Did you have childhood dreams of being bullied?
BEHAVIOR Nearly everyone has teased or been teased to one degree or another. Can you tell when you've gone too far? Is it the sight of tears? Annoyance? Injury? Years ago, bullying may have involved laughter because of wearing mismatched socks. Perhaps it advanced to others trying to take lunch money or knocking schoolbooks from someone's arms.
Depending upon neighborhood and generation, teasing may have gone beyond humorous comparisons. Pushes and shoves may have turned into all-out gang warfare.
Many youths today face something, that in their minds, is far more intimidating — cyberbullying. Whereas past squabbles may have resulted in embarrassment among a few dozen peers, social media insults reach millions very quickly. This has regrettably resulted in teenage depression and even suicide.
Bullying, according to stopbullying.gov, is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
- Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things:
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling other children not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
- Taking or breaking someone’s things
- Making mean or rude hand gestures
Let your mind wander back to the earlier days of a child's life, when life was simpler and nearly every day was filled with smiles. Ask those happy children what they want to be when they grow up. Are these the answers heard? "When I grow up…"
- I want to be fat.
- I want to be humiliated.
- I want to be ugly.
- I want to be punched.
- I want to be told I am worthless.
Can you match any statement with the five children's photos? If these were not your dreams, don't make them come true for others. Don't become a victim or perpetrator of cyberbullying. In many states it is illegal and help is available.
As with most things, balance is necessary. We must be able to distinguish good-humored fun and not take ourselves too seriously. Enjoy the health benefits of laughter without subjecting yourself or others to sardonic behavior.
- Information About Cyberbullying Laws. cyberbullying.us
- Bullying Definition. stopbullying.gov
- Girl’s Suicide Points to Rise in Apps Used by Cyberbullies. nytimes.com