Writer’s Name: S.F. Hardy
Title: Stop Bullying: It Hurst Everybody
Bullying is not a recent or even unknown issue facing school age children. However, the methods in which bullying takes place, as well as the results and reactions of the victims and consequences have evolved throughout the years. One would think that with time bullying would have decreased, but it has only grown into a larger problem forcing society to acknowledge it in attempts to admonish the not so nice behaviors.
“Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose,” according to Stop Bullying, a government website dedicated to the deterrence, prevention, and ending of bullying.
As a result of the soaring numbers of bullying in Michigan, the state has mandated that schools erupt and/or revise anti-bullying policies. According to the Huffington Post, as of June 2012, “413 of Michigan's 862 school districts and charters schools have submitted their anti-bullying policies.”
The Detroit Free Press reports “A Pew Research Center study conducted in 2011 found 88% of young people who use social media reported seeing others being “mean or cruel” on social networking sites.” Cyber Bullying has become very prevalent in the past few years and is just as harmful, if not more, than physical bullying. Cyber bullying too often leads to physical altercations including: fights, attempted suicide, and murder. Cyber tormentors use digital media such as social networks like: Facebook and MySpace to harass their victims. Text messages and e-mails are also platforms used to pursue unwanted havoc. Just recently, I witnessed a drive by shooting that followed a group of girls arguing in the middle of the street, hitting cars with hammers, while bystanders stood by and encouraged the negative behavior. Sadly, one of the provokers was shot. But not before the police was called to the scene by a concerned neighbor who had the foresight to know what would take place. When it was all said and done, it was divulged that the impetus of the shooting was over a festering Facebook torment.
Like all things, there is a first step to prevention and ceasing of bullying. In this case acknowledging that bullying exists on both large and small scales is paramount to dealing with the problem. Realization that no one is exempt from being bullied is the next step. Developing ways to prevent bullying on the home front as well as in institutions is another step that must be taken to alleviate a society of bullying. Parents, educators, medical professionals, neighbors and celebrities alike must come together in the name of prevention and ending the cyclical behavior of bullying.
Learn the warning signs of the bully and the bullied. No parent wants to learn that their child is a bully or that they are being bullied. However, in efforts to prevent either, parents must be armed with the knowledge that bullying is taking place.
Signs that a Child is Being Bullied (StopBullying.com)
Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
Signs that a Child is Bullying Others (StopBullying.com)
Get into physical or verbal fights
Have friends who bully others
Are increasingly aggressive
Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
Blame others for their problems
Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity
The mere fact that most of us have been bullied should be motivation enough to aid in the prevention at all cost. Children are being hurt senselessly while many adults turn a blind eye. Bullying is a big deal and it is not to be ignored or it will be perceived as acceptable tolerable behavior. Children must look to adults to model their behavior after, so this means all adults are responsible for changing the unwanted behaviors we see the children of our future exhibiting. After all, children who are bullies that go unchecked grow into adult bullies that will have a profound effect on all of us. Bullying also leads to unhealthy conditions and behaviors such as mental health and substance abuse issues.
As adults, we must first display healthy behaviors that we want children to exhibit. We cannot teach them not to bully and we display behavior the spells bullying. We must also open the dialogue to bullying early on, emphasizing that those who bully do so because they don’t feel good about themselves. Children must also be armed with realistic coping skills. And help for the victims as well as the tormentors such as sensitivity training and efficacy building, should be available within various community organizations.
For more information on bullying visit: