Bullying "Awareness" ~ is it being taken too far?

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Bullying "Awareness" ~ is it being taken too far?

I haven't been around for awhile (which I'm sure just broke your hearts, haha ;)), so I'm hoping this topic wasn't brought up recently...

Debate Question:
There's been more awareness in recent years about bullying among children/teens, which can be a good thing, but do you think that in some respects it's being taken too far to include things that aren't true bullying?

Definition of bullying according to stopbullying.gov:

Bullying Definition | StopBullying.gov

For discussion:

Do you agree with the above definition of bullying and cyberbullying exactly as it's stated?

Do you think that the awareness of bullying and less tolerance by school officials is helping to cut down on it?

What is your experience with bullying and how does it compare to today's definition of bullying--is it the same, or different (not including cyber bullying, of course)?

Do you think it's possible kids these days are being taught to have more of a victim mentality, rather than learning how to be mentally strong?

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I agree with all definitions put forth.

I do not see a reduction in bullying. It won't until parents of bullies recognize what their children are doing and take control.

I think it is the same as when we were kids. Picking on people, calling names, fighting on weaker students. I wasn't bullied per se because I truly didn't care most of the time what those types of kids thought.

I don't think it is a victim mentality and I don't think bullying made anyone mentally strong. Bullying has lasting effects. I know too man people who were bullied as teenagers and still are bitter about it in their 40s and 50s. It's very sad.

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Jessica, I hear you about the lasting effects for many people. It is very sad.

As for my opinion, I don't know why, but I feel like in "some" ways they are taking it too far. Maybe I'm perceiving something that isn't there? I fear that they're calling just about anything that's negative "bullying," when it's really not. And that by doing that, they're teaching kids to feel victimized all too easily, instead of teaching them to be mentally strong, to love themselves, feel good in their own skin, that not everyone is going to like them, and that's okay.

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What parts do you think are negative but not bullying on the website? The basic definition of bully is to intimidate others and all those listed fit the bill to me.

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"Jessica80" wrote:

What parts do you think are negative but not bullying on the website? The basic definition of bully is to intimidate others and all those listed fit the bill to me.

Not on the website, per sey, but just when you hear about it on news shows, news articles, TV shows, etc. For example, on the Biggest Loser Show, that one girl who was being made fun of because of her weight by the cheerleaders, to me that wasn't "bullying." Wrong, yes. But bullying? Not too sure about that. Kids get called names all the time, but I'm not sure that's bullying. Now, if a kid is constantly being picked on/called names by another kid or group of kids, that would be bullying, IMO.

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See I think it is bullying. How kids handle name calling probably is based on how many times it happens. If I was called 1 bad name growing up I'm probably not hurt or changed that much by it but it is still bullying behavior. I don't think the quantity of how often it happens or how many times it happens changes the type of behavior it is.

I'm not going to say it is never going to happen. Kids are going to call each other names....I just think we need to call it what it is and teach them why it is harmful.

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"FLSunshineMom" wrote:

Not on the website, per sey, but just when you hear about it on news shows, news articles, TV shows, etc. For example, on the Biggest Loser Show, that one girl who was being made fun of because of her weight by the cheerleaders, to me that wasn't "bullying." Wrong, yes. But bullying? Not too sure about that. Kids get called names all the time, but I'm not sure that's bullying. Now, if a kid is constantly being picked on/called names by another kid or group of kids, that would be bullying, IMO.

To me, that's bullying in probably it's most common form - verbal intimidation - especially in girls. Once or a hundred times, IMO it's all the same. Bullying. The word makes me feel almost sick to my stomach. I was never bullied as a kid, but the thought of my child(ren) being bullied just makes me irate. I shouldn't be putting the cart before the horse, but there's always a story on the news, it seems, about how a kid ended up commiting suicide because of bullying yet nobody ever knew there was a problem. That teen girl in BC that commited suicide several months ago - Amanda Todd - same thing. Apparently nobody had any idea she was being bullied. I just can't fathom not knowing.

Amanda Todd: Bullied Teen Commits Suicide

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My friend's son just had a classmate that killed himself for being bullied. He had Asperger's and they used to make fun of how he dressed and talked...a little more "eccentric" than others their age (15). So due to teasing and verbal harrassment a young teen is dead and his parents have lost their only child.

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I think a few things on there depend on intent and how they are handled. Mainly teasing and leaving someone out.

We tease in our family quite a bit, but the rule is, if someone asks you to stop, you do immediately. And for things like silly names (I am bad for making up silly names for the kids that they then all call each other), if someone asks you not to call them a name, you never do it again. I think teasing can often be an indication of closeness between people. IE You know I really like you, so I can poke fun and you know I dont really mean it.

With leaving someone out on purpose....honestly, sometimes you just dont like a person, or they dont play nicely, etc. And I dont think it is bullying to say you dont want to play with them, if it is done nicely and they are not the only person excluded. I actually dont allow the kids to leave each other out at our house cause it is such a small group, however when we go to playgroup, there is a little girl in particular who DD doesnt like to play with cause she is bossy and mean. I totally get why she wont play with her, I wouldnt either. But the rule is that if the child comes in to play, you need to be the one who goes to somewhere else, you are not allowed to tell her to go away. You either play with her or move on, and you never say mean things.

I do understand how these things can turn into bullying, but I think it is a matter of extremes, and sometimes adults can jump in to 'help' with bullying, when they dont take the time to understand the whole situation.

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I think a few things on there depend on intent and how they are handled. Mainly teasing and leaving someone out.

We tease in our family quite a bit, but the rule is, if someone asks you to stop, you do immediately. And for things like silly names (I am bad for making up silly names for the kids that they then all call each other), if someone asks you not to call them a name, you never do it again. I think teasing can often be an indication of closeness between people. IE You know I really like you, so I can poke fun and you know I dont really mean it.

With leaving someone out on purpose....honestly, sometimes you just dont like a person, or they dont play nicely, etc. And I dont think it is bullying to say you dont want to play with them, if it is done nicely and they are not the only person excluded. I actually dont allow the kids to leave each other out at our house cause it is such a small group, however when we go to playgroup, there is a little girl in particular who DD doesnt like to play with cause she is bossy and mean. I totally get why she wont play with her, I wouldnt either. But the rule is that if the child comes in to play, you need to be the one who goes to somewhere else, you are not allowed to tell her to go away. You either play with her or move on, and you never say mean things.

I do understand how these things can turn into bullying, but I think it is a matter of extremes, and sometimes adults can jump in to 'help' with bullying, when they dont take the time to understand the whole situation.

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Kyla, I agree.

ClairesMommy and Jessica, so sad about those kids Sad

I do think it is important to bring more awareness to the problem of bullying. I think it's equally important to teach kids to stand up for themselves. They should know self-defense moves, and have so much confidence in who they are that they won't care what one person says about them (or even group of people).

Couldn't they teach some basic self-defense moves during P.E.? Or do you think too many parents would have a problem with that?

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But it's not always physical self defense....I would be more mad that my school system was teaching SD and not addressing the attackers.

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"Jessica80" wrote:

But it's not always physical self defense....I would be more mad that my school system was teaching SD and not addressing the attackers.

Agreed that it's not always physical. However, do you agree that at the same time we need to also address the issue of kids not knowing how to defend themselves physically or mentally/emotionally? (I am in no way trying to take any value away from the need to deal with bullies, by the way.)

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"FLSunshineMom" wrote:

Kyla, I agree.

ClairesMommy and Jessica, so sad about those kids Sad

I do think it is important to bring more awareness to the problem of bullying. I think it's equally important to teach kids to stand up for themselves. They should know self-defense moves, and have so much confidence in who they are that they won't care what one person says about them (or even group of people).

Couldn't they teach some basic self-defense moves during P.E.? Or do you think too many parents would have a problem with that?

Words are hurtful no matter how confident someone may be.

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I just think it becomes similar to rape cases..."what was she doing out jogging at 10pm?" "why didn't she do something to protect herself?" I don't think I would agree to SD in school as a form to combat bullies.

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"Jessica80" wrote:

I just think it becomes similar to rape cases..."what was she doing out jogging at 10pm?" "why didn't she do something to protect herself?" I don't think I would agree to SD in school as a form to combat bullies.

Right. I'm not sure why new ideas are being thrown around for the victims to prevent being bullied. The only solution is for bullies to stop bullying and to suffer tougher consequences. Bullies cause bullying. Short skirts don't cause rapists.

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Words do hurt regardless, yes. Good point.

I'm not saying that teaching kids to defend themselves would solve bullying in any way, and I am in no way saying that victims should have known better, or anything like that. Absolutely not. I just think it would just better prepare them (general them) for dealing with one IMO, that's all. It certainly couldn't hurt for kids to know self-defense, right? I think if anything it would cut down on physical bullying. And if kids can be taught properly how to mentally/verbally defend themselves, I think it would also cut down and/or discourage verbal bullying. Not in all cases, there are exceptions, of course... but for the majority of them, at least.

At the same time, we (parents, teachers, etc.) don't need to back down at all from dealing with the problem of bullying.

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I agree with SunshineMom!

We need to address the bullying, but we also need to give kids the skills to cope with it, whether it's physical or verbal or psychological. You have to go at it from both sides.

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I would suggest that we also need to give kids and the Adults in the schools (or other groups) the skills to recognize a bully and bullying behavior. If a victim can look at what is going on and identify that they are being bullied, they will not only be able to get help, but it would help them to put the blame where it belongs, on the bully, instead of trying to find something wrong in themselves to blame. I also believe since, as I said, when it comes to the non physical bullying it is often part of a continuum, that often this type of bullying is overlooked by adults and this is where the child suffers the most..

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We also need to work on teaching kids to tell parents what is happening in schools, and parents how to watch for signs of it

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"ftmom" wrote:

I would suggest that we also need to give kids and the Adults in the schools (or other groups) the skills to recognize a bully and bullying behavior. If a victim can look at what is going on and identify that they are being bullied, they will not only be able to get help, but it would help them to put the blame where it belongs, on the bully, instead of trying to find something wrong in themselves to blame. I also believe since, as I said, when it comes to the non physical bullying it is often part of a continuum, that often this type of bullying is overlooked by adults and this is where the child suffers the most.

There is a wonderful group that is doing exactly this! It's called PlayWorks, and it's a nonprofit that reduces playground bullying and conflicts and improves school climate through fun, healthy, inclusive games and physical activity. We had it at our school for a few years under a lower-SES grant of some kind but that ran out when our overall SES improved. So now we have a full-time coach who was trained by Playworks who is providing the same thing. The focus is on preventing bullying by giving all kids better emotional tools to figure things out themselves (using rock-paper-scissors to settle conflicts, counting to 100 to time a tetherball match when others are waiting to play, going by their classrom "line order" or by height instead of pushing & shoving to be first, etc.) and encouraging all the kids to be involved & be active, but also dealing with disruptions in as positive a way as possible. The PlayWorks coach also works closely with the school counselor to identify kids who need extra help and make sure that those kids have good support on the playground. And it carries over to all other areas of life, too! My kids use rock-paper-scissors at home to decide things, and Weston's preschool teacher the other day said that he put all the kids in a row by height when it was time for them all to go inside & go potty. Blum 3

Play and recess to support social-emotional learning | Playworks

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Playworks is a super awesome group. They are used on many playgrounds in Boston and it has helped with disruptions and fights on the playground. I've read that teachers have reported a better learning environment too as the ALL the kids are active and come back ready to focus.

I would support this type of program for schools over self defense lessons.

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That program does sound awesome!