25 Myths About Bullying And Cyberbullying by Elizabeth K. Englander

The Blurb On The Back:

Learn the truth about bullying in the 21st century: what to look for and how to cope with the social problems faced by today’s kids.

Whether dealing with bullying issues or worrying that they might occur, parents are faced with more challenges than ever before.  In the age of the internet and social media, traditional approaches to bullying haven’t kept pace with new realities, and new problems like cyberbullying have emerged.  Parents searching for ways to prevent or copy with bulling are flooded by a deluge of advice, opinions, and strategies – often conflicting or, even worse, potentially harmful.  25 Myths About Bullying And Cyberbullying helps parents understand the causes and consequences of bullying, determine if something is truly a problem, and effectively deal with problems when they arise.

This practical guide enables parents to appreciate how modern digital environments impact a young person’s communication and relationships, recognise the most prevalent types of psychological bullying and cyberbullying, and know when and how to intervene.  The author dispels common myths related to confronting bullies, victims seeking revenge on bullies, keeping kids off their phones and computers to prevent cyberbullying, the links between bullying and suicide, and many others.  Backed by the most recent work in bullying and cyberbullying research, this book helps parents:

– understand what causes, prevents, and stops bullying and cyberbullying

– tell the difference between bullying issues and normal ‘growing pains’

– recognise the signs and effects of psychological bullying

– know when intervening is helpful, and when it can be destructive

– reduce social anxieties and the potential for bullying issues in children and young adults.

25 Myths About Bullying And Cyberbullying is an important resource for parents of school-age children and young adults, as well as staff in educational environments.  

You can order 25 MYTHS ABOUT BULLYING AND CYBERBULLYING by Elizabeth K. Englander from Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Elizabeth K Englander is Founder and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University and an expert in bullying, cyberbullying and children’s use of technology.  This easy-to-read book is aimed at parents and educators that tackles myths and worries surrounding bullying and cyberbullying.  It’s a reassuring read that offers suggestions for appropriate action but is a little repetitive at times.

The book is structured around 25 myths, which Englander chooses to focus on because they’re myths that contribute towards people not understanding and dealing with bullying and cyberbullying.  Englander aims to help readers identify what is common and what’s rare in bullying, e.g. most cases of bullying incidents that she has studied as psychological rather than physical but that doesn’t mean that all bullying is psychological.  She also wants to show how bullying and cyberbullying behaviour is associated with other issues such as depression and interact to potentially lead to suicide.  By helping parents and educators to learn about the myths, she wants them to be able to cope and in turn help children learn to cope.

Englander references a lot of research in the field, which you would expect given her expertise, but does so in a way that is easy to follow and understand.  She also uses the research to discuss trends in bullying and cyberbullying and what I liked is the fact that she does not pitch easy answers to these problems.  From the outset she’s very honest and says that prevention and strategy sometimes aren’t sufficient and you need to focus on resiliency, coping skills and social support.

The 25 myths are as follows:

– bullying is usually about a big kid beating up a small kid

– bulling causes suicide and homicide

– bullying is a normal part of childhood

– kids who are small and physically weak are targeted for bullying

– the most important thing is what they did to you

– cyberbullying is just like bullying, only on the computer

– bullying and cyberbullying are separate problems

– most adults cannot help kids with computer or Internet issues, since kids typically know more than they do

– bullying and cyberbullying stop after high school

– cyberbullying is usually anonymous

– cyberbullying is the most emotionally devastating form of bullying

– bullies have emotional problems

– all children are all equally vulnerable to bullying

– bullies are raised in dysfunctional families by parents who are bullies themselves

– revenge is an effective way to handle bullies

– bullies don’t understand how much they’re hurting the target

– schools don’t do anything about bullying

– schools can’t take any action in cyberbullying cases

– schools could absolutely stop bullying if they wanted to

– when kids shake hands and make up, the bullying stops

– there’s no point in forcing kids to be nicer to each other, because they’ll just be mean again when the adults aren’t there

– if only kids would report to adults, the problem would be solved

– the best way to stop bullying is for bystanders to confront bullies and stop bullying episodes

– the best way to deal with cyberbullying is to keep kids off their phones and computers

– just ignore them, and they’ll leave you alone.  That’s the best strategy for dealing with bullies.

There is a degree of overlap between some of the myths, which means that there’s some repetition to some of the themes in the book.  It’s also US-centric (not surprising given that the author is American) and given the UK has more statutory underpinning on anti-bullying programmes, I’d be interested to know if it leads to any difference in results or the impact of bullying on young people.  That said, as someone who was badly bullied as a child, I found that Englander writes with a great degree of empathy and I particularly liked the way she acknowledges that if you have been bullied then it can colour how you view and respond to it as an adult and means you make presumptions about what younger people are going through. As such, I definitely think that this is worth a look if you’re an adult looking to be supportive to children and teens.   

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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