Bullying is a fact of life. It seems everyone agrees there is a problem with bullying in our schools, as well as in other parts of our lives. Anti bullying campaigns are popping up everywhere in response to the situation. The federal government has developed the “Stop Bullying” campaign. The “I Choose” anti bullying campaign has also received some acclaim. Secret launched the “Mean Stinks” anti bullying campaign and chose Demi Lovato as their spokesperson. Lovato jumped at the chance to be able to connect with her fans on a new level, admitting at one time she had been bullied as well.
What is being done in an Anti Bullying Campaign?
Schools across the country have implemented anti bullying campaigns within their respective schools in the hopes of preventing attacks on students. Prevention is the key to protecting students while they are on school grounds. Ensuring a student’s safety once they leave school, however is a different story. When a student leaves school, the parents must be involved to pick where the school leaves off. Cyber bullying that occurs online most often takes place once the student is in the comfort of their own home.
So what can be done by parents, teachers and students to help stop the bullying many kids face? We can’t be with our children constantly to protect them from bullies or others who would try to harm them. What we can do is educate the students on how to handle themselves in difficult situations. We can also educate parents and teachers on what to look for if we believe a child or student is being harassed or bullied at school.
Anti Bullying Campaign: Focus on the Solution
We know the problem. Being bullied can be devastating to the child being attacked
Instead of teaching children how to be victims, teach them how to survive. Children who act like victims are more often treated like victims. Bullies tend to focus on the weakest of the weak to pick on. Those kids are less likely to fight back and offer the least resistance when it comes to giving up something the bully wants.
The solution is not to be found in fighting back, but to be self-confident enough to not be an easy target. Bullies will avoid kids who act like they can take care of themselves. Teach students to look for safe havens. If they feel like they are being watched, go into a classroom or the office where they won’t have to worry about being alone. Stay near crowded areas where there are a lot of eye witnesses.
If a student witnesses someone being bullied, they need to step up and say something. If they don’t feel comfortable doing that, they should go to the principal or a parent and tell them what they saw. Speaking out should not be considered tattling or ratting someone out. It could save another student’s life.
Anti Bullying Campaign : Educate People on the Signs
Most bullies will not confront their victims in the open. They will wait till they are alone and have no one to turn to. Students who are bullied often act as if they are being watched or are about to be caught doing something they shouldn’t. They are afraid of being alone and, in some cases, have nightmares. Many suffer from depression and extremely low self-esteem.
Students who at one time were exceptional students and got good grades may be showing signs of bullying if their grades begin to drop for no reason. Students who appear late to class on a regular basis, may choose the punishment for tardiness over being confronted by a bully. Every situation is different. Knowing the student and their regular routine will help you notice any dramatic changes in their behavior or how they go about doing things.
Anti Bullying Campaign: Teach Self Esteem
Teaching self-esteem should begin at a very young age. An anti bullying campaign often tries to encourage teens and adults alike to embrace their differences. With each person being unique, no one else can offer what they can. Campaigns hope that by boosting a student’s self image, they will be able to fend off attacks by bullies by just being themselves. That would be an excellent achievement, if it were true. The sad reality is that many teens have trouble putting a positive self image in place, let alone keeping it there.
Teaching self esteem and a positive attitude only works if the student is open to it. It can take time for a child or teen to realize their worth. Focusing on the positives in life and helping them face challenges with a positive support system is the best you can do as a teacher or parent. They must do the rest for themselves. Making sure they know you will always be there for them is important. They know they will always have the support of family, teachers and friends if things get rough. Sometimes, just knowing that much can give them the boost they need to avoid being a bully’s next victim.
Anti Bullying Campaign:Establish Safe Havens
Schools, churches and recreation centres can all be designated safe havens if the individuals who operate them are willing to step and make a commitment to the youth of their neighbourhoods. Stop Bullying, the anti bullying campaign sponsored by the government has encouraged all schools and churches in their respective areas to provide children a place to go if they feel they are being harassed by another child or adult. By allowing the children in to their facility, they can protect the child until a parent or guardian can arrive to pick them up.
It also gives the authorities time to get there if the incident is severe enough to warrant a police report being made. Posting a sign outside of the facility designating it as a safe haven allows children the option to enter if they feel they are being threatened in any way or need protection from someone. For an anti bullying campaign to be successful, people within the community must be willing to get involved. The safety of a neighbourhood is dependent on everyone who lives there, not just a select few. It is everyone’s responsibility.
Anti Bullying Campaign: Get Involved!
Whether you are a parent, a teacher or just a resident of the community, get involved. Support local anti bullying campaigns in your area. If you are a student, reach out to the kids who don’t belong to the popular crowd. You want to boost their self esteem? Include them in activities. Ask them to participate in a club or school event. Watch for student’s who seem too shy to interact with others. Take the first step and introduce yourself. It may mean little to you, but it can mean the world to them. It could also be just what they need to break out of their shell.
Bullying is not a problem for a select few individuals. It is everyone’s problem. The longer people try to ignore it, the more damage will be caused. We wonder why there is so much violence in our schools or hate groups who try to force their ways on others. Bullying plays a large role in each. If every person would stop and take notice of what is happening around them, much of the devastation could have been prevented.
A perfect example is the Columbine shooting that occurred on April 20th, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado.
- Both shooters were students of the school.
- Both shooters felt they had been bullied by the athletes of the school
- Both shooters had been stockpiling weapons and ammunition in their own homes for months.
Where were the parents? After the fact, both sets of parents were distraught that they had not paid enough attention to what their sons were doing in their own homes. It was apparent to most psychologists who had reviewed the case that the changes taking place in these young men were quite noticeable. Psychologists were also fairly certain the boys had been the victims of bullies at some point and time.
The fact is, the parents are not the only ones to blame. The boys’ teachers readily admitted they had seen them change dramatically over the span of a few months. They noticed their grades had changed as well as their attitude and how they interacted with other students. Fellow students had even noticed changes. All changes that were negative in nature and fostered an air of disdain and loathing.
When both shooters opened fire, they targeted the people who felt had belittled and berated them. Their desire for revenge eventually turned the victim into the aggressor. After taking as much as they felt they could handle, they focused their anger on those who they felt had wronged them in some way.
It’s doubtful an anti bullying campaign could have prevented the Columbine shooting. What it could have done was make more people aware of the possibilities and give them the tools to, in some way turn the tide of the events to come. Just creating a campaign is half the battle. Acting on it is what makes change happen. It may not fix the problem completely, but it can offer options to those involved as well as set things in motion to create a more positive environment.