When I was a kid, bullying was prevalent, but did not have to force it does now during the age of cell phones, the internet and social media. If you were being bullied, your home was your safe haven, by the time you got back to school things had the opportunity to cool off. Now, kids are plugged in all the time and can start bullying campaigns through texting, and social media, meaning bullying never stops.
As an adult, working in schools, I have seen how bullying has evolved to the super force it is today. Now, kids come into school at 8:00am with extreme tension. When I was a kid, you had all night at home to decompress, now you are bullied on the internet or kids spend all night planning how to bully someone the following day. I have seen kids set up fake profiles to target lonely students, making them think they have a love interest and then use it to torment them. There is not peace for these kids, no respite from the constant abuse from their peers, and sometimes their educators.
This is why it takes a village. Educators can no longer take the position that it is the parents' job to prevent bullying. There is no "shake hands and make up," the bully needs to be held accountable, as well as their parents. No more telling a child who is being bullied to just ignore it. It is not like our day, where you had a better chance of doing that. Bullying is full time in this day and age, there is no "take the higher road" when you are in the height of adolescence, faced with so many changes already, adding to that abuse from your peers.
Teachers, stand up! Reward children who stand up for bullying and empower those being bullied by reminding them what makes them great! And get to the heart of the bullies behavior, because nine times out of ten, it isn't just because they are "bad kids," find where they are hurting and help them heal as well. Parents, stand up! Teach your children that even if you aren't a bully, watching someone be bullied without doing something to help is just as bad! Show them that it is "cool" to be nice! Kids, help each other. You don't have to be friends with someone to be kind to them. Sometimes a smile and a "hey," to someone that you don't normally talk to is enough to make someone who doesn't really fit in, feel better.
My parents taught me that I am special, but that doesn't mean that I am better than anyone else. I will raise my daughter to stand up to Bullies for herself and those around her! We are all responsible when it comes to this issue, let's make a change!
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