Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bullying--- social media has made it so much easier to do

Bullying in its various forms has always been with us and probably will continue to plague us. It is bad enough amongst adults, even in the workplace, but for our young people it can be life threatening. I was pleased to see the article in the NZ Herald today, as it once again highlighted the damage that young people suffer.
I work with teenagers, and this issue of bullying is one that is a daily factor in the lives of my ‘charges.’ It was a problem when I first started in this work, but it is now so much easier for the ‘bullies’ to act out on their nasty pathways. What is sad is that it is so much easier for them to do so, anonymously at times and over a far larger baseline.
Bullying has gone beyond the realms of classroom gossiping and the odd push in the playground. Now, a victim can be set up and receive the unwanted attention from variety of sources, possibly all started by one person. It used to be rumours spread by word of mouth, but now, there is a choice of texting, social media sites like Facebook and even Utube. What is more, sometimes Utube is used to fan the scope of the bullying even more. People, who have absolutely no connection with the victim, get aboard and add to the nasty and often dangerous melange of tactics.
Young people have taken their own lives as a result. We cannot get away from that fact. Often, adults standby, seemingly powerless to stop the carnage. The fact is that they are not. As responsible adults--- they must do something, even of it is just to tell someone who is a postilion to help, like a dean, counsellor, youth aid officer and other outside agencies. (I will out a list at the bottom)
As parents you need to act if your son or daughter has changed and looks depressed. If they won’t talk to you and unfortunately that is a common thread for our young people, then go to the school and talk to the deans, counsellors and if necessary go to the top--- the principal. Above all------ DO SOMEHTING. Talk to your friends, boss---someone will know what to do. If you do nothing, your children are at risk. The ‘no tell’ culture that is endemic in our schools has to be challenged and there is evidence to suggest that this can also be changed.
Bullying may not always be life threatening but it has an insidious way of affecting your children’s’ educational aspirations, so act now. One again I say--- talk to your children and give them the time that they need. If that means having a little less in the way of the ‘latest gadgets’ in the home because you have sacrificed a bit of work time, then so be it.
Let’s continue the discussion about bullying in a wider circle. Take it to your local MP if you have to.
  OK—here are some numbers that you should display around the home. You are not giving up some imagined ‘parental; right’ based on the belief that you ‘know your kids’ and that you ‘don’t want them talking to a stranger,’ when they should have been coming to you. Lest face it--- some parents just say--- ‘you have to stand up to them yourself.’ That may have some adherents who swear by it, but the very nature of the new ‘faceless’ bullying makes that pretty hard to achieve.
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