Keep your kids safe from bullies

Thousands of children miss school everyday due to fear of bullying

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It's estimated that 160,000 kids miss school every day due to fear of bullying, but it doesn't just stop at school. By age 23, children who were bullied in middle school were more depressed and had lower self-esteem than their peers who weren't bullied. And of those young bullies, 1 in 4 will go to jail by age 30.

There are things you can do to keep your kids safe. First, create a buddy system. Pair your child up with an older friend or a group. A study in the U.K. found students who had close peer support systems were more likely to report bullying incidents.

Next, empower your kids. Children are often too embarrassed or afraid to tell adults about bullying. Practice what he or she can say if they're bullied or how to report a situation to an adult.

Finally, watch out for cyberbullies. Save all evidence of cyber bullying --don't delete it without keeping a copy for yourself. Don't respond to rude messages and don't share personal pictures or information online or through texts.

A couple other cyber tips: protect your username and password. Don't share it with friends and don't post anything online that you wouldn't mind your parents seeing. One report found about 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others.

For information, stories and resources on bullying, visit  PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center.

Copyright 2012 by Ivanhoe Broadcast News and All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.