Back to school raises concerns about bullying

Click to play video: 'Back to school: How to protect your kids from bullies' Back to school: How to protect your kids from bullies
WATCH: Bullying can be a major concern for kids heading back to class. Catherine Urquhart has more on how to spot it - and what parents can do to help their children – Sep 2, 2019

The consequences of bullying are sometimes devastating and every parent wants to know what they can do to protect their child.

Ashley Miller, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at B.C. Children’s Hospital, says parents should be alert to any red flags.

READ MORE: ‘They knew he was dying’: Father of Langley teen overdose victim wants bystanders charged

“Kids who are being bullied can show signs that are very similar to other situations, other types of anxiety,” Miller said. “With younger kids, it may be stomach aches or saying they don’t want to go to school, or they don’t like a certain friend. Teens may also show signs of anxiety, problems sleeping or they may even just throw their phone in the garbage. ” coverage of Carson Crimeni

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What can parents do?

Miller has the following suggestions for parents:

  • Have regular discussions with your child about what they’re doing online
  • When your child gets a device, make it part of the agreement that you will be monitoring their content
  • Let them know they have the power to block someone who is bothering them.
  • When bullying occurs, preserve any evidence so that it can be taken to school administrators, or police if necessary.

The recent death of Carson Crimeni in Langley involved some kids recording him overdosing.

The video, which has circulated on social media, shows Crimeni high on drugs at the Walnut Grove Skateboard Park.

READ MORE: ‘It’s so wrong’: Family, peers call for justice in apparent overdose death of Langley teen

As the Grade 9 student twitches, bugs out his eyes and slurs his speech, a group of teens surrounding him can be heard laughing while music plays in the background. His condition appears to worsen as the video goes on.

Miller says parents and educators need to encourage kids to be “upstanders.”

READ MORE: Petition calls for skateboard park to be named after Langley teen who died of apparent overdose

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“People may take out their phones to film it but [what] we want to teach kids to do is to be ‘upstanders,’ not bystanders. If even one child stands up and says, ‘Hey, this is not the right thing to do,’ or goes to help the child or teen who is being bullied or victimized, that changes the dynamic. It can actually stop the incident of bullying.”

Nancy Smith, the Youth Diversity Liaison for the Surrey School District, says another critical piece is needed to end the bullying cycle.

“We need to help support the victim of bullying, but we also need to support the person that’s perhaps doing the bullying.”

— With files from Sean Boynton

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