Bullying has been around for ages, and some people say that it is a part of growing up. Some of the people from older generations say that is just kids being kids, but there is a difference between kids being mean and children bullying other children. “Bullying is a repeated aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power” (Catherine Jones- Hazledine and Heather Wilhelm). This abusive behavior can be physical, verbal, or emotional. Technology has also made it easier for bullies to further victimize children outside of school through social media (cyber bullying). Not much is kept private anymore, everything ends up on social media; therefore, rumors can easily be started and spread through the Internet. Children have become meaner, more aggressive and desensitized to violence. The article, “The Psychological Effects of Violent Media on Children” states, “The Academy of Pediatrics says ‘“More than one thousand scientific studies and reviews conclude that significant exposure to media violence increases the risk of aggressive behavior in certain children, desensitizes them to violence and makes them believe that the world is a ‘meaner and scarier’ place than it is”’ (Tompkins and Dr. Heffner). Movies, the media, social media, and video games glorify bullies and make them look strong, “cool” and popular, while being the victim is seen as weak, uncool, and unpopular. Then there is the problem of the kids who choose to be the bystanders and usually videotape and post the attacks of bullies on social media, because it is the “cool” thing to do, or they don’t intervene because they don’t want to become another target of the bully. Bullying is not something to be over looked or dismissed as kids being kids. Bullying needs to be taken seriously by all of us because it can have serious long-lasting effects on the victims, and on the aggressor. The website stopbullying.org states that some of the effects on the victims can be depression, anxiety, poor performance in school, loss of interest in things that they might have loved, suicide, and in some extreme cases they can resort to extreme violent measures. “In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). We all have loved ones and if it is in our power to keep them safe we all should. Recently, there have been more and more reports about children committing suicide because can’t take the continuous abuse, and the only solution they see is to cut their life short. Most people us are shocked after hearing something these reports, but we quickly move on with our lives because it doesn’t directly affect us. We never stop to think that this can happen to one of our loved ones. Well what if it does? Will we still say that it’s just kids being kids, and brush it off? How quickly will we move on with our lives after seeing our child hurt, or lifeless? According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, 1 out of 5 students report being bullied. But there are other children that do not report their abuse. This issue should be taken personal. Bullying is a serious matter and it can have long lasting effects on the victim and aggressor. It is up to us to act and involved in preventing our loved ones from falling victims to bullying and to demand serious consequences for bullying behavior.
There are several preventative strategies to help our loved ones from being bullied. These include engaging with our child, being a role model, getting educated, building a community of support, being consistent, empowering bystanders, and working with the bully (Legg and Wolfson). We all lead very busy lives but there should always be time to talk to our loved ones. Setting the example by treating people kindly, kids are constantly observing. Getting involved in the children’s school, communicating with teachers, and becoming familiar with the school’s anti-bullying policy. Working within your community to ensure that bullying policies are enforced, and that these policies are fair to every student. Another option is enrolling children in self-defense classes. These classes not only teach the student defend themselves but also, they also teach them be mentally aware and preventative tactics to stop violent behavior before it happens (Sethna).
Although there are consequences for bullying behavior, the problem is lack of enforcement. In article by Legal Match it states, “In most cases, a victim of bullying needs to show that they suffered definite harm as a result of the bullying”. This means that the children need show signs physical abuse and/or have their property stolen in order to file criminal charges. But it should not be this difficult, and it should not have to or get to that point. The school staff should be better trained deal with bullying situations and there should be harsher consequences for repeat offenders. One of these should be imposing fines to the bully’s parents every time the child engages in bullying behavior, and it should include kids that are taking video and posting on social media and bystanders. If the fines aren’t paid, then the child cannot return to school. This will hurt the parents pocket and hold the aggressor’s accountable. Now for some parents paying fine might not hurt them at all, but those are usually hurt when you waste their time. They should sit with their child in school for a few days and the time should increase if the child continues to bully others. That will surely be a wake-up call as to how serious the issue is. There should also be mandated therapy for the bully and the victim. The parents of the children should also be required to attend parenting classes, if teachers need to be trained on bullying situations these parents need to be trained as well. This will help the parents of the aggressor and the victim help their child better manage their emotions. Implementing these policies, or consequences would hold everyone accountable, and make for a safer environment for children to do what is intended to at school, learn.
The consequences are might sound severe, but what is more severe is a child committing suicide because of constant harassment. And us as a community not demanding enforcement of harsher consequences for this abusive behavior. No child should ever have to feel that the only solution to their constant abuse is cutting their life short. It is up to all of us to act and keep our loved ones safe and hold people accountable. We need to take a proactive approach and help avoid tragedies, instead of being reactive to them. This obviously hasn’t helped us thus far.
Legal Match. Are There Any Legal Consequences for Bullying in Schools? 2007. https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/bullying-in-schools.html?intakeredesigned=1. 02 February 2018.
This website provides information about laws that involve bullying and what it would take to bring criminal or civil charges against bullies. This website was referenced to illustrate how difficult it can be to bring charges to those that choose to engage in this behavior. Therefore, bullying policies is not always enforced.
Legg, Timothy J. PhD CRNP and Elijah Wolfson. How to Stop Bullying in Schools. 28 August 2014. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-bullying. 02 February 2018.
This article has information regarding strategies on preventing bullying. This article was refenced to give examples of strategies that we can implement in order to help stop or diminish bullying and bullying behavior.
Sethna, Emrald. Why Self-Defense Should Be Taught In All Schools. 03 May 2016. https://www.theodysseyonline.com/why-self-defense-should-be-taught-in-all-schools. 02 February 2018.
This article explains the reasons why it would benefit schools should teach self-defense. Empowering students to know how to defend themselves would help reduce bullying. This was referenced because this could be an example of what parents can do to help prevent their child from becoming a victim.
Tompkins, Aimee and Christopher L. Dr. Heffner. “All Psych.” 14 December 2013. https://allpsych.com/journal/violentmedia/. website. 02 February 2018.
This article talks about the effect that violence in the media, social networks, and video games can cause children to become more aggressive. This article was used as a refence because of evidence that studies that were done show that children are more likely to engage bullying behavior.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. StopBullying.gov. 2017. https://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/effects/index.html. 03 February 2018.
This website has statistics about causes and effects of bullying. The information in this webpage was referenced because it proves that bullying can have long-lasting effects on children that can lead to tragedies or mass shootings.