Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bullying: it's not just a school yard problem anymore

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Everyone has experienced bullying, either been a victim, a bystander, or even the aggressor. Bullying is not just a school yard problem. It carries over into adulthood and can be seen in the workplace and on social media. Bullying is not just a parent’s problem, it is a societal problem, a problem that we should all care about and take notice.


Bullying is described as unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated. This behavior includes making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Victims are often singled out due to race, ethnicity, religion affiliation, sexual orientation, or physical or learning disabilities.


The rise of technology has led to the rise of cyberbully. Cyberbullying includes the use of internet anonymity to send offensive photos, images or threating comments. It can also be hacking into someone’s online account and sending or posting inappropriate and embarrassing messages, videos and photos without consent. The statistics of cyberbullying is scary. 1 in 3 teens will experience some form of cyberthreats. Over 25% of teens will experience repeated cyberbullying. Over 50% of teens won’t tell their parents. Over 50% of teens will be bullied online. About 50% of teens will engage in some form of cyberbullying (source of statistics from thebullyproject.com). 


The BULLY Project is a social action campaign which has been inspired by the award winning documentary, BULLY. The goal is to stop bullying and changing the culture of bullying. I highly recommend seeing the documentary, BULLY. The website, thebullyproject.com, had great resources for parents, teachers, and students about how to recognize bullying and how to help stop it from happening.


In conclusion, over the last two years, a number of news stories from the United States and Europe have featured a teenager who was bullied so much online, in school and in their neighborhoods that they took their own lives. Even one suicide is too many. We need to step up and stop this type of abuse. No one deserves to be treated with such disrespect and words so cruel that could harm any soul. Please if you are being bullied, seek help. Talk to a teacher, an adult or your parents. Parents need to teach their children to treat all people with respect. If you see bullying happening, please don’t be a bystander and let it happen. Step in and defend or tell someone who can. Together we can stop bullying! 


In loving memory:
We will never forget
Rebecca Sewick, 12 years old,
Amanda Todd, 15 years old,
Ciara Pugsley, 15 years old,
Erin and Shannon Gallagher, sisters, 13 and 15 years old
Jessica Laney, 16 years old
Anthony Stubbs, 16 years old
Joshua Unsworth, 15 years old
Daniel Perry, 17 years old

Hannah Smith, 14 years old