When I told my mom that I was covering ‘bullying prevention tips’ on my CBSLA segments last week, she sorta rolled her eyes through the phone. Okay, she REALLY rolled her eyes through the phone and was not so shy about expressing what she thought: “In all my  years as a teacher, I never saw bullying the way everyone talks about it now. Kids don’t bully each other as often as you young parents say they do.”
She might be right. She just might not have seen it. Or, we just might be living in crazy times where kids are more mean and us parents aren’t doing a good enough job of raising kids to be decent through childhood development. I don’t know.
I do know one thing though: The word ‘bullying’ itself is overused. That girl was mean to my kid. That boy didn’t want to share the ball with my child. My daughter didn’t get invited to that birthday party.
Sure, these are all unfortunate happenings… but they aren’t ‘bullying’ tactics.
What is bullying? Well…
StompOutBullying.org identifies bully behavior as something repeated, intentional and continual between someone exerting ‘power’ to cause physical and/or emotional harm to the same person over and over again… rather than isolated incidents of conflict between peers and friends. Just because two boys don’t like each other, that does not mean one of them is being bullied. Just because one girl does not invite another to a birthday party does not mean that a bully situation is taking place.
Recent research has correlated bullying in youth with psychological problems in college… so yes, we do need to pay attention to what is bullying and what is not.Bullying often begins in elementary school, peaks in middle school and then declines in high school. According to cyberbullying research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 85% of students claimed to have been bullied at school, online or via text. Yet, only 25% of students tell an adult when they are victims of bullying. There are far too many horrifying news stories that expose the extreme and terrifying consequences of what happens when bullies go too far. (Which is why I call for a ‘village’ approach — yes, you’d better TELL ME if my kid is acting like a bully!)
In the spirit of October 2016 marking the tenth anniversary of National Bullying Prevention Month, I tackled a few different angles on TV: To strike awareness and perception about what bullying really is and to also share some good news about taking down bullies. WATCH (that’s right, TWO videos for you!):
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