By Jacqui Cheng | Published: June 28, 2007 - 12:03PM CT
The level to which teens have been bullied online varies from "slightly annoying" to death threats. One in six (about 15 percent) told Pew that private communicationsóIM logs, e-mails, or text messagesóhad been posted publicly by someone else or forwarded around. One middle-schooler told a story about how an IM conversation she had participated in got changed in her disfavor, printed out, and passed around at school so that she "looked like a terrible person." Apparently this kind of online/offline bullying mix is preferred by ego-starved bullies everywhere.
About six percent of teens said that others had publicly posted embarrassing photos of them without their consent as well, with the users of popular social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook suffering from this phenomenon more than others (9 percent of social network users had photos posted of them, versus 2 percent of non-social networkers). Those who post photos of themselves are also more likely to have unauthorized photos of them posted, according to the survey.
Another 13 percent reported that they had been the recipient of a threatening or aggressive e-mail, IM, or text message, and girls are more likely than boys to receive them (15 percent versus 10 percent). Older teens, those 15-17, were also more likely to receive threats than younger teens, with only 9 percent of younger teens receiving threats compared to 16 percent of the older crowd. The older group of girls received the most threats, at 19 percent.
And before you write off kids being kids, at least one story recounted in the report comes from the threat-maker himself about (somewhat detailed) death threats he had made against another teenager. "It's the best prank because it's like 'oh my god, I'm calling the police,' and I was like 'I'm just kidding, I was just messing with you.' She got so scared though," said one respondent. Hi-larious.
When asked why these things happen online, the teens seemed to believe that it was the indirect nature of the Internet that helped their bullies gain the courage to do nasty things and then hide behind the computer screen. Others said that it was a evolution of schoolyard bullying to the modern age, even though a large majority of survey respondents still said that more bullying occurred offline. Unsurprisingly, though, those who had not experienced cyberbullying were more likely to say that bullying was more common offline than online (71 percent) than those who had experienced some form of cyberbullying (57 percent).
"Bullying has entered the digital age," writes Pew senior research analyst Amanda Lenhart. "The impulses behind it are the same, but the effect is magnified. In the past, the materials of bullying would have been whispered, shouted, or passed around. Now, with a few clicks, a photo, video, or a conversation can be shared with hundreds via e-mail or millions through a web site, online profile, or blog posting."
From: Ars Technica: The Art of Technology at:
Those who can, do. Those who can't, bully. A psychopathic page of Bully Online. http://www.successunlimited.co.uk/serial.htm
This page describes serial bullies and they can influence and reek havoc in the workplace. Serial bullies are in positions of authority or are calculating ways to get there. Serial bullies obtain these higher level positions by manipulation rather than merit.
The serial bully:
1. Is a convincing, practiced liar and when called to account, will make up anything spontaneously to fit their needs at that moment.
2. Has a Jekyll and Hyde nature - is vile, vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive nature - only the current target of the serial bully's aggression sees both sides.
3. Excels at deception and should never be underestimated.
4. Uses excessive charm and is always plausible and convincing when peers, superiors or others are present.
5. Is glib, shallow and superficial: plenty of fine words but no substance; often described as smooth, slippery, slimy, ingratiating, fawning, toadying, obsequious, sycophantic.
6. Relies on mimicry and regurgitation to convince others that he or she is both a normal human being and a though dynamic manager.
7. Is unusually skilled in being able to anticipate what people what to hear and then saying it plausibly.
8. Is emotionally immature and emotionally untrustworthy.
9. Exhibits unusual and inappropriate attitudes to sexual matters or sexual behavior; underneath the charming exterior there are often suspicions or hints of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, perhaps also sexual dysfunction, sexual inadequacy, sexual violence or sexual abuse.
10. In a relationship, is incapable of being intimate or sustaining intimacy.
11. Holds deep prejudices, but goes to great lengths to keep this aspect of their personality secret.
12. Displays contempt, arrogance, audacity, and sense of invulnerability and untouchability.
13. Has a deep seated contempt of clients in contrast to his or her professed compassion.
14. Is a control freak and has a compulsive need to control everyone and everything you say, do, think and believe.
15. Displays a compulsive need to criticize, while simultaneously refusing to value, praise and acknowledge others, their achievements, or their existence.
16. Flits from topic to topic so that you come away feeling you've never had a proper conversation.
17. Refuses to be specific and never gives a straight answer.
18. Is evasive and has a Houdini like ability to escape accountability.
19. Undermines and destroys those who can see through the bully's mask.
20. Is adept at creating conflict between those who would otherwise collate incriminating information about them.
21. Is quick to discredit and neutralize anyone who can talk knowledgeably about antisocial or sociopathic behaviors.
22. Is highly manipulative, especially of people's emotions (eg guilt).
23. When called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of others, responds with impatience, irritability and aggression.
24. Often has an overwhelming, unhealthy and narcissistic attention seeking need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate person.
25. Is mean spirited, officious and often unbelievably petty.
26. Takes everything and gives nothing.
27. Is convinced of their superiority and has an overbearing belief in their qualities of leadership but cannot distinguish between leadership and bullying.
28. Often fraudulently claims qualifications, experience, titles, entitlements or affiliations which are ambiguous, misleading or bogus.
29. Often misses the semantic meaning of language, misinterprets what is said, sometimes wrongly thinking that comments of a general negative nature apply to him or herself.
30. Sometimes displays a seemingly limitless demonic energy especially when engaged in attention seeking activities or evasion of accountability and is often a committeeaholic.
Bully's offenses are harmful and disruptive to the people they work with, however these offenses are usually nonarrestable.
Usually the bully's dysfunction is strongly linked to an abused upbringing. The bully is angry and resentful and projects his anger and dysfunctions onto others.
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Eight Years of Bullying, and Then More at Work!
by Derek, age 29, Coquitlam, Canada
I'm 29 years old, and I can relate to what so many of the kids on this site are saying - because I was bullied non-stop from Grade 3 to Grade 12. Mostly by other kids - as usual, they were the more popular ones, trying to show just how big & tough they were. One started in Grade 4 and his daily torments continued until the end of Grade 8, when I changed schools to get away from the bullies. (In Grade 8 all the students from 4 elementary schools went to 1 high school, so the bullies made new friends and passed on the word that I was a good target for bullying.) My parents were powerless; the only thing they said was "Ignore them - they'll stop". NO, IT DOESN'T STOP! It continues, and usually gets worse. Even some of my teachers, especially those in Grade 3, and Grades 4 & 6 (I had the same teacher for Grades 4 & 6) took part in the bullying. My 3rd Grade teacher took great pleasure in name-calling and put-downs, not to mention the other cruel insults that my classmates engaged in. The principal stood behind the teachers; his attitude was "You handle it yourself".
Then, 3 years after leaving high school, I started a career with a bully boss who nearly destroyed my career and my life. His behavior was so close to that of bullying classmates and teachers that I thought I was right back in elementary school again. It wasn't unheard of to go home after work and think of ending my life - just as I had wanted to in school. Years later, I'm still dealing with the aftereffects of bullying - low-self-esteem, poor social life, loneliness, depression. I can only hope that the younger visitors to this site have a better outcome than I did. Even though I'm financially established and working (which is more than what I can say for the bullies, most of whom have criminal records) I'm not happy with my life, and it's mostly because of all that trouble in my youth.
SO THIS IS MY LIFE - I Got Up For This?
Kaslo, British Columbia
You know what they say, don't you? "Don't you worry, they're just
jerks, you can just brush it off."
Are you insane? No,no,no......no. That's not right. You ARE insane,
yes, of course.
It's quite easy to say that, especially since YOU ARE NOT THE ONES
God help me. I am so depressed. I'd love to talk to someone
professional, like a counsellor. That would be a great help.
For the last 8 and a half years, living in a small town has been a
nightmare, all except the adults, who actually really care.
I feel, of the 14 years I have lived, the last 9 years, my school
life, has been horrible, except for the teachers. That was the only really
okay part of school. But in Grade 8, my teachers show favouritism to the
"cool" kids, most of the time.
Since that very first day of school when I skipped into
Kindergarten on an early September morning they have been harassing me.
For once, all I want is to be like myself, but to be treated like
It just hurts so much. I started out believing what my parents
said, "You're a beautiful girl, and no one can ever change that."
The truth is, as I've learned it, people can change it, at least,
they can change the way you think about your own beauty.
If you want desperately to make me believe what you say, it depends
on how many times you tell me to shut up, call me a moron, a b-tch; how
many times you tell me I'm fat, or ugly.
You can also change my mind when you tell me to leave a certain
place where everyone is welcome, and how many times you shoot wasp
spitballs at me if I don't leave.
It depends how many times you finger me on my route home from
school, and how many times you glare at me, shove me on purpose, and try to
snatch my stuff away on your way down the hall.
It depends on how many times you do these things and the teacher
never catches it.
As you can plainly see, my school life is horrible.
When I come home, and I cry my eyes out from the contents of the
day, my mom tries to help me out. One time she phoned the principal at his
home when I came home crying.
The principal talks to the teachers, the teachers talk to the kids.
The kids laugh. It feels like they're laughing at me. My mom got a bullying
message around the school. The kids snicker in class, while the teacher is
talking about bullying. They don't care, they will keep harassing kids;
cause they don't seem to care.
Sometimes, when I get home from school, all I want to do is run
outside and scream and yell at the top of my lungs. But I can't, because
someone will hear.
My only and best friend moved away, last June. She moved to Ireland.
When that happened, it felt like someone had just thrust a dagger
into my back and I would have a permanent scar forever.
It felt like my life was a fragile piece of thin glass, and my
friend moving away, and all the bullies harrasing me, made it shatter.
These kids were and are determined to make my life a living hell,
and now that they knew no one of the same age would stand up for me, all
the better for them.
One of the worst things that has happened to me was in Grade 7,
last year. My job was to walk a sweet little 5 year old home from school
One day I was walking home with her. About 100 metres from her
house, a guy with one of his buds was coming in the opposite direction on
the other side of the street. He is a couple years older that me. All of a
sudden, he said to the 5 year old, "Hey, did you know that you walking with
an f-ing b-tch?!?!"
I'm just so confused and depressed I have no clue what I can do!
I....I....I want to scream but I can't!!
Why do they hate me so much!! Is it the type of music I listen to?
Is how I talk? How I look?? WHAT!!! Help me out here please!
I've tried everything to stop this, every single way! Why should
ANYONE have to suffer through this?!?!
Five years ago, I looked in the mirror and saw a bright, cheery,
happy, beautiful 9 year old.
Now I look in the mirror and see a fat, depressed 14 year old, all
thanks to them; the bullies. You know who you are. I'm not going to let you
It Makes Me Mad
by Martin, grade 4, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
It makes me mad when I see people bullying small kids. I feel like going and bullying them. But, it is not o.k. to do that because I would get in trouble and I would be teaching small kids how to be a bully.
Bullying is Mean
by Edgar, grade 5, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
It is mean.
Sometimes you hurt peopleís feelings.
I Was a Bully
by Tyler, grade 3, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
I was a bully.
I laughed and hit people.
Then one day a person came and pushed me. I got mad and pushed him. He got up and punch me. Then I learned to not be a bully.
A Message to All Bullies
by Michelina in British Columbia, Canada
I doubt any bully would be reading this right now, but if you are
because a teacher made you or something, you should be ashamed of
yourselves. You can't read any of these stories and not shed a tear, or
not feel responsible. Bullies are all over the place. You are the ones
causing kids to commit suicide. You are the ones ruining lives.
This Is a Story That Might Shock You
I'm a 12 female from Alberta Canada. I heard about you from a friend who said I needed help from someone and she told me to go to this web site for people like me. I was ready to take my life because I wasn't perfect. I was tormented all my life. I said it wasn't fair so why not DIE ? So then they won't bug me any more. My mom says "Sticks and stones may hurt your bones but words will never hurt you" but in my piont of view is when you break a bone it will mend and when you get a black eye it will eventually go away, but words stick with you forever. My only friend saw that I was depressed all the time and sad. When I was sad I would lash out at all of my friends and my family and then one day I was imagining be being shot and I said something to myself and she heard and she talked to me I felt that know one can love me because of what I have become and what I look like and so I shut myself from everyone else. Well that is my story, well bye.
My Story of Living Hell
Hi, I am a 12 year old female from *****, Manitoba. I still go to school at the Collegiate there. I am in grade 8. I get picked on every single day. Something has to be done or else I am going to go really insane. Today I got a lot of stuff thrown at me and I was getting called names. Our principal doesn't do anything. It needs to stop. If nothing can fix it, this school has to get sued. A lot of people are moving. My best friend is gone. I miss her lots. PLEASE help. Our school is falling apart, but in a way that's a good thing because our school is on welfare. Everybody from grades 10-12 are bullying students in grades 7-9. It has definately got to stop. I go home crying. I go home with bruises from grade 10 girls always beating the **** out of me. Hope you read this on the news, as soon as possible.
A girl in trouble at ***** Collegiate
How Can I Get Over the Hurt That I Still Feel?
by Anonymous in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Hi. I wish to stay anonymous. I am from Kelowna, British Columbia. I would like to tell you what has happened to me for 5 years of my life. It all started when I began grade 8, I started making friends in my new school but then they told me that they did not want to be my friends because I was not like them and then they had played a mean joke on me and got a guy to ask me out only to dump me the next guy. Folowing that incident there was another guy who was in one of my classes who had started putting dog bones on my lunch tray for all 5 years but not everyday, just whenever he felt like it. Everyday people made fun of me or said mean things to me from either teachers or students at that school. I got teased about where I lived, I may not have lived in a fancy expensive place like some of them did but we at least had a roof over our heads. They thought that I should not attend the school that they were attending because I was not rich. They teased me about the kind of car I drove, what I wore to school, or even how I looked. they always told me that I was fat and ugly, I was always told that it would be impossible to get my license because I was too short. They told me that I was poor and that I belong in the garbage can and that they should just throw me in there and that, that was my school and home, it was where I should be. They would say that I should not be caught wearing a dress because my legs where fat, but I have never been fat, I just had a lot of muscles in my legs. Teachers would tell me that I write and think like a 3 year old, or that I was stupid and that I could never make it in the world, they would not let me take some of the courses because to them I was not smart enough, but I took those courses and passed them, one of them with flying colors, and the other was a bare pass but that made me happy just to pass it and prove to them that I am not as stupid as they thought.
I am now 21 years old and I still have a hard time on letting this go because I got hurt so bad and I want to get over this but I am having a hard time, my husband tries to help me and now that I have my first baby I would like to forget my past and move on but it hurts because all I ever wanted was to be respected in high school. Before I met my husband I got bullied into having sex with 3 different guys, they just would not stop when I told them too and I was so scared that I have never told a soul because I was a virgin and I did not want people to think that I was a slut. I got fired from my job as soon as I had told them that I was pregnant don't you think that, that was cruel. I still get hurt, people don't want to hire me and I feel as if I need to leave Kelowna to get on with my life or maybe I should see a shrink (not sure on how to spell their actual name). I hope that someone could help me out and give me suggestions on how to forget what has happened, I have tried to forgive the people that have hurt me but I can't brring myself to forgive them. How can I get over all this stuff, please help me get on with my life and to live a long and happy life with my husband and my child(ren).
I Want to Stop Feeling Sad
by David L., age 9, in England
People have been mean to me because I am chubby. At school they call really horrible names which make me cry. I try not to, but I always do. At home it is just the same. My brothers pick on me because I am younger and shorter than them. My mum tries to make them be nice to me but only one of my brothers ever is. I hate feeling sad all the time and I wish was thin like all the other kids in my school.
Help! I'm Trapped in Hell!
by Hope in Western Canada
I'm constantly being beat-up by my two older sisters and basically all of the kids at school. They call me looser, cry-baby, ugly, shorty, ooh you're gross, and get out of this school, you do not belong here!! One time, while I was waiting for the bus, they threw a rock of concrete at the back of my head, causing a slight concussion. They also take my things and throw them into the garbage can and calling me a garbage-picker when I go to retrieve them. They're constantly hitting me across the back of my head, pulling my hair, kicking my legs and leaving me out of group projects. To me this feels like Hell on earth.
I think this web site is really cool and I would like to thank you for being there for me and all the others in the same situation as me.
Your friend, Hope
Sometimes I feel like I'm Going to Loose It
by Chase, 12 years old, Canada
I often get teased a ton. Not like big bad old bullies trying to steal me lunch money or anything like that. I'm not vary good at anything that is "cool". All my talents lie in schoolwork or things that people (school kids) that they don't care about,so I really don't have a chance to "shine". I get picked on by being put down or people spreading rumours or cracking jokes about me. They ASSUME that I don't hear them, but I do. When we talk about something and have an open discussion I stick to my opinion which is often. NOT what they want to hear so the WHOLE class (or so it seems) is "up in arms" and putting me down and telling me to "sit down". I shrugged it off for quite a while. But thanks to "LCs" (stay with the same teachers and classmates) I have the same people picking on me, worse than ever. Once I pretty much lost it and grabbed a kid (a lot bigger than me) and in pure anger I threw him across the room and on top of a desk (which later fell on him. That just made it worse. That was about 3 months ago and it is just as bad as ever. I have kinda gotten used to it but it gets to you after awhile. Sometimes at home I just go up to me room and totally loose it. I have been very close to doing that in school. My parents say to "not let them see you sweat" but its just a relentless assault. Often I just get fed up of myself and stop participating in class. P.E. is the worst because I am always the last one piked. Often in kickball I am first in line to kick but I am pushed back and back until I am at the back and I always get stuck in the position where nothing EVER happens, so I don't get to do anything when everyone else is having fun. One time this happened when we where playing softball and on the last day I had NEVER gotten to bat and they did it again. I just went off the field and flat out refused to play. The P.E. teacher came up to me and told me to play and I tried to explain, but I went back on the field (still not getting to do anything) when she threatened to give me in school suspension if I didn't. Sometimes I wish I could be somewhere else or move away from this place. Now I just hope this story has a happy ending.
In My New School
by Danielle age 10, Miami, FL
There was a girl who did hurtful things to me. She cursed at me, poured dirt on me and made me cry. She made me want to change schools. It was hard to stop thinking about her because she was everywhere I was, I could not escape her. She made me feel like I was the dirt we stepo on and she was the ruler.
I did not tell anyone for a long time and by not telling anyone it got worse. When I finally told someone, the first person I told was my dad. My dad said, "If she doesn't stop, I will talk to your teacher." Well, she did not stop. Each time I had a problem with this girl, it was on a day when we had a substitute teacher. I told the sub teacher and was once again told to wait and see if it happens again and if it does, tell your life-skills teacher. We ended up having a mediation. My life-skillls teacher helped us understand each other's feelings a lot more. Today we are working on being friends.
What I Hate About People Bullying Me
Hi. My name is Yvonne and I'm going to tell you what I hate about people bullying me okay? I am the kind of girl that doesn't like trouble. People call me patchy-watchy and I don't like that because it's true. I have have a bald spot. They really pick on me and I really cry about it, but I don't tell my mom because I don't want to lose my friends. I'm just scared of everyone. They laugh at me. So, I am telling you my feelings even though I don't want to any more. Good-bye.
Why DO They Call Me Fat?
by Natasha, age 9, Canada
WHY Do They Call Me Fat? By Natasha Age 9 Canada Every day at recess people gang up on me and start to call me fat.I feel sad and want to cry because I do not know what to do. If they took the time to get to know me, I think they would like me. I try to stay away from them and tell the teacher but nothing works out. I think I am smart and a funny girl and I wish they would see past my wieght. If you have had to deal with this problem or have found a way to deal with this kind of bullying, I would love to hear from you. Thank-you.
I Am Small
by Allison, age 11, Calgary, Alberta Canada
My name is Allison. I am 11 years old and I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada. I am always being picked on because I am small. My height is 4ft 3 inches tall and weigh about 65 lbs.
I am not that small compared to some of my classmates but some kids like to make fun of my size by telling jokes, talking behind my back, calling me names like..."shrimp, short-stuff, skinny and on and on and on."
I keep telling myself good things come in little packages but its hard to face every day. I am tired of being the brunt of my classmates jokes. I don't think they realize how much it hurts my feelings. I just want to have some really nice honest friends, but that seems to be very difficult.
I am sure there must be other people like me. I just hope one day I will grow up to be better than my classmates.
The Most Awful Time of My Life ... So Far
My nick-name is Shorty. Well, in grade 5 I had my Birthday party. Yeah, everything was great we had fun....... But no wait until after...... Yeah you guessed it, I got bullied. From almost the entire grade 5 class!!!!!! Think about it, 23 kids against 1 girl. Guys were trying to beat me up, and girls were out do me. But did it work? For them yes it did. I can home to my mom every day, crying. It finally got so bad, I had to miss a week of school and they had to get counseling. By the time I got back they were all "oh I'm sorry I didn't realize I was hurting your feelings!" I ask you this, what else were they doing!? I still can't completely forgive them. We'll never be as close as we were before......
And in some ways I want to be, but in a big way, I never want to see them again in my life.
It Could Happen to Anybody
I was in a public school until the third grade. I had loved it when I was younger, I got good grades, wore the right clothes, and was really popular. In second grade, that all changed and in a hurry. For some reason, there was one girl who hated me. She managed to arouse feelings of hate against me in my peers, and unfortunately was successful. I still have nightmares about people coming up to me calling me a nerd because I got good grades. Adults told me if I would just ignore them the problem would go away. It didn't work. All that resulted in was kids hitting me on top of calling me names.
I begged my parents to send me to a different school. I thought that if I went to a different school and stated over, that maybe the kids there would be nicer to me. It didn't work out that way. I didn't have any friends. I sat alone at lunch, convinced tht it must have been my fault somehow. When I wasn't alone, boys were trying to beat me up, and the girls were verbally harrasing me. My fourth grade teachers did the best they could to end the tormenting which is more then I can say for my fifth grade teacher.
My fifth grade teacher was convinced I was LD because my grades were dropping. She had me evaluated while the bullies didn't suffer any consequences. The man who evaluated me said that there was nothing wrong with me, and was outraged that I had been evaluated instead of the bullies. My school continued to punish me for retaliation, while the kids harassing me received little or no punishment.
My sixth grade homeroom teacher always stuck up for me and tired to get me to tell her what was going on. In gym, I was excluded from all activities by my peers. I was the one who received a U in conduct as a result for not participating. I hardly ever told my teachers what was going on. I was convinced I would be blamed and had learned to keep quiet. One kid tried to hit my younger sister so I threw him over the desk. Luckily, the one who had seen this was my sixth grade homerooom teacher, so for once the bully was punished. I had been outgoing and assertie when I had been in the public school, but now I was a different person. I could no longer find the courage to speak in class, or even to hold up my head. I was ashamed. I thought it was all my fault and that I deserved it somehow.
In seventh grade, my teacher my teacher tried to help me. Her approach was a bad one. She stood me up over it once and that only resulted in more ridicule. When I was sexually harrased I began to have anxiety and panick attacks constantly. The school allowed the boys to get away with it. My parents complained to the school and when they refused to discipline the boys, my parents told them off. I got my revenge on all of the boys though. I made there lives miserable until they apologized. But I still was upset. I had begun to cry a lot unknown to anybody else. I felt alone, isolated, scared, angry, and hated anybody who had been responsible for doing this to me. I began to feel ill a lot. I had headachs, backachs, stomach achs, and sore throats constantly. The more I got picked on, the more sick I got. I began to wish I was dead or better yet, I wished I had never been born at all. I was living in constant fear.
Now I am in the eigth grade. I am still being picked on and excluded by my peers. I am friends with many of the sixth graders, many of whom I had never had the opportunity to meet until now. I have friends now. I no longer want to die. I finally realize that what is happening to me is not my fault. I am not the problem, the bullies are. I am really glad that my parents and sister have always been so supportive, and I'm glad that my new friends accept me for who I am instead of hating me for my reputation.
It's Hard When We Are Always Being Bullied
by Shawna in Canada
My name is Shawna. I am 9 years old and I go to ******* Public School I just started this school this year. The kids in this school are rough and always beating me up. I went to the teacher and the principal. Then my Mom went to the police, but they couldn't do anything because the boys were under 12 years old. I went to a Separate school for the first few years and they do not fight or swear in that school. This one is awful for both swearing and fighting.
I can not stand getting beat up every day. Now I do not get beat up so much since the new kid came to school. He gets picked on. I wish they would get kicked out of school. Why should we get beat up?
Reflections On Having Been a Bully
It is with no small shame that I submit this to your website, but it would be a greater shame if someone was unable to benefit from my experience as a bully.
I was in an experimental program during grades 7, 8, and 9, comprised of students who were deemed to be somewhat "gifted", or at least capable of working at an accelerated rate. These students ranged across the socio-economic scale, from "army brats" to the moneyed elite. And, as with every classroom, there was an exciting array of personalities, some strong, some passive.
One of the children, who happened to be in the disdained "army" group, was a girl who had a very unfortunate choice of name, for it only added to the host of "inadequacies" that people pounced upon. "C." was thin and awkward, and hunched her shoulders (in what in retrospect must have been a defensive posture); her hair was a dull, greasy mouse-brown; and she wore wire-rimmed glasses perched on an aquiline nose, which emphasized her
overbite and weak chin. And as if this was not enough, she had a stutter that was exacerbated when she spoke publicly. C. was the eldest of five children and at age 13 was responsible for many hours a week of child-care, including supper preparation and diaper-changing. This she did quietly and uncomplainingly while still maintaining excellent grades (and while being the "least favoured" of her parents' otherwise cute children). She was kind, honest, and courageous, for despite the literal torture she underwent daily at school, she continued to hold independent views, speak openly, stand up for her ideals and beliefs, and think originally and creatively. She was also my friend.
She was also a perfect target for bullying, especially as she endured it passively, as if expecting it. The opportunity to victimize her was seized initially and enthusiastically by "G." (who, interestingly, is now a lawyer). Daily, he groaned each time she opened her mouth to bravely answer a question or respond to a teacher's query. Soon there was a chorus of audible moans and groans accompanying her every utterance. The class was together for three years- and the momentum grew each year. Imagine the rich choice of nicknames they had for C.: "Bucky" comes to mind; also, "Charming"- a play on her name, "Fleabags", and "Ugly". There was no attempt at subtlety.
For almost two years a core of us remained loyal to C., if not actually befriending her. She had qualities we were not afraid to admire. I vividly recall our satisfaction when the science teacher proclaimed "nothing is impossible", and C. countered that it seemed to her it might be impossible to count to infinity. This silenced her hecklers as well as the teacher.
Sometime in the middle of grade 8, I decided that I had to try to get into the "popular" group, or at least be more accepted by the royalty every school possesses- usually comprising star athletes, or, at the time, cute cheerleaders and rich, self-confident, infinitely poised girls. I perceived one impediment to my success (an effort which was doomed to failure as I was only nominally and infrequently included) was my friendship with C., so I abruptly terminated any contacts with my former friend. I did not want to be marginalized by association.
To my everlasting shame, I also began to participate in some of the groaning and eye- rolling with which any of her utterances were met. I moved over ostentatiously when she sat near me. I refused to do any group work with her. I somehow managed to justify this horrendous behaviour, but the queasiness I still feel about it was present at the time, over forty years ago.
In sad retrospect, I think if only someone in a position of authority had spoken up for her and confronted us either individually or as a group, this cruelty would have ceased. I know I would have been shamed into amending my actions, and probably would have resumed our broken friendship, if she would have me back. But the teachers at the school did nothing. I don't know if her parents even brought any concerns to the administration, but people would have had to be deaf and blind not to have noticed what was happening. Luckily, this tacit acceptance of bullying is disappearing- I hope.
My father, I discovered only after he died, had selflessly and at great risk to his own life smuggled Jewish people from Germany to safety in Sweden during the Second World War. He and his fellow members of the Danish underground courageously stood up to history's ultimate Bullies. The greatest good to have come out of my own experience was to encourage such courage in my own children, and the compassion to stand up for people too undermined to protect themselves, and to stand up to people who perpetrate cruelties.
This is also my overdue apology to C.
Linda, an adult, Canada
Copyright © 1997-2000, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Bullying can include beating up kids, calling them names or teasing them. A bully might pick on someone for practically any reason, or for no reason.
Some adults say bullying isn't a real problem - bullying or being bullied is just a normal part of growing up. But bullying can cause real problems for its victims now and later in life.
Recent school-related incidents in Canada and the U.S. have shown some of the more extreme effects bullying can have.
On March 2001, at a California high school, a 15-year-old Grade 9 student reportedly shot and killed two students and wounded 13 others. Some students say the boy was often teased for being "scrawny."
Hamed Nastoh was another victim of bullying. In March 2000, the British Columbia student killed himself by jumping off a bridge. Hamed left a seven-page suicide note for his family. He said he was often teased and called names at school. His family had no idea Hamed was being bullied.
In April 1999, a 14-year-old shot at three students, killing one, at a high school in Taber, Alberta. He says he did it partly because all through school, he'd been repeatedly teased and beaten up by other kids.
These are just a couple of the many reported and unreported cases of schoolyard bullying.
We want to know what you think:
Is bullying a major problem at your school?
Why do you think some students bully others?
Is there any way to stop bullying?
Ally, 15, Canada
Bullying is not a major problem at my school but it is still a problem. In the halls I hear kids teasing other kids. Most of the time when people bully other people they pick on the same thing that they don't like about them selves. For example if a kid is picking on another kid about being a little bit bigger then the average person the kid that is doing the teasing most likely don't like the size of them selves. To stop bullying teachers need to start dealing with bullies in a tougher way. Teachers should start teaching kids in kindergarten about bullying and how it is wrong. Teachers should also take classes to deal with bullies because teachers are sometimes scared of bullies them selves. There will never be a school with no bullies but if people take steps to prevent bullying kids would like to go to school and we would have a lot less school violence.
Heather, 17, Canada
As a Grade 12 student I have seen lots of bulling in my schools through out all twelve years. It isn't a huge problem but is still there. To help stop this, kids have to go and tell an adult! You may be called a wimp, tattle-tale or worse but it is the only way! Lots of the kids that bully have low self-esteem or don't have the greatest home life. This does not make it acceptable to bully though. If caught there should be consequences; it could be to talk to the school councilor to deal with hurt or anger or else it could be suspension from school. Communication is the key to seeing what the conflict is really about.
Kaila, 10, Edmonton, AB
Lots of people get bullied at school and the teachers and principals donít even care. They just tell you that itís not a big deal. I think something has to be done about bullying. Iím one of the few girls in my class that donít get bullied because everyone knows if they hurt me Iíll defend myself and get the other person hurt, but bullying should be stopped and quick!
Alicia, 11, Canada
I think it is very wrong to bully because people that are getting bullied often kill them selves if it is bad and doesn't stop right away!
Angelo B., 9 High Bluff, MB
I think that bullying is a problem because kids can get hurt, threatened, scared and upset because of the bully. Kids should just tell their parents if they get bullied. At my school there is hardly any bullying.
Cameron, 12, Canada
I think that bullying is a result of deep emotional conflict within oneself. I think that everyone has bullied someone else during their lifetime and whether or not his/her actions have made an impact on the other person's life depends on a variety of things.
But I also feel that schools neither do enough to prevent bullying, nor handle it. School officials need to treat each person within the situation equally and individually to properly handle it.
Erin, 13, Canada
Bullying is really bad. No one will touch me because I'm probably the only girl who would beat them up. But I'm not mean. It all starts mostly from the guys. They're the only ones who tease me, but when they do I just hit them or something to keep them quiet. It hurts being bullied, just because I'm not bullied now doesn't mean that I never was. All through elementary I was called all the names in the books. Later as I went to middle school, I realized why they do it. It's nothing about me, it's them. They're messed up inside them and so they need someone to take their anger out at. They usually look for people who they know won't do much about it. Because it makes them feel good inside, when really everyone sees them as a very cruel person. I think it has to be stopped, and no I don't mean for the older kids, we can take care of ourselves. I don't need an adult to sit and tell me to just walk away, yeah maybe in their time it worked, but nowadays you have to not be afraid to speak up and to fight. It's the young children who are at stake and something more needs to be done. It's the kids who don't have any older siblings to defend them that usually get teased. Like for an example, no one would ever touch my little brother, but some kids don't have that comfort of knowing someone is there for you. That's what's really sad!
Kristina, 10, Canada
At shcool I get bullyed every day. Once some people from my class took me behind a portable and beat me up. I told the teacher but they did nothing. And even today I still get bullied. Even some times the bullies have told the other kids that if they play with me that they would get picked on too. One of my friends had to stop playing with me at school so that she wouldn't get hurt. If I tell the teacher about what is going on she tells me that it isn't as bad as I think it is and she doesn't do anything about it.
Korrie, 12, Cochrane, AB
I think that kids bully others because they are bullied themselves.
Victoria, 11, Canada
I've been bullied since I was 6 because of buck teeth and by being smaller than the average person in our class. When I told on one of them all the teachers did was warn him and tell him not to do it again. I was called names and beaten up numerous times and nothing was done. The schools don't punish enough for bullying.
Sandra, 33, Nova Scotia
I survived many years of torment in junior and high school from people I feel had their own insecurities. It never leaves you. It does a number on how you feel about yourself. When you hear negative things about yourself on a daily basis with nobody to point out the positives, all you start doing is believing it. I just wish I would have realized back then that it was only the opinion of a small few, opinions of people that have no place in your future anyway. Talk to someone if you are being bullied. They can help. You are worth it!
Mimi, 10, BC
I hate when people get bullied! That never happened in my school! But it's really mean! I have one thing to say: that bullying HAS to STOP! Some people bully others for no reason at all! Some do it because they think they're better than others! It's not fair! If you see someone get bullied, please stand up for them, or tell the nearest grown-up or teacher! Bullying has to stop!
Leandra, 11, Canada
Well bullying isn't really bad at my school, but some schools whoooo!! They are soooo bad when it comes to bullying. And kids can't make fun of me because I am always bigger than them. But still some people still bully and it's a sad world.
Angel, 12, Toronto, ON
I think that bullying is a major situation in school especially when your older because most of the victims usually go for suicide or hurting other people or even trying to join a bad group of friends to attack the bully. I think that it should be stopped and I think that weapons like guns should be either locked away safely or put away somewhere higher.
I think that others bully people because they have their own problems and they think hurting other people will solve them. Some people are just stressed, upset or angry. They think hurting others either emotionally or physically will help them. It doesn't. A way to stop it is by showing consequences or what happens to those who have been bullied.
Andrea M., 14, Whitby, ON
Bullying is a problem at our school and I do not agree with it one bit. I think the people who bully often do it because they are troubled and want to take their anger out on someone probably younger and defenseless. This case shows that the bully feels better when they put someone down and continues to do so until their problems stop. I think that bullying can be stopped if the right actions are taken and the bully is put into their place and feel the pain that the victim had to once feel. In conclusion, that is how I feel about bullying!
Cara, 12, Calgary, AB
Bullying isn't a big problem at my school but I have heard about some kids' stories on bullying on the news and stuff. I think that bullying is a wayfor kids to show others that they are bigger and stronger, but I also think thatwe should do something about it. It is not a good thing and it affects a lot of kids.
Bronwyn, 13, Okotoks
Bullying isn't a big problem at mt school to tell you the truth. I have never seen any one in my school bullying someone ever. Once two boys in Grade 6started fighting because they were seeing who was a better wrestler, but no bullying. In my old school a girl used to always bug me so my parents thought that they would put me in another school. I haven't seen her for a long, long time. I think kids bully other people because they think they're cool doing it or maybe they don't get that much attention at home. But I think only people who are bullies can answer why they bully other kids.
Alex, 10, Okotoks
Bullying is not a problem at our school. At my old school it was though. People would go around hitting a certain person for no reason. Well a couple kids play wrestle sometimes and kids wind up getting hurt. Why do bullies bully people?
Scott G. (Pres./Founder of kids4kids.ca), 38, Waterdown, ON
Bullying is an issue that is frequently ignored by many people. In my dealings with schools I often hear, "We do not have a bullying problem at ourschool," when I know for a fact that there are numerous instances of bullying. Bullying is ignored, rationalized and minimized at the expense of the children who are being victimized. We need to take the scenarios which are happening in the United States as warnings and use this knowledge to help and empower our children so they are no longer victims.
Amy, 11, St. Mary's, ON
I think the reason people bully is for attention. Or they grow up in an abusive family. If someone is bullying, never fight back. Fighting just make the situation worse.
I think people bully each other because they can't take themselves as who they are or their parents beat them. I don't see a lot of bullying at my school, but when I do I try to stop it.
Allana, 13, Canada
In my school community, bullying is hardly a major issue to deal with. I suppose some people think it's because of location, whether it is a dangerous neighborhood or a high-society area. I, on the other hand, do not think so. I believe it is the atmosphere that the CHILDREN produce. Upon whether the bullies have a reason for their actions, that will have to be left for the experts.
Anita, 11, Pembroke, ON
I get teased all the time at my school and I think that's the same thing as getting bullied. Kids are getting picked on because of the way they look or the way they act. I get called a tomboy just because I like and play a lot of sports and stick up for myself. I don't think kids should get punished too harshly, but enough to make them stop. Sometimes I even think about doing stuff that I would never actually do to someone. The only reason bullies are doing this is because they're not getting punished enough and to be cool or tough. Eventually they're going to get burnt and will shut up and I hope that happens to someone at my school soon or I don't know what I'll do!
At our school it is not really a problem, but I guess I did not notice until girls are going up to each other saying, "you like him or her or you can't be my friend if you like them." But the reason I did not notice is because I have never got bullied in my life. But things are not as bad now that we have the dare to care program.
Izzy P., 9, Vancouver, B.C.
I think that in Grade 3 there shouldn't be bullying, but unfortunately there is. I have been spit on, called names and sometimes he\she has stuck uphis\her middle finger up at me this all by the same person (I guess this happens when you're in a 3\4 split). I am tired of it and think it should be stopped! Thank you for reading my terrible troubles.
Amanda, 11, B.C.
I have the answer. Bullies bully 'cause they want to have friends and attention! All bullies think bullying will help them make friends. I tell bullies not to bully if they want friends. Some bullies bully 'cause they think it's fun and think they're powerful. What I do to stop bullies is confusethem by agreeing with them, or telling them that they'll lose their friends and hurt other people's feelings.
Kirstie T., 9, Canada
Bullying isn't a major problem at my school. Most kids are kind and have a good sense of humor at my school. I think bullies bully because they think they are cool and they want attention. But the only attention they are giving is trouble! And if you are ever in any situation like that, it is always great to have friends by your side to stand up for you! There is away to make people stop bullying. The first thing to do is tell them how you feel when they bully you If that doesn't work, tell a teacher or a principal. If they don't do anything then it is time you told your parents. They will tell the principal or talk to the bully or maybe even write a note to your teacher. And remember about the Golden Rule: Only treat others the way you want to be treated!
Katelyn B., 16, Jarvis, ON
There is a problem with bullies because when you grow up, the bullies get worse and use weapons and it isn't pretty because a lot of people die, like my friends.
Ashley, 13, Ontario
Yes I think there is a problem with bullies at my school! The teacher don't really pay any attention to them. Last year my friend got beat up by a bully because they thought we were talking about her but we weren't. When we told the principal he didn't care, he just said she's not a bully and blow it off. I think kids bully because they want attention or maybe they've been bullied before when they were little, or peer pressure maybe. They think kids will think they are cool or tough.
Jessica, 13, Caledon East
We have some bullies or fights at our school. I think people bully other people 'cause they wanna be cool. People get in trouble for (if they are caught) bullying, but it doesn't really work! I don't think it's a major prob. because we don't have a fight every break or something like that.
Matthew G., 9, Canada
Bullying is no problem at my school because we have a hands-off policy.
Ian, 13, Alberta
Bullies prey on kids for many reasons, and not the stereotypical ones adults put on them. In the past, bullies were insecure, oversized brutes from broken homes and in desperate need for attention. Nowadays, none of that is true. Ask kids around you. Is the school bully a broken, helpless child, victim of the lousy hand life dealt them? Maybe so. If so, forget about reading the rest of this. That's a whole different problem. As I was saying...HA! Don't make me laugh! 80% of the time, the kids are popular and the last person an adult would suspect to be one. Most kids tease others because it makes them look tough. Making them ride high at the expense of others. Bullies are also treated better by their peers then respectable model students in schools. Everyone tries to be their friend, and the people who don't like you for being a bully still respect you and don't show any sign that their actions are offensive to them. Bullies are also the people in the class who are good at sports, popular, and often have a good solid background to hold them up if someone tries to strike back in defense. So the main reason people bully is because kids nowadays support them for their prejudiced actions. So, when you get letters from kids saying that people are bullies because they have no friends, I'd just say, look around. You probably mooch up or hang around with them. I know I do. The people I hang around with are often making people feel insecure of themselves, and for that, I hate myself. So all I ask is for people to read this and take into account on who bullies really are and society's awful position to support such acts.
Thuy V., 12, Fredericksburg
Yes, bullying is a very big problem at my school. I think other students bully others because they might be not satisfied with something or they just want to make us feel bad and small so they can take advantage of us. Yes there is a way to stop bullying. The advice is to stand up and talk to them If we ignore them they're just like a boomerang that keeps on coming back to hurt us.
Jonathan, 11, Richmond Hill, ON
I think that some students bully others because they might be afraid of what people say about them or they just do it to show off and make themselves look cool when they're actually making a big mistake.
Delaney J., 8, Canada
I think that the bullies at schools don't really mean to be like that. I think that it's just how their parents are treating them or they are just mad and they take it out on others in the school or they're just having a hard time at school or in their life.
Jamie F., 12, St. John's, NF
Dear CBC, I think that schools should do something about it because I just watched the National on CBC and I saw kids getting gum put in their hair, being called names and pushed and having to go to another school pretty far away. What I think is that the staff should do something if a child asks for help and they should ask the child who did it and go talk to the person that they said that did it. They should not just tell the parents they're doing everything that they can. They should tell the parents what they are doing and that's what I think about bullying.
Cate B., 10, Owen Sound, ON
Dear CBC, There is not much bullying at my school. My school only goes from Grade 4 to Grade 8.We all kind of mind our own business. In my opinion, some bullies have problems and they take them out on other students. I also think that once it starts it becomes "cool." That is my opinion on bullying.
Hannah M., 8, Grand Prairie, AB
I don't think bullying people should be allowed. It may look and sound cool, butthe details aren't so good and I don't think it should be allowed at school. It should be done someplace else.
Fatima, 11, Canada
I think that bullying is dumb! I mean people should not beat up other kids or call other kidsnames etc. I mean why should kids fight? They usually fight because of someone's religion or someone'scolour. Sometimes people bully because they want money. The main reason people become bullies is becauseother kids bully them. So they take their anger out on other kids by bullying them. People should notbully. They should treat other kids nicely and not hurt them in any ways!
Trish D., 46, Calgary, AB
I thought by sending my child to a private Christian school that bullying would not be aproblem. I was wrong. My daughter who is now 9 years old has been a victim. I did not realize until thisyear how much she has been emotionally affected. I'm a very concerned Mom and deeply disapointed.
Jesse T., 11, Hawton Corner
I think bullying is wrong but if you need help, talk to someone. Stand up for yourself!
Courtney O., 11, Canada
Is bullying a problem at my school: My school is very goodbullying wise. There are barely any bullying things. I have gotten bullied kind of. My friends (oneis no longer my friend -- I am not going to mention any names)have called me names, left me out, andthey talk behind my back constantly. No matter what I do to make them stop, one will not stop, butthe other is getting much, much, much, much, MUCH better.Why students bully other kids: I think some students bully other smaller kids, because maybe theirlife is not very good, so they take it down on a smaller kid than them, to make them feel morepowerful.How to stop bullying: Bullying, I think, is almost impossible to stop. It has been around forever,and there will probably, even in the year 40,675, be SOME type of bullying.
Stephanie, 10, Edmonton, AB
I think bullying is awful. Bullies have no reason or right to bully people around. Sometimes kids are afraid to go outside at recess because of the bullies. Bullies should just learn to be nice and not bully people around.
Erin & Sara M., 12& almost 13, Surrey, B.C.
If the subject is bullying, I think somebody needs to do something about it! In my school, there is more verbal bullying than physical. But what can I do? HELP! We need to stop bullying! NOW!
Jennifer, 12, Canada
I think school bullies bully other children around because they have difficulties at home and they take it out on other children. The bullies could think if they hurt other children the pain at home would go away.
Molu, 12, UAE
Stop bullying? Yes i have a way. Say thank you everytime they bully you.
Rosa, 12, New Brunswick
Yes, bullying is a big problem, at least at my school. Kids get teased for all sorts of reasons, none of which they deserve to be hit or teased for.
Lina S., 11, London, ON
Bullying is a problem at my school. People bully each other because they tease and make fun of each other. Luckily, I have never bullied any one and it will stay that way. I have no clue how you can stop bullying.
Emily, 10, Peterborough, ON
Yes I think there is a way to stop people from being bullies! Maybe if everyone played with everyone and there was no one feeling left out, we could stop people from being bullies.
Dana, 10, Toronto, ON
I think it's terrible and should be stopped. I've been bullied all my life because I'm short for my age. I'm 4'2. Another experience is someone gave letters to everyone except me and it said: dear _______, I hate you from Dana. But it wasn't from me.
Tammy, 10, Toronto, ON
Bullying is cruel and should be stopped! When I was in PRESCHOOL, people made fun of me because I liked Barney, in PRESCHOOL, people! (By the way, I don't like it any more!) Also, I've been made fun of this year because I'm too short for my age (4'3). But one person stands by my side: my friend Sabrina. I think there should be more people like Sabrina because they show people who's "boss."
Brittany, 13, Salt Spring Island
I think bullying is a real problem, not at my school but at other schools. It lowers kids self-esteem. If you are being bullied, you think of it 24/7 then because you're thinking about that, you don't pay as much attention in class and then you get in trouble.
Yan X., 11, Toronto, ON
Students are bullies because they have a family problem.
Maureen F., 11, Canada
I think it is really stupid! I mean, we were watching this video in class about bullying and when the kid who was being bullied got hit by a car (he was runnung away from them) that's when the bullies realized that what they were doing was wrong!
Jean-Luc H., 9, Brampton, ON
I think bullying is wrong because the older kids are being looked up on by grades lower then them. Some of them are following their path. All we know is that when these kids grow up, they might end up in jail.
Carter, 9, Oshawa, ON
Bullying isn't a major problem at our school. Once a kid tried to bully me and I beat him up, but hey, he never bullied anybody much ever again. As for why kids bully other kids, that's a mystery...
Safeguarding Your Children at School
Helping Children Deal with a School Bully
Profile on Bullies
The following are traits common to bullies:
∑ They are concerned with their own pleasure rather than thinking about anyone else.
∑ They want power.
∑ They are willing to use other people to get what they want.
∑ They feel hurt inside.
∑ They find it difficult to see things from someone else's perspective.
From Helping Kids Handle Conflict, National Crime Prevention Council in association with the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Bullying is often considered a "kids will be kids" problem. According to the National School Safety Center, however, bullying has become a pervasive and serious form of harassment in many schools. Dr. Dan Olweus, a professor of psychology and leading expert on bully-victim problems, reports that one child in 10 is regularly attacked either verbally or physically by bullies. Elementary school-age children are the most frequent target of bullying by older students. The best way to safeguard your children from becoming a victim of a bully is to teach them how to be assertive. This involves encouraging your children to express their feelings clearly, to say no when they feel pressured or uncomfortable, to stand up for themselves verbally without fighting, and to walk away in more dangerous situations. Bullies are less likely to intimidate children who are confident and resourceful.
Tips for Helping Children Deal with Bullies
Teach your children early on to steer clear of youth with bullying behavior.
Teach your children to be assertive rather than aggressive or violent when confronted by a bully. Instruct them to walk away and get help from an adult in more dangerous situations. Practice various responses with your children through role-playing.
Teach your children to never defend themselves from bullies with a gun or other weapon.
Keep communication lines open with your children. Encourage your children to share information about school and school-related activities.
Pay attention to the following symptoms that may indicate your child is being bullied: withdrawal, abrupt lack of interest in school, a drop in grades, or signs of physical abuse.
If your child is a victim of bullying at school, inform school officials immediately. Keep your own written records of the names, dates, times, and circumstances of bullying incidents. Submit a copy of this report to the school principal.
Respond to your children's concerns and fears with patience, love, and support.
For More Information
Safe at School: Awareness and Action for Parents of Kids K-12
by Carol Silverman Saunders
Free Spirit Publishing Inc.
400 First Ave. N., Suite 616
The tips in this book help parents deal with bullying, gangs, sexual harassment, and other school safety issues.
Set Straight on Bullies
by Stuart Greenbaum with Brenda Turner and Ronald D.Stephens
National School Safety Center
4165 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite 290
Westlake Village, CA 91362
The problem of bullying is examined in this book. It offers prevention and intervention strategies for parents, teachers, and students.
Why Is Everybody Always Picking on Me? A Guide to Handle Bullies
by Terrence Webster-Doyle
Atrium Society Publications
P.O. Box 816
Middlebury, VT 05753
(800) 966-1998 or (802) 388-0922
This book helps children and teens to develop the confidence needed to resolve conflicts without fighting and to cope with bullies.
DEALING WITH BULLIES
TAKE A STAND: Prevention of bullying and interpersonal violence NEW SCHOOL PROGRAM 2000
Bullying is something most children encounter in one form or another. Children struggle with being called names, being picked upon, being excluded, not knowing how to make friends, or being the ones acting unkindly or aggressively toward others. All forms of bullying are abusive and all are opportunities to teach children how to get along, how to be considerate people, how to be part of a community or group.
The TAKE A STAND Program is a revolutionary approach to prevention of bullying. Starting at the Kindergarten level and progressing through Grade 5, children learn about bullying, its effects, how to stop it and the importance of mutual acceptance and respect.
For the first time, schools, churches, youth groups, after school programs, etc have a tool to teach all children how to be advocates for creating a community that will not tolerate bullying behaviors; to teach children who are bullied how to stand up for themselves; and to teach the bullies themselves alternate ways of handling their own feelings of not belonging.
At the same time, teachers, school administrators and parents learn that it is possible to TAKE A STAND for having a community that will not tolerate bullying. For too long, adults have believed that bullying is just part of growing up, that there have always been kids who are jocks and kids who are geeks; those who are "in" and those who are "out." This acceptance has prevented adults from stopping this pattern.
The TAKE A STAND Program challenges this acceptance from the earliest possible age, creating a new standard for interpersonal relationships. Just as children led the drive to use seatbelts and to reduce smoking, they are the leaders in setting a new course for how we treat one another.
The TAKE A STAND Program creates a school-wide community of interpersonal problem solving and mutual respect that has been embraced by school administrators, teachers, parents and children. If you would like this Program to be a part of your children's education, please share this information with your school, youth group or Parent Teacher organization.
Dr. Sherryll Kraizer, author of the TAKE A STAND Program, has a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in youth at risk. She if also the author of the Safe Child Program; the REACH and CHALLENGE Programs for at-risk youth; the RECOVERY Program for previously victimized children; and a Prevention of Dating Violence Program. Dr. Kraizer is internationally recognized for her prevention programs and creating models for maximizing community-wide participation in prevention effectiveness.
The TAKE A STAND Program will be available for delivery in August, 2000 for implementation in the 2000 school year.
Cost: $195 includes complete set of teaching guides and training videotape. Additional copies of the teaching guides are $10 each.
To order, please go to order form.
Bullying can take many forms: physical, emotional, verbal or a combination of these. It may involve one child bullying another, a group of children against a single child or groups against other groups (gangs). It is not unlike other forms of victimization and abuse in that it involves:
an imbalance of power
differing emotional tones, the victim will be upset whereas the bully is cool and in control
blaming the victim for what has happened
lack of concern on the part of the bully for the feelings and concerns of the victim
a lack of compassion
Bullies are very often children who have been bullied or abused themselves. Sometimes they are children experiencing life situations they can't cope with, that leave them feeling helpless and out of control. They may be children with poor social skills, who do not fit in, who can't meet the expectations of their family or school. They bully to feel competent, successful, to control someone else, to get some relief from their own feelings of powerlessness.
WHO ARE THE VICTIMS
Not all children are equally likely to be victimized by bullying behavior. Those children who are more prone to be picked upon tend to have the following characteristics:
lack of social skills,
don't pick up on social cues
cry or become emotionally distraught easily,
unable to defend or stand up for themselves
Some children actually seem to provoke their own victimization. These children will tease bullies, make themselves a target by egging the person on, not knowing when to stop and then not being able to effectively defend themselves when the balance of power shifts to the bully.
Children who are not bullied tend to have better social skills and conflict management skills. They are more willing to assert themselves about differences without being aggressive or confronting. They suggest compromises and alternate solutions. They tend to be more aware of people's feelings and are the children who can be most helpful in resolving disputes and assisting other children to get help.
IF YOUR CHILD IS BEING BULLIED
If you learn your child is being bullied, you may immediately want to protect your child and confront the aggressor. You may feel embarrassed and want your child to toughen up, to get in there and fight back. You may feel helpless yourself. None of these responses are helpful.
Get as much information as you can about what has happened. Avoid blaming anyone, including the bullying child or children. Look at your own child's behavior and style of interacting. Ask yourself what you know about your child and how you can turn the immediate situation around.
If you are going to get in touch with the parents of a bullying child, remember that they will probably feel defensive. Keep in mind that your goal is to have a safe and nurturing environment for all of the children, not to escalate an already difficult situation. (For tips on talking to parents of bullies, see The Safe Child Book.)
For your own children, there are several steps you can take.
discuss alternatives to responding to bullies.
don't react, walk away, get help if pursued
agree with the bully, saying "You're right." and walking away.
Role-play - just as in prevention of child abuse, role-play is what makes the skills real. Actually walk through situations and have your child practice different responses. Discuss prevention techniques such as staying with other kids. Do not get involved with bullies in any kind of interchange. Don't take it personally, it's really the bullies problems that are causing the situation, not you.
IF YOUR CHILD IS THE BULLY
What every parent doesn't want to hear - your child is behaving like a bully.
Your first response will probably be defensive. Disarm the situation and buy yourself some time to process what's being said. For example, "Instead of labeling my child, please tell me what happened." Make yourself really listen. Remember that this discussion is ultimately about the well-being of your child, regardless of how its being framed.
Even if your child is behaving aggressively or acting like a bully, remember that this behavior is probably coming from your child's feelings of vulnerability. You need to look for what is going on in your child's interactions with others and what is going on internally, causing your child to behave that way. (Also see REACH and CHALLENGE Programs.)
In talking with your child, DO NOT BLAME. Do not get into a discussion about the "whys" of what happened. Your discussion should focus on several key points:
Bullying is not acceptable in our family or in society.
If you are feeling frustrated or angry or aggressive, here are some things you can do.
Remember to role-play, act out the new behaviors.
Ask, how can I help you with this? Who could you go to in school if you see yourself getting into this type of situation again?
Specify concretely the consequences if the aggression or bullying continue.
You want to stop the behavior, understand your child's feelings, then teach and reward more appropriate behavior.
As soon as children begin to interact with others, we can begin to teach them not to be bullies and not to be bullied. We can give them words for their feelings, limit and change their behavior and teach them better ways to express their feelings and wishes. Children do not learn to solve these kinds of problems and get along by themselves. We need to teach them.
When preschoolers begin to call people names or use unkind words, intervene immediately and consistently. In kindergarten children learn the power of exclusion. We begin to hear things like, "She's not my friend and she can't come to my party." Respond with, "You don't have to be friends with her today, but it's not all right to make her feel bad by telling her she can't come to your party."
In the early elementary grades, cliques and little groups develop which can be quite exclusionary and cruel. Children need to hear clearly from us, "It's not all right to treat other people this way. How do you think she feels being told she can't play with you? Kids don't have to play with everyone or even like everyone, but they can't be cruel about excluding others.
Boys who are physically small or weak are more prone to victimization. Making fun, picking on and other forms of bullying need to be identified in their earliest stages. The message needs to be crystal clear: This is not okay. Think about how he must feel. How could you include him and let other kids know its not all right to treat others this way?
Children who are not bullies or victims have a powerful role to play in shaping the behavior of other children. Teach your children to speak up on behalf of children being bullied. "Don't treat her that way, it's not nice." "Hitting is not a good way to solve problems, let's find a teacher and talk about what happened."
For more examples and role-play situations, or for coaching on talking to parents or teachers about bullying, please refer to The Safe Child Book.
Copyright © 1996 -2000 Coalition for Children, Inc., Sherryll Kraizer, Ph.D. and The Levi Company
The above material is from:
© Copyright 2001 www.bullying.org All Rights Reserved.
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