NJ scores better than its neighbors in a new bullying report
Now that schools have returned to in-person learning, the potential for bullying is also present.
According to the personal finance website, WalletHub, a child experiences bullying every seven minutes. It has released its report on "2021's States With the Biggest Bullying Problems."
WalletHub compared 47 states and the District of Columbia across 20 key metrics, ranging from bullying-incident rate to truancy costs for schools to the share of high school students bullied online, said analyst Jill Gonzalez.
New Jersey ranked 23rd on the list, middle of the pack, thanks to its strong, comprehensive anti-bullying laws. But she said the state could be doing better when it comes to the bullying impact. Some high school students are missing school because of bullying. There are still many experiencing sadness, hopelessness because of bullying.
New Jersey could also improve its truancy costs with schools. Gonzalez said the state ranked middle-of-the-pack for the prevalence of bullying. Even though the laws are there, bullying still exists, affecting students.
Neighbors New York ranked 14th on the list and Pennsylvania at 21st. Both actually did worse than New Jersey when it comes to child bullying problems in schools.
California is the state with the most bullying problems, according to the survey, followed by Wisconsin, Alaska, Missouri and Mississippi. Massachusetts had the least bullying problems. Vermont is second followed by Colorado, Delaware and Indiana.
Dr. Stephanie Fredrick, Associate Director of the Alberti Center For Bullying Abuse Prevention said children may be at risk of being bullied if they have a perceived weakness or vulnerability if they are perceived to be different from the "norm" especially when it comes to appearance, sexual orientation or race/ethnicity. Mental health challenges may also place a child at a higher risk of being bullied, she added.
Parents should also learn how to protect their kids against cyberbullying. "Parents should try to be available to talk with their children as early as possible about appropriate digital behavior and appropriate content. Parents should make sure that their child knows only to communicate things online that they would be okay with their parents or even their grandparents seeing," said Fredrick.
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