Bullying – Stop It!

Bullying – Stop It!

Have you ever been bullied or know someone who has been bullied? I know I have. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Each October since 2006, there has been a national effort to raise awareness about bullying and provide education and resources to try to prevent it. According to data from 2017, about 20% of youth ages 12-18 experienced bullying at school and nearly 30% reported cyberbullying during their lifetime. That is a lot of our country’s youth!

What Exactly is Bullying?

Bullying is unwanted aggressive behavior. Bullying must have a real or perceived power imbalance between the bully and the victim, where the bully uses their power to control or hurt their victim. The bullying behavior needs to be repeated over time, or at least have the potential to repeat over time.

There are three categories of bullying:

  1. Verbal bullying includes teasing, taunting, threats, or name-calling
  2. Social or relational bullying includes ignoring someone on purpose, ostracizing, spreading rumors, or embarrassing someone
  3. Physical bullying includes damaging belongings or harming another’s body such as spitting, hitting, pushing, rude gestures, or tripping
White female working in computer lab

The constant and easy access of cell phones, social media, and the internet has increased the real dangers of cyberbullying. (Photo source: UF/IFAS)

Cyberbullying

Technology has changed the ways of bullying. Bullying is no longer only ‘picking on’ someone, making fun of them, calling them names, or ignoring them at school. The constant and easy  access of cell phones, social media, and the internet has truly expanded bullying to an unthinkable, unending scale. There are many ways to bully someone online, including:

  • Verbal attacks, mean messages, or rumors on social media accounts, online games such as Fortnite, or through email or text
  • Releasing embarrassing or inappropriate pictures, GIFs, or videos online or through text (e.g. sexting)
  • Creating fake profiles or hacking into someone’s account online in order to hurt that person

Perhaps one of the most dangerous things about cyberbullying is once something is posted online and is circulated, it’s very hard to permanently remove. This oftentimes makes escape from the bullying unusually difficult or even seemingly impossible. It’s so important to keep up with ways technology is advancing in order to protect ourselves from things like cyberbullying.

Effects of Bullying

The negative psychological effects of bullying are very real – for the bully, the victim, and those who may witness it.

For the bully, they have a greater risk of using substances, engaging in risky or violent behavior, being abusive in future relationships, committing crimes, and developing other external behavior problems.

Effects of bullying include low self-esteem, fear, loneliness, heartache, and potential physical illness.  These effects put a widespread toll on the mental, physical, and social health of the victims and also those who witness bullying. The increased risk of using addictive and illegal substances, anxiety, depression, eating disorders or even becoming suicidal are to be taken seriously and should be treated appropriately. Seek out mental health professionals or physicians and consult with them on the best combination of treatment. These effects can last days, months, years, or even lifetimes depending on the person and the circumstance.

The Story of Amanda Todd

The story of Amanda Todd is an unfortunate real example of cyberbullying and how unforgiving and never-ending it can be. Amanda ultimately committed suicide to get away from it; she was only 15 years old. Her YouTube video, published in 2012 a month before she committed suicide, has 13.5 million views to date. To better understand the reality of bullying, please consider watching it or sharing it. However, viewer discretion is advised.

Bullying, harassment, discrimination, or any other type of negative, cruel, or harmful behavior is never okay or acceptable in any way. If you have been a witness of bullying or a bully, stand up to stop it! If you have been bullied or know someone who has, please seek help from caring professionals, family, or friends. Go-to resources are found below.

 

Additional Resources

Stop Bullying Now Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

  • Available 24/7, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

  • Available 24/7, there is an online chat option available here

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

  • Available 24/7, suicide prevention help specifically for the LGBTQ+ community
  • Texting and chat options are available here

National Eating Disorders Association: 1-800-931-2237

  • Mon-Thu 9am-9pm, Fri 9am-5pm

The Cybersmile Foundation

STOMP Out Bullying

Stopbullying.gov

 

Sources

National Center for Educational Statistics, Indicators of School Crime and Safety Indicator 10: Bullying at School and Electronic Bullying, April 2019.

Cyberbullying Research Center

The Amanda Todd Legacy

Summer Local Eats – Supporting Farmers’ Markets

Summer Local Eats – Supporting Farmers’ Markets

Eating fresh, local produce is a great way to be healthier, save money, and support the local economy. (Photo source: Stephanie Herzog)

Summer Local Eats – Supporting Farmers’ Markets

Summer is a great time of year to eat locally grown fresh produce! There are many options rich in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and nutrients. Farmers work hard to provide life-sustaining sustenance for society, and consumers supporting their efforts at the local level has an array of health and economic benefits.

Fresh summer crops in the panhandle abound. Produce that is ready this time of year includes peppers, cucumber, peanuts, okra, squash, corn, and watermelon. Spice up a summer salad with fresh cucumbers or peppers or try tasty yellow meat watermelon for a chill and nutritious summertime snack! Local, fresh produce is a healthy alternative to processed foods or produce found in grocery stores. Produce sold by local farmers is freshly picked and because you know where it comes from, it is both safer to eat and keeps for longer periods of time than grocery store produce, which often has traveled long distances, is seldom inspected, and is kept in storage before finally being put out on the floor for purchase.

Supporting your farmers’ market benefits both you and your community in many ways. Purchasing from local farmers and farmers’ markets is both financially sound for you and is supportive of the community’s economy – the money changes hands locally and creates and maintains jobs. Not only does it benefit the economy, it also fosters a stronger sense of community unity and trusted relationships, which is vital to any successful society and local economy. For example, farmers will sometimes offer a “u-pick” program, depending on the crop, where you go to their farm and pick what produce you want right from the field! You get to keep half, and the farmer keeps half. This is a great cooperative effort that benefits everyone – you get free, fresh produce, and the farmer gets free labor. Who doesn’t love a win-win scenario?

Jackson County farmers’ markets information. Residents in Jackson County have a wonderful farmers’ market in the heart of downtown Marianna, located at Madison Street Park (2881 Madison St.) that goes throughout the summer every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning from 7am-12pm. After September, the market will continue through the fall, winter, and spring each Saturday at the same time. Tuesday and Thursday have farmer vendors only, while Saturday includes a variety of vendors, such as arts and crafts, plants and flowers, jams, jellies, honey, etc. This market also offers a raffle when you purchase items from vendors! For any questions about the market or how to join as a vendor, visit their Facebook page or contact Tony Mayo, the current farmers’ market manager or Terry Johnson, the public relations manager for the market. His number is 850-592-5114. It’s a good idea to bring cash or checks, but some vendors do accept credit and debit cards.

Want to find a farmers’ market near you or learn more about the benefits and best practices shopping at a farmers’ market?

Come experience the buzz and benefits of the farmers’ market!

Sources:

Local farmers at the Marianna City Farmers’ Market

Wang, Q., Evans, E. A., Pikarsky, M., & Olczyk, T. Consuming local vegetables from our local growers. UF IFAS publication HS1251.