Bullying has been around since the dawn of man. Of course, back then it was not known as bullying. I’m pretty sure that’s how the more aggressive cave man got enough food to eat from the weaker, less aggressive one. No matter what you call it, intentional, persistent, and aggressive behavior is wrong.
Bullying is such a heart breaking problem; Defined as aggressive behavior that’s persistent, intentional, and involves an imbalance of strength or power. I would guess at some point in time we’ve all experienced some degree of bullying. Not only do children get bullied but adults can be bullied as well. Here I would like to focus more on children. Bullying includes everything from being threatened or physically assaulted to being called derogatory names or being ostracized. I also believe that bullying can be a subtle thing and the victim may not realize it until the damage is done. Bullying is a lot like a bad cut. Even after it heals, the scar is there for life. People that have been bullied usually remember it their whole lives. The scar is always there even when you cover it up.
In the past the children and teens who were bullied were seen as the victims of harmless teasing and pranks. Bullying was called a “rite of passage.” Parents would tell their kids to “turn the other cheek” or children would chant “sticks and stones will break my bones but names can never harm me!” We now know that couldn’t be farthest from the truth. Words are very damaging. Those words the bully used on their victim can stick with that child for a lifetime. Bullying is very damaging to the self-esteem of anyone, child or adult.
Today bullying has become a bigger problem than ever before for children and their families. The problem is so out of control that kids are actually taking their own lives! This is a terrible, heart wrenching fact. Today there are more ways to bully someone with all of our modern technology. Cyber bullying is a modern way for bullies to have access to their victims. We now live in a total online, connected world where there are laptops, cell phones, gaming devices, iPads, etc. each able to access content from the Internet and just as easy to upload images, video or words. It’s easier than ever for a bully to send malicious emails to numerous recipients spreading rumors, or posting photos that are altered, without permission. What gets out into cyberspace can never be fully erased.
The consequences of being bullied can be severe. Many victims have suffered from life long depression and have even committed suicide. According to one study, 60% of those who were the bullies committed one criminal act by the time they were 24. It’s clear to see that early intervention for both victim and bullies is a must.
Cyber bullying has become a prevalent form of bullying and is difficult to track and even more difficult to punish. No longer does a bully have to be the boldest, toughest kid in the neighborhood, school, or the playground at the park, now they can be faceless entities from the comfort of their own home, away from adults, and often doing things anonymously. Children who were victims of bullying in the past could run home and find refuge away from school or the park playground. Today home is no longer free from bullies. Again, the internet, cell phones, and even devices such as headsets to Xbox 360’s sitting right in the living room can be used by bullies to attack their victims.
What is very important is to know the signs of bullying, weather your child is being bullied or doing the bullying.
Here are just a few warning signs your child may be BEING bullied:
Loss of interest in school and extracurricular activities.
Avoiding school with frequent complaints of illness.
Unexplained cuts, bruises, or scratches.
Seems sad, moody, or depressed.
Loss of sleep or appetite.
Low self esteem.
These are a few of the warning signs your child may be the ones doing the bullying;
Positive views towards violence.
Often aggressive towards adults.
A marked need to control and dominate others and situations.
Hot tempered, impulsive, and easily frustrated.
Will often test limits and break rules.
Shows little sympathy towards others who are bullied.
These are just a few of the warning signs. I am not an expert on bullying but having been bullied myself, in the past as a child, I know firsthand the devastating outcome. I feel we are headed in the right direction to eradicate bullying once and for all in some schools. Schools are teaching tolerance and kindness more than ever before. The old saying holds a lot of truth “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” If it was only that easy.
It’s very sad how bullying has gotten so out of control and lives are being so damaged and lost. The good news is that society is taking steps to educate about the damaging effects of bullying. According to the American Justice Department, one in four students is bullied. That’s why schools are buckling down and implementing programs to stop bullies in their tracks!
Words by Glenda photos by Brian