The first thing you notice is that there’s “something wrong.” Your child’s attitude has changed, they seem preoccupied or worried, they’ve stopped laughing, and, not only do they not want to go to school, they “fear” it. As a caring parent, you recognize the symptoms but you’re not sure what exactly the cause behind it is. Without your child openly discussing their problems with you (which we know is rare), they could be suffering from “bullying” at school. If your child is the victim of “Verbal Bullying,” it will include:
• being called “names”
• negative comments of a sexual nature
• teasing or taunting
• physical and emotionally based threats
“Social Bullying” is aimed at damaging your child’s reputation or friendships by
• deliberately ignoring them
• circulating rumors about another person
• telling other kids to stay away
• public humiliation
“Physical Bullying” is literally following through on the verbal threats or actually hurting the body or possessions including:
• hitting, kicking, pushing, pinching
• being spit on
• intentionally tripping
• stealing or damaging personal property
• threatening hand gestures
Once you have established that your child is the victim of bullying, your first course of action may be “bully revenge.” Fighting “fire with fire” in order to protect your loved ones is understandable, but wrong. The act of vengeance adds to the cycle of hate and the bigger that gets, the more people are involved.
All one has to do is stop, take a breath and look at the world and the hate based crimes, wars, and suicides that have resulted from a single act of hate. Now add to that the irreparable damage that’s been done by folks “taking the law into their own hands” claiming “Bully Revenge” is theirs!”
Violence simply and always will beget violence…unless, the motivation behind the assaults are understood and dealt with. Acts of bullying occur first in the mind, why? The simple answer without knowing the detail of each individual case is, hurting people – hurt people. When a “bully’s” personal pain manifests into verbally or physically attacking another person it is as obvious a “cry for help” as someone standing on a bridge ready to jump. Feeling helpless to help themselves, they recklessly lash out, consuming everyone in their path.
Some of the reasons bullying is even more pervasive in our society is due to the easy access to social media. Posting pictures and videos online is a very common way of blackmailing someone or damaging another person’s reputation. The ability to send multiple emails from “behind the curtain” gives the bully a false sense of protection by becoming invisible.
Fortunately, “cyber bullying” in conjunction with the verbal, physical and social bullying has also been addressed and there are legal steps you can take to stop them from hurting your family any further.
Reporting Cyber Bullying to School Authorities and Internet Providers
• Cyber – Bullying will inevitably create a distracting environment at school causing disruption in the school yard or classroom.
• It will often direct attention to the person behind the bullying.
• Most schools have incorporated anti-bullying policies and strategies to deal with bullying so the more definitive proof you have the better.
• Immediately report all forms of cyber – bullying to your ISP
• Notify your local police department if you’re being stalked.
• Maintain records or document patterns of cyber – bullying
• The act of Cyber – Bullying may violate the terms of service agreed to in attaining the social media site(s) used for the abuse so reporting the details to the appropriate site is crucial.
• Reviewing the terms and contractual obligations of the user will inform you of the sites view of inappropriate conduct.
• Some social media sites offer information on how to block users and/or change your setting options allowing you to control who contacts or visits you.
Steps to Take Immediately
• Keep all forms, pictures, videos, or text messages related to the abuse including all dates, times and details surrounding the event.
• Print out screenshots, emails, and instant messages whenever possible for presenting proof to cellphone and Internet providers.
• Enable the “Block” option on your email account.
The federal government offers the following resources to help inform the public on youth bullying:
In 2011 the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that, in a national study, 20 percent of all students from the 9th through 12th grade experienced some form of bullying.
In 2008–2009 a School Crime Supplement documented by the National Center for Educational Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicated that on a nationwide basis, 28 percent of all students from the 6th through 12th grade personally experienced some form of bullying.
How to Get Revenge on a Bully? Let’s Ask the Experts!
One of the most important, proactive measures you can take as a “witness” to bullying is to “stop it on the spot!”
• Intervene ASAP with the help of another adult if necessary.
• Physically separate those involved.
• Assess the physical damage if any.
• Call 911 for police or medical assistance.
• Remain calm. Speak reassuringly to parties involved and witnesses.
• Maintain a mature and respectful countenance.
Avoiding commonly made mistakes such as ignoring the situation or immediately trying to mediate or fix everything. Never try to sort things out, take sides or force a confession from someone. Watch what you say in the presence of other children and only speak to the kids involved separately – not together. Resist the temptation to try and patch things up with an apology.
In the event you’re not sure you should call the police, note the following conditions:
• You see any type of weapon is involved.
• You or another person is physically threatened.
• Evidence of racially, or hate – motivated crime.
• Obvious bodily injury.
• Evidence of sexual abuse.
Remember, “Bully Revenge” is not an effective option without utilizing the knowledge, laws and consequences put in place to punish the offenders. Bullying has and always will be an aggressive, imbalanced, manifestation of power. Reacting erratically or emotionally could cause greater harm in the long run, so use the tools available to you and get “your revenge” the smart way.