Bullies can be fatal. Anyone who has watched the documentary Bully, which was recently released on DVD, has seen the illness and effectiveness of this behavior with their own eyes. Bullying is a harmful act that encourages children to feel isolated, sad, mad, lonely, embarrassed and inferior. Learn How to Deal with Online Bullying!
Bullies use violence and derogatory speech to intimidate their targets. Bullying includes things like hitting, kicking, punching, knocking things out of people’s hands, calling names, excluding people and many other things. A popular technique among bullies is making people do things that they do not want to do by using threats and intimidation. Fear and humiliation are the most potent tools of children who have bullied their peers.
The introduction of the Internet has introduced another tool to the bullies’ arsenals. The connectivity of the personal computer and related devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have made it possible for bullies to continue their tormenting even after their victims have shut the doors and locked themselves in their rooms. Cyberbullying has become especially prevalent on Facebook and other social networking site. Cybermobbing and cyberstalking are also terms used to describe bullying over electronic communication devices.
Bullies are not the non-issue that most people have been led to believe. Many children have been caused deep emotional problems and even killed themselves over the stress they feel from being the targets of this harassment. The consequences of cyberbullying are just as serious. There have already been suicides reported to be linked to this subject. According to OvercomeBullying.com, this sad event has become a common enough trend to merit its own terminology. The word bullycide has joined the vernacular of many Americans.
Online bullying must seem like a completely trivial issue to older generations that didn’t grow up with today’s technology. They might ask why anyone needs to use a computer at all. However, this point of view does not mesh with the current reality of life in the modern US. Many children and teenagers practically live online. The Internet is sort of similar to the telephone in its necessity for the current crop of youth. That is an easy way to explain it to more aged people, but it does not really express the actual scope.
The information on the Web is like the permanent record that teachers would always threaten to mark during people’s school careers, except educational administrators are not the only ones who have access to it. An embarrassing picture posted on the Web can be seen by anyone who enters the victim’s name into Google Images.
Parents should take cyberbullying very seriously. The first thing to do to deal with bullying is to understand it. The objective of any bully is to make themselves feel like they have control or even power over their unwilling victims. Getting under the skins of these victimized children is the course of action that seems like the easiest way for them to achieve this twisted goal.
The power that the bully can seem to hold over victims has increased exponentially with the advent of the Worldwide Web. The reason for this is simple. Traditional bullying would usually only be seen by the victim’s classmates and possibly neighbors. In some cases, it could be seen throughout entire small towns. However, online bullying can be seen by everyone with computer access. That means that practically anyone in the world can see the humiliation of the victims if they come across it. The logical extension of this concept is that some children may never be able to leave their hometowns and start new lives free of the bullying. They may actually carry this humiliation with them after school has ended as a modern day scarlet letter.
The implications of online bullying may seem exaggerated, but the truth is that the Internet has made information that was once considered to be very private into common knowledge that can be accessed with little or no effort. In fact, many bullies have taken to actually creating entire websites that are solely dedicated to the purposes of humiliating and mocking the seemingly-defenseless children upon which they prey. Employing tactics such as this makes it entirely too easy for the bullies to turn the focuses of their attention into complete laughing stocks, which will only serve to increase the pressure that is put upon the young psyches of the people at the other end of this effort.
Once the threat of online bullying has been understood, the next step in combating the atrocity can be taken. It is important not to overreact. Bullying can be a very confusing subject to tackle. The biggest question about the whole thing is whether to generally ignore it and let the culprits find that they are having no effect or to confront the issue head-on. The answer is that the issue must be confronted with no fear. It is similar to dealing with a shark attack in that way.
Bullies do what they do because they have very low self esteem. Many of them come from abusive homes where they feel completely powerless. This creates a deep-seated drive for power within their psyches. This need is somewhat filled by feeling like they have power over less socially-adept children through bullying them. The reason that it is so hard to get someone to quit bullying another is because these people feel like they are meeting a very important need. In reality, they have no power. Also, any power comes out of this negativity is extremely weak compared to the power that comes from helping others and doing positive things. However, the bullies do not know this. They have never taken the opportunity to learn and have instead settled for the tiny bit of power they have found from hurting others.
Confronting the bully can be very effective. The problem is that it is easy to go overboard and cause more trouble. OvercomeBullying.org recommends that the victim simply ignore the bully and his attempts to humiliate and harm. These bullies crave engagement. Their manipulations are to get your child to respond. Any replies to the posts or texts of the aggressor will only give the bully what he wants.
The worst thing that you or your child can do is to become emotional. The bully feeds off of the emotions of his victims. By not becoming emotional, your child will starve the bully. People who starve will eventually die. Bullies are extremely weak people. Online bullies are even weaker. It is hard to imagine anything more pathetic than a person who spends time harassing others on a personal computer. Even an inkling of emotional response for their efforts will give them misguided hope that they may gain some control and happiness in their deviant lives.
Many people believe that a bully will feel sorry for them if they cry or get angry. They feel like the bully must understand the ill effects being caused and feel guilty about the actions. Appealing to the bully’s perceived humanity is the absolute worst thing that a person can do. It is easy to try to treat the bully as if it has a similar conscience and moral code as a normal human being. The fact is that it does not have the same morality. Its mind has been twisted by various abuses. It is still a human being and worthy of the same basic decency and respect that should be given to everyone. It just won’t react the same way as a normal person. An impassioned plea will only make it harass harder.
It is even more important to control the responses to bullying on the Internet. This is because it can be difficult to take back the messages that are sent over the computer. The victims of abuse and their families could even be charged with harassment because of messages that are sent in anger. Bullies love to take advantage of the mistakes that their victims make due to the nervousness and unease that they cause.
According to OvercomeBullying.org, threatening emails and message board postings are called flames. The back and forth exchanges of these flames is called a flame war. These are the things that bullied victims and their families should avoid at all costs. A flame war will never help anyone. The Internet has a long and storied history of flame war conflicts, and they have never accomplished anything.
All is fair in love and flame wars. What this means is that parents and bullied victims should never delete the messages that are sent by the predators. This is very difficult to do, since many of these messages are extremely hurtful. Anyone’s first instinct would be to get rid of these messages and never look at them again. That is a healthy response, but keeping them allows victims to amass evidence that they can use to report the behavior to authorities who may be able to help.
OvercomeBullying.org makes a point of saying how cowardly bullies really are underneath all of their phony bravado. The anonymity of the Internet provides them with a false sense of security that can cause them to slip up and leave a trail of evidence. The Internet is not as anonymous as it may seem. Every computer has an IP address that can be traced.
You should report the bully for picking on your kid. The authorities can deal with it. You do not want to say anything about your child telling you about the incidents. This could lead to him being seen as a tattle tale. Just make it clear that you saw the behavior and reported it. Make it perfectly clear that you will not stand for this behavior.
Your child should not take any more bullying after this point. He needs to stay strong. If anything else happens, immediately tell the authorities. A no tolerance policy is the only way to handle this situation.
It is also important that you make sure to let your kid know that the bullying was not caused by him or her being different or inferior to the other kids. It has absolutely nothing to do with the bullied kid. Everyone has insecurities when they are growing up. Your child is just as good and valid as anyone else. The bullying stems from the bully’s issues.
This does not mean that the bullied child should do nothing to confront the problem. This is a challenge the kid is facing for a reason. It will help the young person grow and become stronger and more prepared to become successful. He or she just needs to keep spirits high and remember that things can always be worse. Having a grateful attitude can completely change a person’s life.
Bullying can be a very tricky issue. Making a wrong move in dealing with this situation can have dire consequences. This being said, there is absolutely no reason to ever be scared about childhood bullying. It is definitely a manageable issue. It just needs to be confronted with zeal and vigor. You must be very smart with the way you handle this negative behavior. Negativity cannot ever fight negativity. Positive actions are much more powerful.