NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s almost time for summer camp for kids around the tri-state area.
As you pack and plan for the perfect summer, there’s a conversation you may want to have about bullying.
As CBS2’s Emily Smith explained, one in three kids report being bullied during the school year and summer camp isn’t exempt, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
That’s why bullying expert Karl Romain said campers of any age need to have a plan before heading out.
“Prepare your child. If your child is bullied they should know how to handle themselves,” Romain said.
Romain suggested sitting down with your child for a conversation on how to avoid becoming a victim.
“You need to make sure specifically that you explain to your kids that bullying is a persistent teasing, an action that can be physical,” he said.
He said if that happens a child should know to try to resolve it directly by talking it out. If that doesn’t work, going to a camp counselor should be the next step.
Guidance counselor Sally Merkowitz said most kids who are bullied at camp don’t know what to do next. If they’re sleeping over, you might not know anything is wrong, so it’s crucial to speak to them beforehand.
“Let them know who you can talk to, who would you talk to, if you feel you need to call me then go ahead and call me and I will talk to who needs to be talked to,” she said.
If your child has any history at all with bullying, Romain highly recommends calling the camp to ask how counselors address the issue, and how campers are supervised between activities.
Children going to day camps are just as susceptible to bullying, but might not always want to tell you what’s going on.
Experts said to look for changes in behavior like sadness or anger.
Romain said suicide is the third leading cause of death among kids who are bullied.
“About 4,400 kids per year commit suicide,” he said.
Romain said a bully is less likely to pick on a child who’s confident. He said that starts with teaching kids to make eye contact and stand up straight.
Experts said once you establish a dialogue with your child, it’s less likely they’ll try to keep anything potentially harmful from you.