The leading national anti-bullying and cyberbullying organization in the United States is STOMP Out Bullying. This organization focuses on raising awareness and putting a stop to forms of bullying, including in person and through various forms of electronic means. According to the organization’s website, the primary focus of the organization is reduce and prevent “bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other digital abuse, educating against homophobia, racism, hatred, decreasing school absenteeism, and deterring violence in schools, on in communities across the country.”
Through the efforts of STOMP Out Bullying, communities are learning effective solutions to proactively prevent all forms of bullying and help those who have fallen victim get through the emotional trauma associated with the bullying. Through these awareness programs, schools are able to effectively identify and react to different bullying acts.
It is important for everyone within a community to help spread bullying awareness. The more who are aware of what is happening and the effects of bullying the more effecting these anti-bullying campaigns. Through these awareness programs, communities will be better prepared to handle, prevent and stop bullying. It also gives community members the knowledge needed to properly handle and intervene in a bullying situation.
Awareness programs help show the traumatic effects bullying has on victims and how to help those who are being both actively and passively bullied at school, at home and within the community. Adults need to help out and work to help empower victims by showing them the behavior of the bully is not right and how to stand up to the bully in the future.
These programs also show the dangers and consequences of being a bully, including legal ramifications, physical dangers and emotional trauma suffered later in life. Just as the programs work hard to educate and protect those being bullied, they also help show the bully what to expect, how to turn his or her life around and how to stop being a bully.
Many organizations have put together a Stomp Out Bullying video based on the local community needs. These videos are designed to show students the effects of bullying and how to react in a situation. They also show how to identify different types of bullying acts, because some incidents may not be easily recognized as typical bullying behavior.
Many celebrities have also stepped in front of the camera to make their own videos. Celebrities who have created anti-bullying videos include:
- FOX Sports Anchors: Michael Strahan, Mike Pereira, Eddie George, Darrell Waltrip, Howie Long and Ken Rosenthal
- Hot Chelle Rae
- Lance Bass
- Meghan Martin
- One Life to Live actors: Farah Fath, Kassie De Paiva and John-Paul Lavoisier
- Demi Lavato
- Days of Our Lives actor: Joe Mascolo
- Lauren Irwin
How can I help stomp out bullying?
As discussed above, it is important to have the backing of the local community when working to help spread bullying awareness and promote anti-bullying projects. There are many ways to help promote these projects including participating in events and activities, educating others, inspiring others and becoming an anti-bullying advocate.
- Participate: This includes showing your support and encouraging others to join in the campaign. Participation can include printing and handing out pamphlets or helping counsel those needing emotional support while being bullied and long after.
- Educate: Take the time to help raise awareness by educating students and others in the community. Through educational projects you will help increase understanding and tolerance of others who are different than you. It also helps create safe plans of action when responding to bullying and cyberbullying acts. Role-play activities are great when showing others the effects of bullying.
- Advocate: This is an easy one. All you have to do is help spread the word. This can be done by sending out messages focusing on key points associated with anti-bullying programs.
- Inspire: Encourage others to help you spread the word and together you will be able to stomp out bullying. The more who help with these programs and projects, the faster the awareness can spread.
What is Stigma?
According to New York University, stigma is an entirely different kind of bullying. Those who have various forms of mental disorders tend to be bullied more than others. Bullying acts against young students with these mental disabilities are often referred to as stigma. Acts of bullying against these individuals can often have a greater effect on their mental health and in most cases these acts can have more severe consequences. Various forms of stigma can develop in a group, family or school settings.
There are even some cases when stigma has nothing to do with a specific bullying act. Stigma and feelings of being bullied can be derived from how an individual with a mental disorder feels how the public reacts to his or her illness. This is known as “public stigma.”
Another form of stigma is “self-stigma.” This form of stigma comes from an internal feeling of shame, embarrassment and low self-esteem directed toward oneself.
It does not matter which form of stigma an individual has fallen victim to. All are unnecessary and it is important that all communities band together to stomp out stigma. Effects of stigma can be avoided, if not reduced, if there is a strong support system in the individual’s life. This support system can come from within the family or community.
What is Blue Shirt Day?
As part of the STOMP Out Bullying campaign around the world, Blue Shirt World Day of Bullying Prevention is celebrated on the first Monday of every October. This is the one day when everyone in the community is encouraged to participate in the day’s celebration by wearing blue all day long.
Schools and local businesses can get involved by encouraging everyone to wear blue. All schools, organizations, groups, individuals and businesses participating in Blue Shirt Day are encouraged to take photos of everyone in their finest blue attire and share with others through various social media sites. This alone, can help spread the work and help stop bullying.
Help spread the word and show others there is no room for bullies in your community. It is important we all band together and help spread anti-bullying awareness. Together as a community we can stomp it out once and for all. If there is not already an anti-bullying program at your school or in your community, find others to help you start one. October is the perfect month to get these types of programs started. Just do not forget to wear your blue shirt to show your support and help spread the word to stomp out bullying.