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A Modern Solution for the New Age of Bullying

A Modern Solution for the New Age of Bullying

1/22/2018 9:00:00 AM

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There is bullying in schools. So what can be done? Bullying is prevalent in U.S. schools based on statistics from stopbullying.gov:

  • 71% of students report they have witnessed bullying
  • 28% report being bullied in school
  • 41% of school administrators witness bullying every week

There are a lot of other disturbing facts and figures, but are we becoming numb to the numbers? Is this just traditional youth antics or is this new and disturbing and does it need to be addressed in a modern way? As we become more educated about the effects of this new age of aggression, we now understand this is different, the effects are damaging, and it cannot be ignored.

The impact of bullying
Now that we know bullying is much more prevalent than ever before - why should we care? The first effect of bullying is on clarity of character; those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying are all affected. Exposure to unchecked and direct aggression is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide.

But let's also consider the financial impact. In the December 2017 edition of "Jury Verdicts and Settlements in Bullying Cases" from publicjustice.net, we see 57 pages of examples of recent settlements due to bullying claims with numerous seven figure settlements. A number of the settlements are for undisclosed amounts and the legal costs will often significantly increase the expense. The effects of bullying, and now what we know to be harassment, have a clear financial impact. It turns out allowing a negative culture to persist hurts the bottom line. Improving behavior is not only helping youth, it's financially sound to address bullying and harassment.

Bullying impacts enrollment
Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:

  • Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
  • Health complaints

These experiences lead to 160,000 absences per day from youth who simply do not want to go to school due to bullying.

Bullying impacts grades
Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:

  • Decreased academic achievement - GPA and standardized test scores - and school participation.

Decreased grades lower the ratings of a school, and can negatively affect long term student choice.

Bullying impacts bullies and witnesses
Finally, there are the bullies themselves and the witnesses. They are negatively affected in ways that can't be ignored. Kids who bully others are more likely to:

  • Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
  • Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school

Kids who witness bullying are more likely to:

  • Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
  • Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
  • Miss or skip school

A modern solution
These are 21st century issues that need to be addressed in a modern format. In all cases, today's most effective approaches leverage an anonymous mobile reporting solution. Imagine students having a mobile app with the ability to send a bullying or depression note directly to a school counselor and the counselor having the ability to message right back, collect information, and work to address the issue. Imagine all of this with the security of anonymity in order to encourage participation, and most importantly, get results. STOPit's results can be summarized in a number of categories including; reduction in the number of reports of bullying (customers report up to 83% reduction in annual reporting), reduction in the amount of time required to investigate an incident (customers report more than a 50% reduction in average incident resolution time), and specific event mitigation.

Philadelphia Insurance Companies policyholders can get ahead of these issues as they have access to STOPit, a leading anonymous mobile reporting solution for schools. Follow the links below to request a demo.

Contact jschobel@stopitsolutions.com for more information.

Written by Neil Hooper, Chief Revenue Officer of STOPit
Neil has worked with thousands of schools across the country

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