WHY CAN’T WE BEAT BULLYING?
Technology is relatively new but there’s nothing new about bullying.
However, what is new, is the rise of technology as a bullying tool.
Bullying in childhood used to be confined to a specific group – usually a bunch of school bullies, or the classic big bully from the next street.
However, today’s children are exposed to a much wider, public circle.
Understandably, many parents are worried about bullying and fear for their children.
It is important to discuss this subject with your children.
Bullying is a subject I have dealt with many times in my own writing and one of my stories: The Tree Hugger deals with the subject of a girl being bullied in school.
A school is very often a place where children are bullied, but children don’t always tell their parents when they are being bullied.
Reading stories about bullying can help parents raise the subject when they suspect their child is being bullied.
Bullying is now a major problem on social network sites too.
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES HELP BULLIES
Social networking sites provide not only a sharp and incisive tool for the bully but also an easy way for them to spread their venom to a much wider audience.
This way, the idea that the ‘whole world hates me’ is easily perpetuated, sometimes with fatal results.
It is such a pity the networking sites are not as willing to take responsibility, particularly as they make huge profits. They might even find their profits rise.
Internet technology is increasingly being used to fight crime – why can’t it be used to defeat bullies rather than enable?
Providers should forward details of all bullying sites to the police voluntarily as well as banning their users for being accomplices. Surely this action would enhance their image?
However, the Internet is just one more tool in the bully’s belt.
Bullying has always been with us and no doubt always will. This does not excuse our lack of intervention and support for the bullied.
Alongside the rise of technology comes a rise in knowledge. We have the knowledge.
We know how to stop bullying but we either don’t have time to make the effort, or we prefer not to.
Sadly not all teachers help.
I do remember one or two teachers from my own school days adding some of their own brand of ‘teacheristic’ and sarcastic sneering to the misery of one particular girl who was always being bullied.
DON’T BE GOOD!
Many years later, when I used to teach creative writing myself, I heard first hand how little help a severely handicapped student of mine received when his able-bodied classmates viciously bullied him.
I was even more shocked to hear that his teacher advised him to stop being such a goody-goody and do something bad so he would ‘fit in.’
Perhaps we should be educating our children and teachers to learn that being ourselves is a goal worth achieving, whereas ‘fitting in’ is a goal more worthy of a sheep.
I wrote my children’s story – The Tree Hugger because I felt strongly that we should be encouraging and celebrating individuality instead of the ‘herd mentality.’
THE TREE HUGGER
The Tree Hugger is one of eight stories included in my collection When Things Go Wonky.
If you have any comments or questions about bullying or any other subject on the site and don’t forget I’d love to hear from you.