Summer bullies prey on the unfamiliar

July 26, 2012 at 11:25 PM
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DALLAS, July 26 (UPI) -- Bullying does not end when school lets out -- bullies can show up anywhere, from overnight summer camps to sporting events, a U.S. expert says.

Dr. Rashmi Shetgiri, a pediatrician at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas who has studied bullying patterns, said summer bullies exploit unfamiliar surroundings where a child might have no friends or know any other children or adults.

When a bully strikes, a child can feel vulnerable and unsure of where to get help, Shetgiri said.

Shetgiri offered the following tips for parents to help children avoid bullies:

-- Pick the right activity. Choose an activity or camp that a child enjoys and is good at. This will build self-confidence and help a child meet new friends with common interests.

-- Keep an eye on children's electronic media use. More time on the Internet or cellphone 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 a child knows he or she can confide in that person.

-- Both parent and child should know the bulling policy for the camp or activity.

-- Practice talking 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.

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