In this case- Its bullying- and the massive affects it can have on people and our responsibility. A lot of this is my opinion-- But I have linked to some stories and have some stats. What prompted this is a blog I read by a dad. Also-- I am in NO WAY APPLYING MY OPINIONS TO ALL KIDS AND ALL ADULTS!
Lately the news has been over run with stories about bullying and the horrible outcomes. Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who killed himself after his roommate video taped an encounter with another student and broadcast it on the internet. Megan Meier, was a local girl in St. Louis who killed herself after being bullied.
I know that these are extremely drastic cases-- but maybe we need to look at the extreme so that we can get an idea of how bad it is. Isn't that what we do when we want to get a point across??
Bullying is when someone purposely attempts to intimidate and take advantage of someone smaller or weaker then themselves. This person doesn't always start out weaker or even start out smaller- but in the long run- after many times of being beaten down, either physically or emotionally, this person becomes weaker. And once they've become weaker or their self respect and self love has been taken from them- Thats tough to recover from.
Personally, I think that bullying has gotten worse in the past 10 years. I think that kids are meaner now then they ever were before and I think that they have more ways to spread the things that they are doing and saying. They now have Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, blogs, and much more- and kids are getting access to these types of things at a younger and younger age-- AND it seem to me that in a lot of cases- they aren't being supervised!! (And I'm sorry- but why does your 8 yo need a Facebook page??? Why do they need a cell phone?? Shouldn't you be monitoring who your 8 y0 has contact with??)
I work in the schools and I am shocked every single time I am there at the things that kids say to each other and to adults! I don't remember kids being like that when I was in school-- I mean yes, kids were mean and some were disrespectful, but I really don't remember it being this bad! (Maybe it was and I am just crazy)
I wish I could say it was just kids. I wish I could say that its just kids being young and not understanding how powerful words are, but it's not just kids- Adults are just as bad if not worse. And they're doing it in front of their kids! If you would like an example, listen to what people are saying the next time you are out somewhere- Here what people say even just about the people walking around a store!!!
- 75% of our kids are bullied in some way: verbal, emotional, physical, or cyber
- 20% of kids will admit to it.
- On a daily average- 160,000 kids are absent from school a DAY in the United States due to bullying.
-On average, 282,000 students a month are physically hurt by a bully.
-On average, every 7 minutes a child is bullied on the playground-- with 85% of those going on with out any intervention.
-85% of teenagers believe that "revenge" from bullying is responsible for school shootings.
- An average of 19,000 students will try to take their own life as a result of bullying.
*all of these facts came from: http://ezinearticles.com/?School-Bullying-Statistics---The-ABCs-of-Harassment&id=4616664*
Now-- the question is- What are we going to do about it??? Who is going to take on the job to help the people who are being bullied and who is going to help the people who are doing the bullying?? WE ALL HAVE TOO!!! No one can be exempt from this! NO ONE!!!!
It starts with personal responsibility. We have to be personally responsible for our actions and what comes out of our mouth! And as adults- We have to be personally responsible for making sure that we are always setting a good example for the kids and other people around us. Kids look to us for examples of what is an acceptable way to treat people- So calling the lady in front of you in line- a fat lazy lard a$$-- NOT A GOOD EXAMPLE-- Show them patience!
Second in line is social responsibility- far to often we turn our head and act like we don't see it happen. As an adult, is it is your job to stop it if you see it- If you see kids being mean at the mall-- tell them to knock it off-- If they don't- report it! Mall security is there for a reason and most malls have police in them! USE THEM!!
We have to teach everyone to report things that they see- and make sure that everyone knows things can be reported and they're name wont be mentioned. We must teach our kids to stand up for other kids!
In the long run though- the only way this wills top is if EVERYONE takes a stand. If EVERYONE try's to be nicer and if EVERYONE teaches their kids and families to be kind and to accept differences!
So I have a challenge for anyone who reads this: Over the next week-- HONESTLY watch what you say-- See if you can be 10% nicer and kinder to people-- Help someone every day- Hold a door open, pick something up that someone drops, reach something for someone! And challenge your kids as well.....
Megan Meier Foundation: http://www.meganmeierfoundation.org/
Peace Builders: http://www.peacebuilders.com/
Dealing With Bullies: http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/bullies.html
My Tips For Teaching Your Kids To Deal With Bullys:
- REPORT REPORT REPORT-- Tell them to report ANY and ALL bullying-- Whether its done to them or to someone else-- Make sure they kno
w that if they report it- No one will know who did it!
-Talk to your kids- Ask them how their day went.
-Teach your children to be 10% kinder then what they feel is needed.
- Teach your kids NOT to follow a crowd.
- Show by example and correct when you hear them being mean.
It's important we fight this battle!!! We are always fighting every other battle- abortion, health care, taxes, road construction-- The list is endless-- Let's add this to our battle list-- Only with this one-- EVERY single person can make a difference- regardless of race, religion, political party, education, height, weight-- NONE OF IT MATTERS IN THIS BATTLE! All that matters is that we win-- and violence and hate lose.
If you made it this far-- congrats!