Summer bullies prey on others' vulnerability, unfamiliar surroundings

Bullying does not end just because school is out for summer.

Bullies can show up anywhere, from overnight camps to sporting events. When a bully strikes, a child can feel vulnerable and unsure of where to get help.

Dr. Rashmi Shetgiri, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center who has studied bullying patterns, offers the following tips to make this a bully-free summer for children:

  • Pick the right activity. Choose an activity or camp that your child enjoys and is good at. This will build self-confidence and help your child meet new friends with common interests.
  • Pay attention. Keep an eye on your child’s electronic media use. More time on the internet or cell phone can mean more opportunities to be bullied or to bully someone.
  • Identify adults who can help. Traveling to camp means being away from parents, sometimes for the first time. Before camp begins, identify a trustworthy adult and make sure your child knows that he or she can confide in that person.
  • Know the rules. Make sure you know the bullying policy for the camp or activity that your child is participating in.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Talk to kids ahead of time about what to do if someone starts bullying them. They should practice what they will say, what they will do, and who they will tell.

Visit to learn more about pediatric clinical services at UT Southwestern.

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