If you asked Terry ten years ago, he would have told you he couldn’t wait for school to be over. He had either witnessed or experienced almost every bullying statistic known to man and privately believed that the experts estimated low because many people refuse to speak out. For example, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 20.1% of kids in 9th through 12th grades reported being bullied at school and 16.2% reported being harassed electronically, hence, comes the need for more Anti-Bullying Awareness.
From his perspective, it had seemed like a lot more when he was in school. Arkofhopeforchildren.org states that 75% of school shootings have been linked to bullies or harassment. He had witnessed kids bringing guns to school for protection against bullies and even thought about it himself. Like many bullied teens, he had:
- Been so depressed he ate very little for weeks at a time
- Missed school to avoid bullies
- Felt physical pain and stomach upset at the thought of going to school
- Looked up to see other students watching but did nothing
- Failed to commit suicide
- Reported bullying to a teacher which resulted in one counseling session and nothing else.
In 2010, Washington State published the analytical report for a Healthy Youth Survey conducted in 2008. 19% of the 10th graders had seriously considered suicide while 9% actually attempted it, stating that there was no adult to turn to or they did not know if they had an adult to turn to. These statistics reflect the survivors who took the survey, thus bringing in the need for Anti-Bullying Awareness.
The CDC states that “Deaths from youth suicide are only part of the problem” because more survive than the 4600 who died. There are 157,000 people between ages 10 and 24 who are treated for self-inflicted wounds each year. They go on to say that while males are more successful than females, 81% compared to 19% respectively, girls report suicide attempts more freely than males on the average, raising the need for more targeted Anti-Bullying Awareness campaigns.
It gets even worse for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth ages 13 to 21. According to the CDC:
- 8 out of 10 are harassed verbally at school,
- 4 out of 10 physically,
- 6 out of 10 don’t feel safe at school, and
- 1 out of 5 have been assaulted at school.
Ten years later he is still thankful that he’s out of school but the bullying continues in the workplace. When he looks back, he knows that he can survive workplace bullying because he saw it all in grade school. Those experiences made him stronger and very confident that he can survive anything, but as Workplacebullying.org states, he’s now a target because he concentrated on the books as a youth to get his mind off his social problems. He became very intelligent and competent. That competence now makes him a threat to some of his peers, including his boss, who:
- Consistently make jokes as he passes by,
- Place offensive signs or inappropriately edited cartoons outside his cubicle,
- Assign him impossible tasks,
- Hold meetings where the entire point seems to be to humiliate him,
- Have made it impossible to make new friends at work.
Try as he might to confront his oppressors, he is unsuccessful and scorned all the more for it. He:
- Can barely afford therapy,
- Lives with more stress daily than he thinks a person should legally,
- Has to control his blood pressure with medicine,
- Doesn’t fight back, and
- Is threatened with suspension or firing if he doesn’t endure the abuse.
He was hopeful that things were improving for newer generations when he saw the documentary “Bully” making national headlines and appearing in major theaters in 2011. People were talking about it everywhere and the web was buzzing with anti-bullying quotes. People were talking bad about bullying everywhere and he expected that kids would find new courage to come forward and that school officials would be able to stomp out most of the bullying. Public awareness about bullying was an all-time high but the statistics continue to progress anyway. Suicidology.org still reports suicide as the third leading cause of death in the age group 15 to 24.
“It’s only been a couple of years since that movie came out,” Terry thinks to himself. There is still time to keep the ball rolling. Surely public awareness of bullying can change people’s attitudes and behaviors. But how can he get the message out? He searches the internet and finds statistics, stories, reports of bullying-related suicides and several blogs. It occurs to him that he could blog some to increase public awareness.
While many of the blogs are very professional, run by non-profit organizations or at least partially funded by government agencies and corporations looking for tax deductions, others are run by regular people who were either like himself, bullied his entire life, or by someone who’s child’s life has been touched in a negative way by bullying. One doesn’t have to experience it to have lasting emotional repercussions. Witnessing it first-hand can be bad enough, but to lose a child, sibling or friend can be devastating.
The beginning stages of researching blogs seem frustrating because the simple searches return only results about marketing, how to increase sales and generate leads for business. He isn’t out to make money on it, just do his part to make the world a bully-free zone.
He has two main objectives for Anti-Bullying Awareness …
- To promote workplace bullying laws like the bill workplacebullying.org is trying to get passed. While 25 states have carried the bill, none have adopted it as law.
- Promote public awareness.
For fun, he researches the definition of marketing and discovers that it doesn’t necessarily have to be for profit. He can market an idea for free. All of the tips, rules and advice that apply to marketing blogs can also apply to anti-workplace bullying blogs. While he’s encouraged by that thought, he is also aware that he’s going to spend a great deal of time working on this without the monetary returns that others seek in marketing blogs. 100% self-funded.
He also has to consider how much time he can afford to spend on this project. He discovers that anyone can help promote anti-bullying awareness blogs and the biggest factor is how much time they want to spend.
He learns a little bit about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Now he’s got a second wind because this is more than encouraging. A web designer uses SEO tactics such as meta-tags and keywords to try to get a higher ranking when someone is researching something. Most people do not scroll past the first page of results so it’s important to get high placement – on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) if possible.
Google, Yahoo and Bing are only three of the hundreds of search engines out there. They want people to return the best quality results when someone is searching something because they make money on advertising. They send “Bots,” “Spiders,” and other types of automated web-crawlers to search the web for new content, new web-pages and changes to existing web-pages. They download the page so that it can be “indexed” where the words are counted and the highest ranking results in the index receive higher placement in the search results (there are exceptions such as paid placement ads, sites that pay for higher listing and well-designed sites that keep track of the latest SEO techniques.
Terry figured out that if he to a blog and uses those keywords in the response, as well as try to make an interesting point that others will respond to, the web-crawlers will find more instances of those keywords to index, helping it get higher results. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy response and he can even put a link to another blog somewhere else where people can follow that chain and respond there as well. More keywords and higher results would result in more public awareness.
The second way would require more time and study. He wanted to start his own site and build his own blog with articles about various topics to bring in traffic. Visitors would see headlines about the latest newsworthy, anti-bullying articles with an attractive headline to promote interest. Having a blog there would encourage others to respond and if he blogged daily he would cultivate more interest. According to Hubspot.org, 82% of the blogs updated daily generate new followers as compared to the sites updated monthly (57%).