January 15-19 is No Name-Calling Week. Jason Stewart, the founder and executive director of Straightway Youth gives his thoughts on the causes and effects of bullying.
Bullying comes in many forms. It can be physical, emotional, or on the web. It can happen in the hallway, the locker room, or at home. No matter how or where it occurs, bullying takes a significant toll on children and teenagers. According to a study from Yale University, bullied victims are 7 to 9 percent more likely to consider suicide.
"Youth have to have a sense of self-worth," says Jason Stewart, who works with local youth at the Straightway Youth Center and at the Green Oaks Detention Center. This sense of self-worth is worn down by all forms of bullying. Low self-worth often leads to the victim becoming a bully themselves, continuing the cycle. It can also lead to alcohol or substance abuse and risky behavior.
So how can adults help? "We need to, as parents, pay a lot of close attention to our kids' environment and the things they are involved in, and get ourselves involved more in their activities," says Stewart. Being involved can help strengthen a child or young adult's sense of self-worth. Parent involvement shows the kid that someone in their life values them.
For more information on No Name-Calling Week, visit the GLSEN website.