12 courses, there are other effective methods that can be used to tackle the issue of bullying such as raising awareness about cyber bullying and bullying, educating parents, students and staff, encouraging the reporting of incidents of bullying and following up on them, implementing anti-bullying policies and laws, and providing support to the perpetrators to help them stop their bullying behavior.
Parents need to keep a watchful eye on their children for signs that they may be experiencing some form of bullying. While virtual learning platforms help remove students from harmful and possibly dangerous situations, there are other places where students can be subject to bullying. For incidents taking place in school, parents should immediately contact the school authorities. For incidents taking place away from school, especially cases where threats may have been issued, parents should immediately notify the police.
Finally, the act of bullying should be addressed in a constructive manner. In addition to helping victims, online learning environments can be used to help the perpetrators too. Bullies should be counseled about their actions and the reasons behind their acts of bullying. Furthermore, they should be taught about the consequences and effects of their harmful actions, not just on their victims but on themselves too. Most students will show a positive change in their behavior if the root cause of their actions is addressed and they are made to understand just how destructive bullying can be.