Parents, teachers, and school officials can try all they want to reduce bullying in our schools, but what it really comes down to is kids doing the right thing and sticking up for each other when the time comes. October is National Bullying Prevention Month and now there is a new campaign focused on arming kids to stop bullying on their own.
The Washington Post reports about a new StopBllying.gov campaign called “Be More Than a Bystander” that is trying to change the way kids see bullying. Similar to anti-smoking and drunk driving campaigns in years past that dramatically changed the way kids dealt with these issues, it is the hope that the new bullying campaign will change the social norm.
Peggy Conlon, president and chief executive of the Ad Council, explains how the new campaign plays on the strength of our youth to take power away from bullies. Conlon says, “Kids have an incredible sense of right and wrong. If you can tap into their sense of injustice and tell them there are things that they can do, kids can get really excited about that.”
Most of the tips offered by the campaign are unlike most we’ve seen in the past, the new ideas here actually put our kids in the driver’s seat to stop bullying. One of the tips offered on the website is for kids to befriend the one who is being bullied and let them know they are not alone. Another useful tip for kids is to refuse to give the bully an audience. Often times kids will crowd around to watch a fight or someone being harassed and it is this kind of attention that bullies crave. Parents are also encouraged to sit down with their kids and discuss bullying before it even starts just to prepare them for the potential of dealing with this difficult situation.
What do you think of the new anti-bullying campaign that is putting more focus on how our kids can stop bullying?
How do you talk to your kids about bullying at home? Do you think they are well-armed to deal with a bully or stick up for a victim?
Back in the 1950's when I was a 5th grader moving from a city school to a small rural school, I was teased and tormented by a couple of girls in my new class. My mother told me to stand up in class when one of the girls pinched me or stuck me with a pencil - and call out loudly "Sandy stop it". It worked. The teacher honed in on the bully and when the bully knew I would call attention to them, it didn't happen again. Sadly this only works if the teacher pays attention and believes the bullied child.
I think it is a really good idea because it helps give parents ways to talk to their children. Times have changed since parents were bullied and they way kids get bullied have changed. Not only do kids have to deal with physical bullying at school and also have mass media. Kids post stuff about other kids online, post embarrassing pictures, and even send emails and texts to all their friends. These are things parents did not have to deal with as a kid. This can help show parents the ways kids can be bullied or even bully others. It can inform both parents and kids to help prevent it from ever happening.
You can get a free stop bullying campaign kit. It's designed for kids 9-13 years old, but I think even younger kids would benefit from it. It contains short clips depicting different situations with people being bullied. It's a chance to watch it and discuss it with your kids or your classroom if you're a teacher. It's free and available here: http://www.ask.hrsa.gov/detail_materials.cfm?ProdID=3864
I think it's of utmost importance that parents and schools lobby to make bullying a crime. When I was in school there was no such thing as sexual harassment laws. Now there are laws in place. Boys can't just grab a girls butt without any discipline action. When I was in school it happened all the time. If bullying became a crime, like sexual harassment it would change the environment of every school. Kids should not be afraid to get an education. What happened to Amanda Todd really got kids talking about bullying. I'm glad that her mother is allowing her story to teach parents and students about both bullying and online predators. THERE HAVE TO BE CONSEQUENCES TO BULLYING. IT CAN NOT BE TOLERATED ANY LONGER.
I Hate that this happens
I just wrote a post about school bullying, you can read it at http://www.raisingdickandjane.blogspot.com/2012/10/school-bullying-teach-your-kids-to-make.html
school officials turn a blind eye to this, and only when a child committed suicide do they start raising awareness...the system is completely backwards! and I fear for my own child's safety and learning experience if they were to go to school and this happened to them. I know if my child told me that they were being bullied, I would take this seriously and go to the school myself if i have to. I would write to the board of education, or if it comes down to it, my last resort, the media to expose the lack of attention the school is paying to these types of situations. there is NOT BOUNDS what a parent would do to help/save their own child out of love!
This is only going to be money down the drain! Kids are bullies because they see other people doing it, they see their parents doing it or even teaching them to be the stronger one. For the kids, its about the power and the popularity and its sickening. If a child sticks up for themselves against the bullies, they either get beaten up, or in some cases, suspended by the school because they just happened to be caught and the bullies weren't. I lost count on how many times this happened. The girl on the bus who stuck up for the handicap girl who was getting bullied got suspended. The kid who body slammed the bully to the ground because he finally couldn't handle the countless bullying every single day decided that he wanted to finally stand up for himself got suspended. Some might say 2 wrongs don't make a right, but how about you put yourself in these kids shoes?