Don't Be a Bully

Bullying is something that has been talked about for years, and is sometimes wrongly thrown around.

Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. 

This aggressive behavior can take many forms:

  1. Physical Intimidation: this is the most commonly known form of bullying. It involves using physical power to push around, beat up, or hurt someone. 

2. Financial Intimidation: this is the lunch money issue we once knew. It also comes in form of paying someone to be protected. It may also relate to socioeconomic status, as well as what brands of clothes you have.

3. Cyber Bullying: this is becoming disconcertingly common, happening to 33% users of social media under 18, with 95% of social media users witnessing it. It uses social media to pressure someone out on purpose, telling other teen users not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, embarrassing someone in public. It is related to verbal bullying as it was once known. Our talks relate many issues to cyber bullying constantly. 

It can be intimidating to intervene in cyber bullying issues, as you don't want to lose your social status, appear uncool, or even policing your peers. We can also keep in mind of many cases where cyber bullying and bullying have led to some teenager to kill themselves and citing bullying and social media as the main source of their despair.

So what you should do?

Speak up anyway. It is a risk to take but don't you wish someone would support you if you were going through it yourself? You may lose a few friends but were they really your friends if this is all it took? 

Report it. Most social media platforms have a reporting button. It is usually anonymous and can be addressed by a neutral third party. You can also let a trusted adult, social worker, adjustment counselor about the issue. They will be more than happy to help the victim. You can also report it to law enforcement if it is of violent nature or sexual.

 Ask questions to the bully. It usually disarms the person bullying and makes it more difficult to continue to hurt others when others question you. It may encourage others to support you.

We all have a role in it. Don't go silent, your voice is needed by everyone.

Talk to your peers. Talking to your friends and other kids in school can also be beneficial. It takes away the power from the bully and you may also find allies that have been through what you have been through. There is something to be said about having strength and numbers. We are social and having a social support network definitely helps.

We all have the power to stop bullying. And it's in your hands. You are not powerless. You have the possibility to change things.