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Children's issues: When bullying becomes a nasty problem

When parents see their children struggling, they struggle, too. One of the most pressing children's issues in British Columbia, as in the rest of the country, is that of bullying. Being bullied can affect a child's welfare in numerous ways and when parents get wind of what's going on, they may feel helpless. There are, however, some proactive things parents can do to help their children.

Firstly, bullying takes in four forms: physical, verbal, social and cyber. A parent will see marked changes in a child who is being bullied. He or she may withdraw from social activities, grades might drop, the child might not want to go to school, may wet the bed, and toys or money may go missing. Talking to children and letting them know the bullying isn't their fault are the first courses of action. Determining how severe the bullying is, is extremely important and letting teachers and school managers know what is going on is also necessary.

In recent years, cyberbullying -- or online bullying -- has become much more prevalent. In these cases, copies of bullying texts, messages and online media pages should also be printed for evidence. A child should never respond to a cyberbully and should be reported to the website on which it is taking place. In addition, make sure privacy settings are at the highest levels they can be on social media pages.

Most bullying is actually not against the law, per se, but it can cross the line in certain instances. When child bullying becomes a hate crime, if it involves assault, theft or robbery or when harassment becomes threatening, it may be time to get the authorities involved and to speak with a lawyer experienced in children's issues. A lawyer in British Columbia may be able to help a client on how best to proceed.  

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