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Jane Nova
Jane Nova
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Bullying: Is it really THAT different from when we were kids?

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This is what I hear all the time from parents of young kids today. My answer is; YES! It is much different than when we were kids. Social Media, cell phones with texting and other technology that can spread words or photographs in an instant! These cases of Bullying turn one comment or picture into a “mass” attack to the individual. One time a negative comment was made about my daughter on Facebook. 126 comments, most of them negative also, were made! 126! And this was with only a couple hours on Facebook!

According to Bullying Statistics, bullying statistics for 2010 revealed about one in seven students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade is either a bully or has been a victim of bullying. Some of the top years for bullying include 4th through 8th graders in which 90 percent were reported as victims of some kind of bullying.56% of all students have witnessed a bullying crime take place while at school. 15 % of all students who don't show up for school report it to being out of fear of being bullied while at school, 71% of students report bullying as an on-going problem. Approximately 1 out of every 10 students drops out or changes schools because of repeated bullying. There are about 282,000 students that are reportedly attacked in high schools throughout the nation each month. Staggering statistics! And Cyberbullying is rising rapidly!

What are the types of Bullying?

Verbal: Involves name calling and or teasing.

Social: Spreading rumors, intentionally leaving others out of activities on purpose, breaking up friendships.

Physical: The more traditional form of bullying involves hitting, punching, shoving and other acts of intention physical harm.

Cyberbullying: This is the new and upcoming form of bullying! It involves using the Internet, texting, email and other digital technology to harm others.

I am a mother of two kids. My daughter has been bulled since 6th grade, she has experienced all of the above! We are now moving her to a new school hoping she can learn and enjoy school again. My son is entering 4th grade. My daughter and I decided to campaign in our community to try to bring the Bullying epidemic to the forefront. We are hoping our efforts will create a better environment for my son before he has to experience what she has experienced.

It is important for parents and educators to recognize the impact this epidemic is having on our youth. Parents need to advocate for their kids. I refused to take the response “there is nothing we can do about it”. I fought for her safety at school and each time she missed school due to threats (20 absences this year, of which most were due to her being scared to go to school!) I told the school exactly why she was missing school. I called in the police when she was physically harmed. We are lucky, our daughter is still with us. Last year she was bullied so bad she was contemplating hurting herself, talked of suicide. And, we fought for her! Many parents write it off, they tell their kids to just ignore it, or to just deal with it, it’s a part of life. Well, our kids aren’t dealing with it very well are they? Have you heard of Bullycide? Bullycide is suicide caused from the results of bullying. Victims of bullying live in a constant state of fear and confusion in their lives. Many feel the only way to escape the rumors, insults, verbal abuse and terror is to take their own life. Bullycide is a very serious issue. Can you imagine, being constantly bullied in any of the above ways? Or experiencing constant physical and emotional pain? How about having to continually relive an embarrassing moment over and over that is regularly brought up peers as a method of torment? What about when the Bully is an authority figure like a parent, teacher, coach or other adult? Or can you imagine being the victim of bullying and having no friends to rely on for support or encouragement while being bullied regularly? Repeated, never ending Bullying gets overwhelming for any adult to deal with, imagine being 12 or 13 yrs old? Or younger?

With these thoughts and statistics in mind, I would say that YES, Bullying is definitely worse now than it was years ago. Even high school students who are just now graduating are amazed at the stories they hear from younger siblings and friends. Not only do we need to be vocal about this, but also demanding! In our campaign, "Fighting Back: A Mother and Daughters Crusade to Stop Bullying", our first battle was to get people to talk about it and recognize it is a very real problem. We were amazed by some of the stories we heard and how many parents had no idea that their kid was being bullied! Next, we are bringing the documentary movie “Bully” to movie night at our community center. The Bully Project is doing a great deal of attention to this subject. Start up a campaign in your area! Get people talking! Yes, there are some people out there that can’t be reached, but our experience so far has been that kids want to talk about it, they just don’t have the prompt or an outlet.

Our youth need our help! Bullying needs to be stopped. Can we stop it completely, probably not. But we can make an huge impact to help victims, bullies and those who witness the act. Youth is the future! This will transfer to adulthood, it needs to be curtailed now! The more voices, the larger the impact!