New year, new start for those affected by bullying - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

New year, new start for those affected by bullying

Source: KSLA News 12 Source: KSLA News 12

Kids who've been targeted for bullying may be experiencing more anxiety than others as they embark on a new school year. Some school leaders are encouraging those students to build confidence by looking at the new year as a fresh start.

"One of the things we want all kids to know is that they do have a fresh start coming back," explained Caddo Parish School District's Psychologist, Dr. Barzanna White, "So hopefully a lot of things that have occurred over the summer have died down, and they're able to start a new school year, hopefully make new friends."

Dr. White continued, "One of the things that Caddo Schools does every year during the first month, is we give them some education programs about bullying prevention, how to report if they are being bullied, whether that's in person or through social media sites. Also how to be social media savvy, tech savvy, not putting out too much information possible predators could actually target those vulnerable kids."

Dr. White says social media adds yet another platform for bullying and isn't going away anytime soon.  

"It's estimated that about 90% of all kids have at least one social media site, and they spend approximately 44.5 hours weekly on that site or watching TV," said White. 

Dr. White also says social media allows some attacks to continue around the clock.

"Some of our teenagers, our pre-teens and teens, actually get up multiple times during the night to check their phones and other devices. They often spend about 100 times a day sending text messages, receiving text messages, and if you're getting up of course during the night, you're not getting great REM sleep."

While parents are encouraged to monitor their children's cell phone usage, Dr. White says students should also explore extracurricular activities. 

"The more clubs and organizations they get involved in, the less likely they are to be bullied because that broadens their friends set," explained White.

Staff at Caddo Parish schools want to remind students everywhere to speak up. If you see something, say something, don't be afraid to report bullying. 

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