Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bullies Suck

Bullying is a growing problem, both in reality and in perception. The perception part is intentional I might add, partly because of media efforts. I serve on a board with community leaders who identify local issues that need attention and bullying is always on the list. I’m in the media and bullying is a recurring topic on some Sunday morning radio talk shows I produce in the Washington DC area. I occasionally interview experts including a psychologist, who discusses causes and solutions, and representatives of local organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, who help address the problem at the grassroots level.

Bullies are power-seeking cowards and, sadly, the very social media outlets that can help unite people in good ways also provide bullies an increasing number of places to hide.

Youth on youth bullying seems to be the most obvious, but the behavior extends to everything from spousal abusers to road rage participants to mean-spirited bosses and politicians to passive-aggressive neighbors.

The effects in the youth area can linger into adulthood. Have you ever been bullied? I have. Mine was in third grade and was definitely not as serious as today’s bullying, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the jerk’s name and sometimes Google him, secretly hoping to learn he is in jail. But he is quite invisible on the internet, which tells me he is still what he was and I’ve gone on to greater life success. I’m lucky. My normally quiet “don’t get involved” Dad got involved that time and demanded a meeting with the jerk’s parents and school officials. The kid never said another word to me. Ever.

One way to stop bullies is to stand up to them. Report them. Face them. True, there are times that can be dangerous, but many bullies are truly cowards and don’t even know how to react when someone fights back in some way.

Enough of my rant. I heard this song recently and that’s what got me thinking about the topic this week. It’s an angry song but makes some good points and this is clearly aimed at young people who are going through a bullying challenge. Listen to it. Pretty powerful song and video.

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