One out of every five students reported being bullied in 2016, according to the National Bullying Prevention Center.
My fellow advocates, like you, I too have noticed that the progress of the anti-bullying movement is slow. I hear other advocates ask such questions as, “When are people going to wake up and realize that bullying is a REAL issue?”, “When are people going to begin caring about this epidemic, which seems to be poisoning today’s learning environment’s for children?” or “When are school officials going to start taking care of these bullied children, who are hurting?”
I know how you all feel because I, myself have asked the same questions.
Yes. Progress is slow. Yes. Most people, especially school officials, could care less. However, I want you all to know that, although slow, progress is being made and the movement is growing. I can see that it’s growing. Gradually, more and more people are opening their eyes and realizing that bullying is an issue that needs to be dealt with and simply cannot be ignored. Therefore, we are making headway. But understand that change won’t happen overnight.
No cause fought for in the history of this country was ever well received by the majority in it’s infancy. It will take time, persistence, hard work and determination. Remember that the same went for “The Women’s Suffrage Movement” during the late 19th century, “The Civil Rights Movement” during the 1960’s and other causes through the years. It took several years for these causes to build momentum and eventually bring about positive change, but it eventually came to fruition. The Anti-Bullying Movement will be no different.
Though it may look hopeless at times, to get to the top of the mountain, we will have to walk through several valleys first. But be assured that if we all work together and persist, even in the face of adversity and ignorance, we will see change. I am certain of it.
There will come a time when the proper laws will finally be passed and children of all ages, races, creeds, orientations, beliefs, religions and backgrounds will be able to learn in a safe and secure environment…free to be and express themselves without fear of ridicule or physical harm.
Until then, we must never get discouraged but continue to fight for safety and justice for bullied children and teens. If we continue on with faith and hard work, change will happen. I guarantee it. It has to because we won’t give up until it does!
Today, I want to discuss bullying in the 21st century- cyber bullying.
I’m fortunate enough to have grown up in a time when cyber bullying was unheard of. When I was in school, “Street Bullying” or “Playground Bullying” was the type of bullying targets of my generation endured.
“Street Bullying” happens face to face. It happens on the playground, in the hallways, the bathrooms and locker rooms at school. Years ago, a student could escape it and have some form of refuge once the dismissal bell rang and school was over for the day. And when it got too much to endure, the victim simply changed schools and the problem was solved.
Sadly, those days are long gone. With today’s technology, bullies have unlimited access to their targets by way of “Cyber-bullying”. During the last twenty years, the advancement of technology has introduced email, text and social media. These new vehicles of communication have their benefits. However, they also have their pitfalls.
A bully can nowadays get online and torment their targets for as long as they want without ceasing nor accountability. They can, in essence, reach into the target’s own home and torment them from afar.
Cyber-bullying, or online bullying, is harassment of another person with the use of social media, text messages, voice mail, email and instant messages. It is, in my opinion, the worst kind of bullying there has ever been. Here are the reasons:
- Bullies are COWARDS!
Your attackers have the ability to hide behind a fake screen name or they may create fake social media accounts to conceal their identities. They do this to avoid detection and the risk of accountability for their evil actions. With a cyberbully, you do not know who is attacking you. Also, they can use several different screen names to make it look like a multitude of people agree with them and are attacking you, when it may be, in fact, only one poster committing the harassment. This is done to further intimidate the target.
- Gone are the days when bullying only occurred on the playground or in the locker room. In the days of old, before technology took off, a target could finally escape their tormentors with the ringing of the dismissal bell at school.
Back then, you could go home to your family and not have to worry about being bullied again until the next school day. You could at least get a break from the torment. However, not so anymore. Technology has a lot of good qualities, one of which is convenience. Unfortunately, nothing is 100% foolproof. With the rise of social media, text, voice mail, and email, bullies can now pursue their targets 24-7. There is no longer an escape!
- The third reason why cyber-bullying is much worse than traditional or street bullying is because the taunts, insults, threats, rumors and lies can be read by a much wider audience, causing loss of relationships, family, friends, businesses, finances, and opportunities.
On the emotional side, the target may experience feelings of shock, bewilderment, anger, sadness, despair, depression, hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide.
Traditional bullying is terrible and causes those feelings as well. However, it is something that you can get away from. On the other hand, you can never escape cyber-bullying. This alone is what makes this type of bullying so sinister and so devastating!
If you are a victim of cyber-bullying, it is imperative that you do not respond to the incendiary posts of cyber-bullies, no matter how tempting it may be. However, I realize that some attacks, especially those, which hit you in the jugular, can cause you to respond out of emotion. This does not mean that you are a bad person for responding to attacks. It does not mean that you are stupid. It only means that you are a human being with feelings and our first instinct is always to defend ourselves and our loved ones when threatened. It is completely understandable.
But no matter what our circumstances may be, we must try to never respond to the ignorance and stupidity of bullies or cyber-bullies. As difficult as this may be, it is better to never give internet trolls what they want. And what they want is a response, any response. They want to kick you while you are already down and inflict even more pain. If you respond in any way, shape or form, they will know that they have reached their goal. But if they never hear from you, it’s going to disappoint them and they just might give up and move on to someone else.
Cyber-bullying can happen to people of any age. Not only children and teens, but adults can also be cyber-bullied. Although as an adult, I have gotten along with mostly everyone, there have been a few times that I have been cyber-bullied, one instance being right after the death of my husband. I can tell you that after refusing to respond to any of it, the harassment died and the thread was eventually removed. No one has bothered me since.
Also, in their weak attempts to put me down, my cyber-bullies unwittingly made me so many new friends and I received so much support from all over the country. It is amazing how the actions of a bully can sometimes turn into something wonderful. I will be forever grateful to the people (even strangers) who stood beside me during this tragic time. I hope this helps you in the event that you are cyber-attacked. And I want to assure you that there is always hope, no matter how hopeless a situation may be.
Cyber-bullying can be stressful enough on adults, but devastating for minors. Adults are emotionally better equipped and therefore, more adept at handling themselves in bullying situations, whereas children and teens have yet to fully develop good coping mechanisms.
Children do not have the cognitive thinking skills, nor the processing ability that adults possess. Adults can be hurt by online bullying because they are human and have feelings also. However, any well-rounded adult is better able to look at the situation and see the lies posted online for exactly what they are…LIES. And they have the ability to analyze the bully and see the person as he/she is- useless trash who is in desperate need of a life. And that in itself can actually be a boost to the bullied adult’s self-esteem…just knowing what a bottom-of-the-barrel, miserable piece of garbage the bully really is. In most cases, an adult can usually laugh it off and go on about their business, provided it doesn’t affect his/her family, marriage, business, opportunities, or way of life. An adult can refuse to accept the lies of another bullying adult and tell them to go blow it out their ear.
A child has not learned to do that yet. Children and teenagers have totally different values than adults. While most “mature” adults place the most value on family, career, and home and less value on popularity; children and teens place the most value on popularity…their friends and being accepted. Most children and teens place emphasis on how others (mainly their peers) see them. They want to fit in, be liked, and be “cool”. And when those things are threatened, as they always are when he/she is cyber-attacked, it can have devastating effects on self-esteem.
As parents and grandparents, we need to teach our children confidence as confidence is the best weapon against a bully. In my opinion, teaching confidence is the most effective way to protect them because bullies are cowards and they always seek out kids who are insecure, self-conscious, and have low self-esteem. And they do this because they know that a child with low self-esteem is less likely to stand up to them.
Have a wonderful day!
In Part II of “The Reality Behind Reality Shows”. I feel compelled to discuss how these shows get their ratings to give parents who permit their children to watch them, a better understanding of what subliminal messages their child may be receiving.
Sadly, reality shows which receive the highest ratings also have the highest incidences of peer abuse or most commonly called, bullying. Peer abusers (bullies) love drama and are drawn to it like flies to feces! Bullying brings drama…always! The more altercations and confrontations a reality show displays for viewers, the more drama it brings. More drama means the show is more interesting to viewers. The more interesting the show, the more views the show gets and the higher the ratings that show receives.
Also, the more drama a certain reality star brings to a show (usually by bullying others on the show), the higher the show is rated and in return, the higher the star is rated by producers of the show and network executives…all because he/she brings the most drama. For a reality star, this not only guarantees them a spot on the show’s next season, but also much higher pay, with producers and execs offering the bullying star hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars! This equals great rewards for bullies on the show…rewarding and encouraging despicable behavior! Think Teresa Guidice, “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, or Nene Leakes, “Real Housewives of Atlanta”.
In my opinion, both of these women, who are in their 40’s and 50’s, have shown some of the most queen bee, mean girl behavior of anyone on television. Should they even qualify as stars??? I don’t know about anyone else, but in my opinion, watching women in this age group display such girl’s room/locker room antics is sickening and an embarrassment to my generation of women!
This behavior is unbecoming of women of any age but looks even worse coming from women of middle age, whom you would think would be a better example to younger females
I believe that parents need to sit down with children and explain that just because reality shows make bullying look glamorous does not mean that bullying is okay. Bullying is anything but glamorous…especially to victims.
Sadly, high ratings for these shows speak volumes about the society we live in today…that the bulk of society apparently has an insatiable appetite for trash. It is glaring proof that in the eyes of a vast majority, crap is KING! It shouldn’t be any wonder that bullying and peer abuse is so rampant globally today!
Parents and grandparents must either forbid kids to watch these types of reality shows, or, if they permit them to watch it, they must also explain to the children that just because a certain behavior is shown on television, does not mean it is acceptable in real life. We must also stop prioritizing petty and poor values, one of which is the misguided belief that being the most popular, liked, or toughest kid on the block is what life’s all about.
Have a great day, everyone!
A thought occurred to me recently: Reality shows and the present epidemic of bullying.
I believe that one of the reasons that bullying has become so out of control in our schools is because of the overabundance of reality shows on television, which seem to glorify and glamorize the abuse of others.
Shows like, “Bad Girls Club”, Jersey Shore (which I think are the absolute worst), and The Real Housewives franchise, are shows in which people as old as their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s act like middle schoolers in a locker room brawl. Grown men and women, whom you would think would have a modicum of maturity, often resort to name-calling, bashing others, and yes…even hair-pulling, shoving, punching and kicking.
When I see this, a question always comes to mind: “What kind of example and message are these shows and their stars sending our children and teenagers?”
It’s true that violence has been shown on TV and in movies for decades. However, before reality shows were heard of, TV was not real and kids of my generation understood because our parents never let us forget it. We knew that what we were seeing was only actors playing the parts of fictional characters in fictional shows. Moreover, we were taught not to try anything we saw on TV in real life because it would put us at risk of getting hurt and/or worse. We grew up with the understanding that, “It’s only a television series” or “It’s just a movie” and none of it was real.
Sadly, as television networks slowly run out of ideas for fictional shows and reality shows gradually take over the airwaves, TV is becoming less fictional (and interesting) and is sending the message to kids that bullying is okay, or that you have to be a bully in order to move up in the world…that to get ahead, you have to step over another person. This is WRONG!
Most of the biggest reality stars are lousy role models!
My next post will be Part II of my “Reality Behind Reality Shows” subject, where I will give a more in-depth discussion about reality shows, the bullying epidemic, how these shows get their ratings, and why high ratings seem to equal rewards for despicable behavior. Have an awesome day, everyone.
Every US President, from Kennedy to Reagan to Clinton, from Bush, Obama to Trump, they all had bullies and enemies. They all had people who talked bad about them, they all had “haters”, with Clinton and Trump, being perhaps the two worst talked-about presidents. And the thing is, these presidents were considered “highly successful” and “exceptional” people. They had to be to hold such esteemed positions as President of the United States of America.
This should be proof that anytime someone says negative things about you, or bullies you, that it really is NOT about you. If such high ranking officials get verbally assaulted everyday, even by the news media, then you must know that everyone…EVERYONE has people who hate them. And because they get bullied, doesn’t mean they are in any way defective.
Remember that bullies want you to believe that you are less than and want to convince others of this too. It is no different in Washington, DC anytime an election rolls around or when a new president takes office. It’s like this with all office holders. The difference is that they “choose” not to let any of it bring them down and they go on to do their jobs as they see fit, despite having a barrage of the most malicious insults and criticism thrown in their directions.
The moral of this is: If presidents get bullied and they’re able to see through the lies and know their own worth, then naturally, you should too. You are not a wimp, crazy, loser or whatever they call you. Presidents have been called the worst names in the English Language, yet they still know their value and kept pushing their agendas because they know in their hearts that they are neither of these things. You can be the richest, most successful, most beautiful, and most awesome and still have people who look down on you. Therefore, you should know also that YOU…are not what your bullies call you. You don’t have to change for anyone. Stay your true, awesome self! You’re worth it!