Many have commented in conversation that they are against bullying. However, are they really against it? Meaning, are they 100 percent against all forms of bullying, at school, at work and in the community? Truly being against bullying also means taking a stand against bullying and preventing these heinous acts from continuing.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, bullying has three key components. They are:
Unwanted, aggressive behavior
A real or perceived power imbalance
Potential to be repeated over time
Bullies, their targets and innocent bystanders are all at risk of suffering long term emotional stress. This can lead to social and emotional difficulties as an adult and does not get better if the actions are allowed to continue. The most effective tool against bullying is prevention. Meaning everyone, including teachers, administrators, staff, bus drivers, parents and students need to stand up against bullying together.
Who can be targeted?
No one is immune to falling victim to a bully’s actions, however, there are some factors which do make some targets more vulnerable than others. Here are some of the top reasons why one person may be more appealing to a bully than others:
Person is perceived as different from others – overweight, glasses, old clothing, new to the school or not able to afford things that are considered cool by the other kids
Person is perceived as being weak or someone who cannot defend themselves
Person is depressed, has low self-esteem or is overly anxious
Person does not get along with others and is always seen as provoking others
Why we should be against bullying?
Acts associated with bullying can be stopped if we all take a stand against bullying. However, not many know the reasons behind why we should. Here are some statistics from Bully Beware Productions that show why we should all stand up and fight against bullying:
Many children who are repeatedly victimized often see suicide as the only escape from bullying
Bullying if often overlooked and is one of the most underrated problems in schools today
Many do not know how to handle being bullied
Not many educators know how to stop a bully when they see it happening in their classroom
Emotional scars from bullying can last a lifetime
Most victims are afraid and unlikely to report being bullied
Only 25 percent of students believe teachers intervene in bullying situations
71 percent of teachers believe they always intervene when they see bullying situations
How to stand up against bullying
Here are some tips to help stand up against bullying in your school, at work and within your community:
Stand tall and brave – Even if you are scared of the other person, so not let it show.
Feel good about yourself – Know you are the best you can be, eat healthy and get enough sleep every night.
Tell them to stop – Voice your opinion and express you want them to stop their actions.
Join forces – Bullies only pick on those who are vulnerable, so pick others to stand up with you against the bullies.
Why many do not take a stand
One of the biggest problems we have in the fight against bullying is being left uninformed. This is because so many people, the victim and bystanders, are afraid or unwilling to come forward and ask for help. According to the Tim Field Foundation here are some of the top reasons why many do not take a stand against bullying:
They have been threatened
Believe there is a dysfunction in the discipline system at the school
Target has artificial levels of shame, embarrassment, fear and other emotions that make them feel like they cannot come forward
Fears loss of job
Fears nothing will be done because there are no federal laws against bullying
Target is unaware that the bullying situation is indeed classified as bullying
Is in denial
Fears no one will believe their story
Belief that bullies get rewarded
Target does not want “stress” added to their health record
Target does not want to get others in trouble too
Grievance procedures are too complex
Tips to stop bullying
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, here are a few tips to help students stand up and fight against bullying:
Reach out for help – Find a trusted adult to speak with and help stop the bully
Be cool and calm in the moment – Do not fight back
Do not give bully an audience – Bullies on continue when they feel they are getting a reaction from the target and bystanders
Walk away – Do not give the bully a chance to continue
Interrupt bullying when see it happening – Tell the bully to immediately stop and that you do not appreciate what he or she is doing
Set up a “stop bullying” organization – Work with others to communicate, educate and fight against bullying
Do not bully others – Lead by example and do not be the bully in your school
As you can see, there are many reasons why we need to take a stand against bullying. Not only will it help those directly affected by the situation, but will also help make the community stronger. Mostly because kids can grow and develop in an environment free of bullies and fear.