With bullying becoming an ever-increasing problem among kids both in the public school setting and online, and more and easier methods of access becoming available to bullies through new technologies and mobile media, it is becoming more necessary to establish help for bullied victims. Especially when we know there is such a high positive correlation between kids who are bullied as youngsters and those who grow up to commit criminal acts, it is more important than ever that we stop the problem of bullying in its tracks before this cycle has a chance to occur. Discover more about finding a bullying helpline!
We are not saying that all bullied children grow up to be criminals themselves. But there is a high correlation between those who were picked on and bullied as a child and the tendency to feel they must protect themselves by taking things into their own hands. Kids need to feel empowered that they can do something about bullying, especially when they have been a victim of bullying themselves.
For this reason and others, it is imperative that we establish a sort of bullying helpline, whether literal or figurative, which addresses these issues and empowers kids and adults alike to take a stand against bullying and stand up for the bullied.
How To Start A Helpline
First, we will talk about the literal helpline-setting up a helpline for bullied kids. If you are a concerned parent, or a parent of a bullied child who does not have a helpline in your area, consider establishing one in your area. A parent adhoc group of Parent/Teacher organization could instigate this process and set up a system where bullied victims could call a number for help when they’ve been bullied. This is an excellent idea and would serve to remind your community and school that bullying will not be tolerated and that your area is in the business of protecting the bullied child.
What You Need
To start a call line for bullied victims, simply get a landline phone and set up a place in the school gym or off campus if the school prefers it, and give out the number on cards or advertisements. Put it all over the school, hand it out at PTO nights and school open house events, even the county fair, to let people know the number they can call to report bullying.
It is a good idea to inform people that you are going to be a resource not only to victims of bullying but also to people who witness bullying. This is sometimes referred to as “second generation anti-bullying action” because it involves people in the peripheral area of the victim of bullying who witness it, and lets them take responsibility to report bullying whenever they see it, rather than leaving the responsibility only up to the victim himself.
The Metaphorical Helpline
We have discussed the literal helpline, which is simply a number set up to address bullying issues and is an excellent resource for those who have been victims of bullying. However, a helpline can also be symbolic of anything you put into place which helps victims of bullying and others to cope with the issues and gives them resources to turn to when they need it.
So the point is that you do not have to have an actual phone helpline or formal phone line, as long as you have a way of reporting and dealing with bullying, whenever and however it occurs.
The Need For Change
One important concept to grasp is that bullying is not what it used to be. It’s no longer just the bully on the playground trying to steal the lunchbox or threaten to beat up the smaller kid if they don’t give him their milk money. Bullies have gotten much smarter, and they are armed with new technologies which allows them to not only threaten and manipulate people in the real world, but also in the online virtual world. And, in some ways, that is even scarier.
Mobile devices have allowed people (even kids) instant access to other kids, whether they live in their actual neighborhoods or across the globe so it is easy for them to hide behind a virtual profile and pretend to be someone they’re not. With this, comes the opportunity for them to harass and bully people in ways that are far more damaging than threatening to beat them up for their milk.
One of the forms of bullying, which would fall under the category of cyber bullying is reputation bullying. This involves the art of slandering and disparaging someone’s reputation by putting up images or videos of the person which are all altered by the perpetrator through software programs and the like, in an effort to ruin the good reputation of the victim. This has been done to adults to, when someone is upset with a co-worker, former relationship partner, or others and sets out to commit character assassination in this way. It is important to note that such behavior is not only unethical and wrong, it is illegal.
Definition Of Defamation
Defamation is defined legally as anything that would harm the reputation or view of a person based on actions the person took against another whether through visual images, text, or other means. Defamation can also include slander and libel, slander being the verbal language used to disparage a person, and libel being the written word. There can be civil actions brought against such people, even if it involves under aged children and the Constitution does not protect language and deeds which are meant to harm and undermine the reputations of others.
Help Is In Resource Management
Lastly, it is important to note that help is in the way you manage your resources, more than in a physical hotline or phone number. The way that your community and school or Parent organization pools your resources and works toward eliminating bullying in your area says a lot about how you protect children from unjust treatment and attacks. In addition, it says to your community and school that you will not tolerate such actions and that you are taking an active stand against such behavior.
One of the most important things to do at the onset when establishing a helpline is to define what bullying is. There are many different types of bullying. It is important that everyone in your schools understands these definitions so that there can be no doubt when bullying has occurred.
Below are some of the most common types which you will see in the schools and outside of school:
- Name calling and discrimination
- Slander or libel; character assassination
- Physical or verbal threatening or abuse
- Racial slurs or hate remarks due to physical or cultural differences
- Humiliation of any kind
- Blocking any entrance into a building
- Excluding from events as a manipulative ploy
- Online harassment or threatening communications
- Misrepresenting someone online which harms their reputation
There are other definitions of bullying. Check with your school counselor or anti-bullying group to work out your own bullying definitions which reflect the culture and the issues of your area.
To start a helpline, whether a real phone line or email that people can contact or a symbolic one, by getting a plan together to offer help for those who’ve been victimized by bullying, the first thing you need to do is to get others to buy into the idea that it is important. Too often parents are reluctant to get too involved in the bullying problem because they are afraid they will offend people whose children are bullying others. However, unless action is taken, the cycle of bullying will continue and the vicious circle of psychological damage that bullying does will continue with it.
Nobullying.com understands the harmful effects that bullying has on kids of all ages, no matter whether it originates in the “real world,” online, or in any other context. We stand against bullying in all forms and strive to be a resource for schools, organizations, and communities, to work with parents and others to stop bullying once and for all.
We know that this is a lofty goal and that, as long as there are people on this earth, there will be some who will take advantage of others. However, something must be done to combat this age-old problem. The bullying that is occurring today is much more vicious and volatile than many of us remember growing up. We are in the age of computers and mobile devices, and this gives rise to easier access and methods that the bully can use to try to victimize and terrorize others.
Remember that the line between bullying and criminal behavior is thin. And while not all actions of bullying are criminal acts, some are and it is important to realize this. Schools and community groups must be more vigilant than ever to take action of a legal nature if it is necessary to stop these actions from occurring.
If you would like more information about how to combat bullying in your area, contact us.