Story by Sam Berkey
Ever been bullied? Ever been the bully? Here’s one fact; bullying is not cool. It doesn’t matter whatever the form is: verbal, cyber, physical, or emotional; it’s still bullying.
Bullying isn’t just at your home or school, it’s worldwide. Studies have shown that an estimated 200 million kids are affected by bullying across the world that means half of all children are bullied sometime in their life, ten percent of which occurs in the United States. In Canada and Australia one in every four children is the victim of bullying. However across the world the age group that is primarily targeted by bullying is 11-14.
If you lined up seven kids in a row from the grades kindergarten to senior year, one of those seven kids in each group has either been the bully or been bullied. The percentage of students stating that bullying is an on-going problem is 71% while 61% having said that bullying resorted to school shootings. 77% of kids today are being bullied mentally, verbally, and physically however only 14% of that 77% have admitted to being affected. With the introduction of electronics such as texting, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, bullying has morphed into a new sub-branch called cyber-bullying.
Approximately 50% of students are victims of cyber-bullying and only one of ten children that are cyber-bullied will tell their parents about this. Cyber-bullying happens 24/7 and can strike anyone at any time without warning. Only one in four cyber-bullying cases are reported to the authorities and most of the participants of cyber-bullying are surprisingly female. Those that are cyber-bullied have been known to skip school, get into drugs and alcohol, have health problems, and worst of all some cases have resulted in suicide.
Of course you might be wondering: Well, the teachers must be doing something about this. Truth is that teachers only intervene 4% of the time, and one of four teachers find nothing wrong with bullying. They also dismiss bullying as “building character” and “growing thick skin” or even the common “boys will be boys”. In fact, teachers can be both the offenders and the victims in school bullying situations. Teachers don’t just bully the students; they can also bully their fellow staff members and most of this may go both unnoticed and unreported. The victim, if a student, may not trust adults after being bullied by one and could feel vulnerable towards the bully teacher and other bully students. The same might go for the adult victim; however they might feel like more of a “tattle-tail” on their co-workers rather than vulnerable towards them.
Alright, you’re thinking “I’m just a normal person. What could I possibly do to stop bullying?” The answer: anything you can! For those that are being bullied; face the bully and look them in the eye, use a strong firm tone of voice and appropriate language when you tell the bully to stop. If that doesn’t work, go get an adult and tell them what’s going on.
People that are witnessing someone being bullied, don’t just stand there speak up to the bully. Be an advocate for the “under dog”, be the voice for someone who is too scared to use theirs by speaking up and stopping the bully. Remember SAVE:
S-speak up. “Cut it out.” “We don’t do that at our school.” and so on. But only speak up if you feel the bully isn’t hostile.
A-adult help: report it to the teachers or the principal if the bullying is serious.
V-volunteer solutions: Ask the victim to join you and your friends, or help remove them from the bully’s presence.
E-end the victim’s sadness: “I’m sorry that _____ was mean/did that to you.” cheer up the victim, and if you have been a victim tell them about it.
As for cyber-bullying, put it in your spam-mail where it will be deleted automatically. If the mean e-mail keeps happening, have your parents tell the school, police, or the phone/internet provider. That will stop the bullying by tracking them and stopping their ways of harming you, even closing their account. Also, hang out with your friends if the cyber-bullying is bothering you, just disconnect from the technology world.
If we stand up to the various bullying, we can not only decrease the percentages, but hopefully stop this abuse. Many kids are abused by kids either around their age or older than them and barely anyone notices or cares. So unite, speak up, and stop bullying once and for all.