October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bloom Orthodontics in Long Beach and other orthodontists across the nation with the backing of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) are supporting a movement to Stand for the Silent. We want to work with our community to stop bullying and cyberbullying by building awareness about the prevalence and consequences of bullying on children of all ages, races, sexual orientations, and abilities.
Let’s face it; having something different about your teeth is a target for bullies. Whether it’s a gap, missing or discolored teeth, anything that departs from the norm in a kid’s smile might as well have a bullseye painted on it. It can cause real confidence issues for children, who might already feel self-conscious about their smiles.
Founded in 2010, Stand for the Silent is an anti-bullying organization with a mission to “bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes.” The organization travels all around the world to help young people recognize bullying and the potential for life and death consequences from it. Their goal is to teach children to develop empathy for others through education and understanding.
Want to host a Stand for the Silent presentation at your child’s school?
The AAO has four steps from Stand for the Silent for making a difference about bullying: Educating yourself about bullying, practicing empathetic awareness, pledging to change, starting a chapter to prevent it.
Bullying can’t get better if the right people don’t know about it. It is up to every one of us to speak up about it. Moreover, Stand for the Silent teaches that witnessing bullying and not intervening is permitting it. They explain that the temporary fears you have of the consequences from getting involved could result in permanent regrets because you didn’t help when you should have.
The Stand for the Silent Pledge says:
“From this day forward, I promise to respect those around me as well as respect myself. I am somebody, and I can make a difference. I can make another feel loved. I can be the helping hands that leads another back to the path of hope and aspiration. I will not stand silent as others try to spread hatred through my community. Instead, I pledge to lift those victims and show them that their life matters. I will be the change because I am somebody!”
To download a PDF of the Stand for the Silent pledge, please click here.
What Can You Do About Bullying?
There are many things you can do to make a difference. STOMP Out Bullying™ has suggestions to stop bullying in your community, from making friends with someone you don’t know to paying acts of kindness forward.
The week of October 21st, STOMP Out Bullying recommends making it a “Week of Inclusion.” They suggest that students try the following at school:
- Not allowing peers to eat alone either at school or on a school trip
- Seeking to include other students in school activities either during or after school
- Inviting someone they don’t know well to sit with them and trying to get to know the person
- Remind friends and classmates that they are all in it together and be that source of support for peers in need
To wrap up the month-long awareness campaign, STOMP out Bullying suggests students organizing to change the school culture to be judgment and bully-free. They invite kids to take leadership roles and discuss bullying and its consequences.
Cyberbullying: The New Frontier for Bullying
Bullying used to happen away from home, on sidewalks, in parking lots, or school ground, among other places. However, bullying has a new home: on our electronic devices. It’s called cyberbullying, and unlike old-fashioned face-to-face bullying, it has no boundaries. Per Common Sense Media, it includes mean texts or IMs, posting embarrassing photos or videos, and using online channels to spread rumors. The CDC found in 2015 that 15.5% of students nationwide were the victims of cyberbullying in the previous 12 months. It was higher among females (21.7%) than males (9.7%), and of those females, the highest among white females (26%).
- Reassure the child that you care about them and support them.
- Help them take a break from the online world.
- If possible, discuss the situation with the parents of the cyberbully.
- Contact the school to let them know it happened online and to enquire if it could be happening at school also.
- Help your child have steps to take to handle the situation, like signing off, not retaliating, blocking the bully, and saving and printing out the bullying messages.
- Encourage them to talk to a friend when it happens or to a trusted adult, especially you.
- Remind them that telling you or another trusted adult is not tattling; it’s defending themselves, an activity you support.
The Cybersmile Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 to provide expert support, resources, and consultancy to people all around the world about how to keep the connected world bully-free. They have a “Tri-Pillar” model that supports awareness, education, and support. They want to help people who are being bullied and change the behavior of cyberbullies with education. Their goal is to provide a safe and positive digital future.
To download the Cyberbullying Resources by Cybersmile, please click here.
Here at Bloom Orthodontics, we want Long Beach to be a bully-free community all year, not just in October. We hope our patients and their families will be comfortable talking about bullying and cyberbullying and building awareness about how damaging it can be for young people. We also support any activity that can promote kindness and support for people of all backgrounds and lifestyles to feel cared for and safe.
To schedule your free consultation today, call Bloom Orthodontics office in Long Beach at 562-421-8883.
Bloom Orthodontics in Long Beach has a long history of improving our patients’ smiles. We provide modern orthodontic treatments delivered with old fashioned excellence in patient experience. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
“Stand for the Silent.” Standforthesilent.org. Web. October 15th, 2019. < https://standforthesilent.org/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw3JXtBRC8ARIsAEBHg4lQ2ZOhNFqLXwuliG2vLtxtF8jECHOOFXdTDbxzVFcnIGLZ57fIdWMaAgXYEALw_wcB>.
“You Are Somebody—4 Steps for Students to Stand for the Silent.” Aaoinfo.org. September 26th, 2019. Web. October 15th, 2019. < https://www.aaoinfo.org/blog/4-steps-for-students-to-stand-for-the-silent/>.
“October is National Bullying Prevention Month.” Stompoutbullying.org. Web. October 15th 2019. < https://www.stompoutbullying.org/campaigns/national-bullying-prevention-awareness-month>.
“Cyberbullying, Haters, and Trolls.” www.commonsensemedia.org. Web. October 15th 2019. <https://www.commonsensemedia.org/cyberbullying/what-is-cyberbullying>.
“Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2015.” Cdc.gov. N. p., 2019. Web. October 15th 2019. Accessed via web. October 15th 2019: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/2015/ss6506_updated.pdf>.
“What Should I do if my kid is bullied online?” commonsensemedia.org. Web. October 15th 2019. < https://www.commonsensemedia.org/cyberbullying/what-should-i-do-if-my-kid-is-bullied-online.
 “Stand for the Silent.” Standforthesilent.org. Web. 15 October 2019. < https://standforthesilent.org/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw3JXtBRC8ARIsAEBHg4lQ2ZOhNFqLXwuliG2vLtxtF8jECHOOFXdTDbxzVFcnIGLZ57fIdWMaAgXYEALw_wcB>.
 “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2015.” Cdc.gov. N. p., 2019. Web. October 15th 2019. Accessed via web. October 15th 2019: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/2015/ss6506_updated.pdf>.
 “What Should I do if my kid is bullied online?” commonsensemedia.org. Web. October 15th 2019. < https://www.commonsensemedia.org/cyberbullying/what-should-i-do-if-my-kid-is-bullied-online.