The Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) compliance checklist was revised in 2011, and brought even more awareness to this national issue. New Jersey has been a leader in supporting the prevention of HIB, and some Princeton schools even offer awareness and resolution training to parent volunteers.
While it’s fantastic that schools are being proactive about this growing problem, parents need to also educate themselves and their children. It’s a good time to have open discussions about harassment, intimidation, and bullying at home.
Sometimes the easiest way to start the conversation is by watching a movie on the topic. Netflix is suggesting 11 anti-HIB movies you can watch on demand by streaming on a computer, tablet, smart phone, or TV via apps, a game console, Blu Ray player, or streaming box, i.e. an Apple TV, in the comfort of your home. Younger kids might enjoy watching Hercules, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Avenger’s: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World, Justice League Unlimited, and Ben 10: Alien Force. Tweens and teens might find Bully, The War, Billy Elliot, The Fat Boy Chronicles, and Cyber Bully interesting.
I watched the latter with my kids. Cyber Bully is a story about a girl whose friends and classmates turned against her on a social media site. We discussed how it’s so much easier to bully someone online, and how sites like Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat can be a treacherous vehicle to spreading rumors, making fun of people, and ganging up on a victim. Especially since you can use a handle (name) and avatar (photo) that makes you anonymous. This can lead to low self-esteem, or in worst cases, suicide.
Younger kids get to see superheroes as the protector of HIB victims, and these movies might influence them to confront those who are mean to their classmates or friends. This makes them a hero!
Harassment, intimidation, and bullying includes physical, verbal or written acts that demeans or insults a child under New Jersey law. Take a stand against HIB, and start conversations with your family the remainder of the month.