Anti-bullying Group Asks Families to Discuss Cyber-bullying

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An anti-bullying campaign that started in Wisconsin is asking parents around the world to have a chat with their children about cyber-bullying.

Be A Rooney was founded by a woman who became a victim of long-term bullying at school after reporting bullying that she had witnessed to a teacher. Her life was miserable until "one kid in the popular crowd" named Scott Rooney had the courage to act apart from the bullies and offer his support.

The founder said: "He was one kid in the popular crowd that decided he wasn't going to participate in making my life hell. He was nice to me. He walked with me to and from school every day. He talked to me, offered support and was just there to let me know not all people are bad. I'll never forget that kid."

The campaign was established in 2015 to raise awareness of bullying and urge children to "be Rooney" by reaching out and befriending victims of bullying.

"It's very important to know that one person can make that difference for a person being bullied," said the founder.

"Be the anchor that stops the person being bullied with their self-harming thoughts, feeling of hopelessness, and no self-worth. Be the person that encourages them, supports them and shows that not all people are bad! They are worth something and people love them! Be Like Scott Rooney!"

Speaking to Channel 3000 on April 23, Be A Rooney vice president Heather Williams said that cyber-bullying can be difficult to escape and have a damaging effect on young students.

“Cyber bullying is not just in one location, it’s everywhere,” said Williams. “It can create trauma, it can create grief, it can create anti-social behaviors.” 

Williams advised parents to discuss cyber-bullying with their children so that they can recognize it and act to combat it.

“Explain to them what cyber bullying looks like. Ask them questions.”

Julie Musgrove, associate principal at Northside Intermediate School in Milton, Wisconsin, said that while families are together in lockdown and many children are accessing education online, now was a good time for parents to broach the subject of cyber-bullying. 

"If they need resources, help, or support, this is the time to reach out,” said Musgrove.

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