Bye, Bye Bullying: Enough is Enough!Tuesday, February 08, 2011 By Quadrina Noori '13
The year is 2011, the world has never been more technologically advanced. Research is pouring in and cures are being discovered. The United States of America has their first black President and change seems to be the new year’s motto. Yet, although the world is changing and opening its eyes to new traditions, one thing in particular continues to be a growing problem: B-U-L-L-I-E-S. In recent research bullying, both cyber and physical, seems to be escalating to a point where the victims are harming themselves to end their misery. According to olweus.org, a website that is anti-bullying and hosts a Bullying Prevention Program, the definition of bullying includes three main important components: 1. Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions. 2. Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time. 3. Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength. Today’s advancements in technology have also led to the large outpouring of people of all ages falling into the radar of bullying and becoming easy targets. Websites like Facebook make it easy to interact and communicate with the people around us. Yet, it is also an opportunity for people to be harassed, verbally assaulted, and put-down through a form of bullying called Cyber-bullying. Research shows that the internet has become one of the main alley ways where bullying occurs. According to ezinearticles.com, “school bullying statistcs-The ABCs of harassment“: Over 75 % of American students are subjected to harassment by Cyber-Bullying and experience physiological and/or emotional abuse. The site also listed some statistics on how many children are affected by bullying daily: In 2009, surveys showed over 100,000 children carried guns or other weapons to schools as a result of being bullied. On average, 160,000 children miss school daily because they fear they will be bullied if they attend classes. Every seven minutes, a child is bullied on school ground with over 85% of those instances occurring without intervention. Over 85% of American teenagers say that revenge as an aftermath of being bullied, is the leading cause for school shootings and homicide. A child commits suicide as a direct result of being bullied once every half hour, with 19,000 bullied children attempting to commit suicide over the coarse of one year. It is obvious that bullying is not an issue that affects a person only for a short moment but it does indeed have long-term effects attached to it. “Being bullied made me feel as if the world was against me. It made me feel as if the world was two faced and that I could never trust anyone again,“ said an anonymous victim of past bullying and student at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria. According to education.com, an education and child development cite for parents, the list for victimization is extensive and bleak including anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, social withdrawal, poor academic performance, physical health complaints, alcohol and drug use, and suicide. The cite also made it essential that parents should not only look out for the signs of victims of bullying, but parents should also be aware of the symptoms that a bully would possess. According to the cite, children who bully are characterized as angry, depressed, aggressive, hostile, and more. “Taking action before the conflict between a bully and victim expands and amplifies, could potentially decrease and diminish the amount of bullying incidents that take place around the country and hopefully around the world,” said Sheilo S. a parent who has a young child who was victimized by bullying. He also said, “children should communicate with their parents and teachers so a solution to the problem could be reached.” Researchers have discovered tons of data on the long term effects of bullying and how it affects both the bully and the victim phsychologically, physically and socially. Yet, many people feel that bullying should never have to haunt an individual because it should be stopped altogether. “Schools can’t prevent bullying, it will never stop. If someone wants to bully they are just going to do it, regardless of the consequence. Parents and teachers just make the conflict worse,” said Yassmine Ech Chahid, a former bully and a student at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria. Yet, researchers feel confident that they have discovered methods that would help decrease the amount of bullying in a small community and even the growing world. According to parentfurther.com, a search institute resource for families, there are basic steps children and parents can take to prevent bullying. Students Can: Travel in Groups – It can be more difficult to face a bully alone. Be Calm and Direct – Directly and respectfully stand up to bullies, even if you aren’t the person being picked on. Stay calm and let the bully know that unkind behavior is not okay. Avoid Fighting – Speaking up is the right thing to do, but being verbally aggressive or using physical force will likely make the situation more dangerous. Report the Situation – Tell adults what is going on. If an adult is not available during the situation, be sure to report it later. Parents, teachers, and counselors can help you stay safe and solve the problem. Steps For Parents… Be Informed – Learn about your child’s school policy towards bullying. How do staff members respond to these situations? How can families be involved in solutions? Reach Out – Get in touch with professionals who understand bullying. Talk with teachers, program staff, and counselors who have experience with this issue. Speak Out and Connect- Connect with other parents or community members who care about creating a safe and positive environment for children. Be Alert – When the circumstances are violent or dangerous, involve law enforcement officials. Some adults are hesitant to take this step, but it can be necessary for preventing violence and breaking the cycle of bullying. It is a fact that children spend most of their young lives in school buildings as students. In most bullying cases, school is one of the biggest playgrounds for bullies. That is why many parents and researchers feel it is imperative that a safe environment be created inside and outside the walls of the school grounds.“I personally feel schools should promote a No-Tolerance policy on bullying, because I believe it causes a significant amount of psychological damage. If it is present in schools, it should also be true that there is help available. It is not easy to put an end to bullying, but it is possible to prevent bullying on a case to case basis, if there are trained professionals working with the individuals,” said Brooke Carey, an English teacher working in The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria. “Schools, meaning the administators, teachers, and staff just need to be present in the learning environment. They need to let it be known that bullying and violence is a crime and is unacceptable behavior,” said Andrea Yarde a schools safety agent working in the Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria. According to an article on cnn.u.s.com, President Obama has called for greater awareness of bullying saying, “The nation must dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.” In August, the Obama administration hosted the first National Bullying Summit and launched a national campaign against bullying. The President feels the recent media buzz around the deaths of many young men and women due to bullying has made it a priority that society is more knowledgeable on the issue. He also emphasized on the fact that it is indeed a violation of the civil right laws and should be put to a stop. According to a world-wide research displayed on the cite stopbullyingnow.com, an International Bullying Prevention Association, founded by Stan Davis a Human rights activist, 50% reduction rates of bullying are possible. New research, data, and light on the topic of bullying gives hope to all those who have suffered from it, but up until this point it is unclear what the final outcome these longed for methods and solutions can bring to the real world.