In today’s technological world, it is becoming increasingly common to turn on the television and see violence glorified or a social media video on violence go viral. It is no wonder that our youth are at risk for repeating or being part of risky and violent behavior. How do we as parents or members of a community stop this before it starts?
Prevention first begins at home by talking to your kids openly about violence and safety as early as they can join the discussion. Teaching your children safety in numbers, always walking in groups, and warning signs can really help them to be cautious when necessary and stay safe when they are not under your supervision. Instilling family values and morals into your children is key. Encourage your children to talk about what they think and feel. When your home is a safe place for them to express themselves, it will diminish the possibility of them bottling up emotions inside and eventually exploding on the wrong person. Finally, starting young in limiting your child’s exposure to violence is also essential.
Along with the home, prevention must be prevalent in the school district as well. Students should learn to identify bullying language and actions in themselves, followed with information on positive communication skills. There should always be an established system for a child to report being bullied (anonymously, if needed) and get immediate help. Professional follow-up procedures should always be taken and include both families of those involved. Teachers must get involved in classroom discussions, not only about bullying, but about violence and prevention in general. Lastly, if a child is bullying and showing signs of violence, the school should notify parents and help grab the problem by the roots. Not sure of the bullying policy at your children’s schools? Talk to a teacher, administrator or the principal to ensure action is taken.
Cyber bullying is also on the rise, which can be the most alarming because it is often hidden. The best thing a parent can do is monitor their child’s exposure to the internet. This can mean monitoring the amount of time spent online or even putting safety blocks on the computer or phone. Get to know your child and build a foundation of trust, so if they are experiencing this type of violence, they have a safe person to turn to.
Bullying and other violence is a force to be reckoned with. It is everywhere, and when it comes to our youth, teaching them about morality and ways to avoid it can shape a better future. Parents and the community need to work as a team in this fight against youth violence. It takes a village to raise a child, and when that village is safe, the child is at peace. W