Bullying online hurts too

I watched a movie the other day and this little girl in the movie said, “isn’t it funny the word ‘school’ rhymes with ‘cruel’?”.  Hmmm.  Most bullying seems to take place in school because for one thing, they’re still just children, and secondly they are all trying to pull rank on each other (meaning, who’s the big dog, since it seems to be bully or be bullied).  I was also bullied when I was in school, but that turned around pretty quick when they noticed I fought back.  I’ll spare you the details, but I was bullied and I bullied back both physically and verbally.  They both hurt, and even as adults, and in business, there is a lot of bullying out there, so it’s not just in school with kids.  However, if we teach our children while they are young that bullying is wrong, hopefully they will carry these traits with them into their adult life.

(video removed from YouTube)

I think almost everyone knows about Amanda, in the video above.  She made this YouTube video with her long story about how she tried dealing with bullying until she killed herself.  Sure, she made a mistake but the bullying didn’t have to continue.  What most kids do is they tend to go with the flow.  Basically, they figure if they laugh along with the bully and bully along side with them, they won’t be a target for bullying themselves.  Well, that maybe true and an interesting tactic, but it’s wrong.  They don’t have to be brave and stand up for the person being bullied, but they should not take part in it if they know it’s wrong.  The bully is doing it to get attention for themselves, and if no one shows any interest in him/her, they will lose interest and walk away.

Bullying can take place in person but with the Internet and social media, it happens now via Facebook, Twitter, online games, and texting on their cell phones.  I think everyone knows all it takes is a few short words that can be written via text, a nickname is created and all they have to do is text that nickname, or upload pictures that imply that nickname and it can spread like wildfire real fast.

Parents, need to realize that kids are conflicted a lot of times.  They have a friend, they get their cell number, become Facebook friends, etc. then something goes wrong, they share personal information with other bullies, even if your child unfriends that friend in Facebook for example, things can still be written about them, and then when they go to school everyone is laughing behind their back.  Next thing you know, everyone in the school has their cell number, and starts texting hurtful comments.  Your child might not know what to do, or like in Amanda’s case, she just wanted to move on rather than report problems and get back at anyone.  The problem is the bullies followed Amanda even when she left her town and school, more than once.  Parents need to monitor their children for signs of being bullied and talk about it and find a resolution quickly.  Talk to their teachers, principal, their friends.  Call a meeting with their friends parents.  Whatever you can do to learn more about the situation and defuse it at the early stages.

What gets me is that I’m almost certain that bullying will never stop, even if there are 100 more suicides close in their own local neighbourhood.  It’s a shame, but what I believe we can do, is encourage others to stand up for anyone they see being bullied, become their friend and stand up to the bullies together.  I believe this can happen, and even though bullying itself may never stop happening, we can control it by getting participation from all other students.  Maybe I’m wrong, hopefully I’m wrong, and we can actually STOP bullying once and for all.

What can parents do?
With social media, it’s easier than even to be bullied, but it’s also never been easier to monitor what’s being said about your child online.  Get a Facebook account and become friends with your child to watch their activity, check their cell phone texts if they have a phone, and sign up for Google Alerts and type in your childs name.  This way every time your childs name is mentioned online, you will receive an email about it.  How cool is that?

If your child knows you are monitoring their online activity and covering their tracks, you’ll have to go into ‘stealth mode’.  😉  Create a fake online ID, friend them online and they’ll have no clue it is you watching them.  Just be careful not to blow your cover to early as they are smarter than you think and they won’t get fooled again as easily.