“To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.-Theodore Roosevelt
Bullying, an unfortunate human activity, has always been prevalent across human society since Neanderthals. The nerdy, scrawny one may not always be the victim or the big burly be the bully. There is no specific type of someone who gets bullied or the way bullying is done despite what may be generally portrayed in movies and on TV.
The term “bullying” covers a broad, encases a myriad of activities, but sums up to targeting an individual who is unlikely to retaliate under the radar, put in control and domination ,shredding their esteem to pieces and making them feel as insignificant as possible. Bullying is intentional, it’s a power grab, and it is repeated. Even the rude and mean behavior, snide remarks made, veiled hostile joking cloaked in ‘playful teasing’ and “just kidding” if all it does is crush someone from inside out. Bullying behavior cuts across all socio-economic, racial/ethnic, and cultural lines. It is estimated that 20 -30 percent of school-age children are involved in bullying incidents, as either perpetrators or victims.
Bullying is a hot button issue for sure, and people feel it is overplayed. This atrocity isn’t an alien to our educational institutions despite the more recent increase in demands to end bullying in schools. As many as 42% of students of Class 4 to 8 and 36% of Class 9 to 12 in India said they are subjected to bullying by peers on school campuses.If all we do is “raise awareness” about bullying rather than teach kids how to respond to it, then guess what happens? They report a lot of bullying but there’s no antidote.
While the legal and institutional repercussions cause even swing of a fist to get the assaulter land into jail or pending expulsion in schools , bullies have wrestled their way out to vent anger without leaving any physical traces of harm proving it is no cliché that words cause more pain than actions. Aggression that was once channeled into fist fights and bloodying knuckles and noses has now dragged on with more silent ways such as exclusion or being talked about behind their backs to make up for the lost thrill of shaming someone.
Bullying once stayed within the confines of school property campus and the dread of being away from home in the morning to attend eight-hour long torture sessions full of squeamish humiliation had always an end for the day upon returning back to homes. But today unfortunately, technology-equipped bullies possess the evil ability to harass their targets 24/7, right at their fingertips. Cyberbullying is making some researchers rethink the definition of what it means to bully.
Gut wrenching,hurtful words once expected between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. now pierce through anyone’s heart without warning at any hour,just a phone notification away. Even upon leaving school,profanity-spewing texts, and social media comments follow you everywhere like goons, right there,ready to be read and cause the innumerable amount of hurt that has no end to.Bullies may be sitting next to you but prefer to bully through social media for there’s always a wall to hide behind in the cyber world and that way the actions can be viewed by more and they feel a false sense of power and invasion over your personal space.
Today’s problem isn’t the bullying which we have been familiar with since years, it’s the escape out of the vicious spiral of hate,hurt and harm which is difficult to find. Despite campaigning, bullying itself won’t become extinct, but the safety felt by victims can be increased.
‘Strong people stand up for themselves, but the strongest people stand up for others.’
It is important that we empower children to morph from a Bystander to Defender. We have to give kids the courage and confidence they need to stand up for others instead of them feeling fear of getting hurt or feeling powerless against the bully. Stepping in and speaking up is the greatest support a victim could get to tackle the wrong.Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy. Parents need to sit down and have a conversation with their kids about bullying and praise them whenever they help someone being bullied.
Cyberbullying shouldn’t lead parents to ban a teen’s social media usage, rather there’s a need to have a room for conversation about how they need to responsible about what they write and post over their feeds and if it hurts anyone’s sentiments and that social media is about interactions with others and not your invitation for people to invade into your privacy.If a child is being bullied, it’s the foremost priority of the parents and teachers to ensure that they know that they don’t feel like a coward or tattletale while talking to someone about it- a trusted friend or another adult to find a solution.
” I survived bullying.”
Let’s work together so no one else has to ever declare this again.
Unite to end bullying!