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Bully Movie: Is Bullying Worse Today?
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Olivia_WebMD_Staff posted:
The new movie Bully was released limitedly this past weekend. It has received acclaim for bringing to light what appears to be a world-wide problem.

Bullies have been around seemingly from the dawn of time. Many of us have experienced being bullied, whether on the playground or in some other life venue. But, with the popularity of social media many say the problem has escalated, leading some teens to take their own lives rather than put up with the ridicule.

What do you think -- Is the problem of bullying worse today? Why?

Has bullying become an epidemic, or are we making too much of it?
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butterflygarden responded:
I definitely think that bullying is worse today. Yes, there are still those bullies that beat you up on the playground or push you around, but these days the bullying is way more psychological and tends to involve more of a group effort.

Social media has made it easier to pick on someone without having to even look them in the face. Kids can be crueler, because they don't see the immediate result of their actions. It's almost like a game.

Is it an epidemic? Only if we don't start doing something about it. Are we making too much of the problem? No, we need to start highlighting this bad behavior and call the bullies out. And, we need to teach our children the consequences of their actions.

I'm definitely taking my 14-year-old to see this movie if it comes to a theatre in my area.

I'd also like to see our school officials stop pussyfooting around this problem and start expelling these kids for continued bully behavior. If parents have to start missing work and staying home with their little bully, then they might start acknowledging there is a problem instead of insisting their little "angel" would NEVER be that mean.

Butterfly
 
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jenlewi responded:
The only way bullying is worse now is how it's handled. The kids who are victims have no coping ability because they've never been taught how to handle anything that doesn't go their way 100%. The adults are supposed to be sensitive towards the bully's feelings. A child who stands up for himself is expelled right along with the bully.

When I was in fifth grade, I had a bully. My mother told me to be a better person than him and that young ladies don't fight. He eventually tackled me and buried me in a snowbank as I walked home from school. My friend dug me out and took me to her house, where her mother got me warm and dry while her father went to the kid's house to "deal with it". When he got back from "talking to the parents", he gave me a crash course in self-defense. It turned out to be entirely unneeded, however, as the family pulled the kid out of school immediately and put their house on the market the next day. Part of me wishes I knew what he said to them to cause such an immediate resolution to the problem, but mostly, I'm just glad it worked. I used the mildest thing he taught me once as a freshman in high school, and nobody ever tried to bully me again. I suppose laying out someone twice your size and three years older with a single hit is the best deterrent for bullies.

Bullies are and have always been cowards who attack only people they think are too weak to fight back. Standing up to them eliminates the problem. If you're not an easy target, you're not a bully's target. Eliminate the PC crap about being sensitive to the bully and give them a solid dose of their own medicine. Verbal bullies need to be mocked, physical bullies need to be beaten and rumor-mongers need to get info on STDs delivered to them repeatedly. Bullies haven't chaged, so their victims should have recourse to the same things that worked on them in the past.
 
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apprd replied to jenlewi's response:
wow...what a great response jenlewi. well spoken.
 
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jenlewi replied to apprd's response:
Thanks, apprd. I have no patience for bullies. There were a few boys in my daughter's 4th grade class who used to pick on kids as verbal bullies. I coached her very carefully to listen to what they were saying and to critique it as if they were absolute morons. "Tilt your head to the side and look like you're concentrating on whatever they're saying, then very clinically repeat back what they said, say 'Is that really the best you can do? Try again when you've got something original, or at the very least, intelligent.'" It took less than a week before the boys started avoiding her and wouldn't speak when she was in hearing range. She then also started to defend the other girls in the class, giving the boys unwanted feedback on their latest insults. The decision amongst the would-be-bullies was that my daughter was "creepy" and "scary" and to be avoided. She's known how to deal with physical bullies since she was in first grade, when my husband and I gave her her first self-defense lessons.

My daughter has always defended the underdog when conflicts arise. Being sensitive to others is good for kids. Being sensitive to bullies is bad. If you teach your kids right from wrong and show them how important empathy is, your kids will never be bullies. Teaching them how to defend themselves and others is just smart.
 
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butterflygarden replied to jenlewi's response:
jenlewi,

GREAT posts!

My daughter was also bullied in 4th grade. It was by a girl who was larger than the other girls in the class, and she picked on several of the smaller girls, though not so much the boys.

A few of the parents, including me, got together and approached the school administration about it, but they wouldn't do anything. They said no one had "observed" this girl bullying the others. My daughter had indicated that she and her friends had already told their teacher and that the teacher had observed the incidents and basically turned her back on several occasions. Our words went on deaf ears. Nothing was done. (Personally, I think the teacher was afraid of the girl.)

Finally, I asked my daughter if this girl seemed to have any friends. She said, "No, everyone avoids her." I suggested that she might want to approach the girl herself and just talk to her and keep talking to her like a friend if she could.

At first, the bullying girl would walk away when my daughter tried to strike up a conversation with her, but eventually she eased into it. The other kids started asking her to join in their games, etc. I won't say they stayed fast friends, but she didn't bully my daughter anymore and eased up quite a bit on the other girls, too. Sounded like she was an isolated girl who felt different from her peers and was just getting attention in a very negative way. Unfortunately, after encountering her overbearing and rude mother at a school function, I saw that the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

I definitely think we need to talk to our kids and arm them with the best strategies to deal with bully situations.

And, we need to encourage our kids to TALK to us. If your child is afraid that you'll be upset if she talks to you, then she won't do it. Be approachable and don't freak out if you hear something you don't want to hear. You can't help if you don't know.

Butterlfy
 
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jenlewi replied to butterflygarden's response:
Excellent points! Communication is more important now than ever, and being someone your child trusts is the most important part of being a parent.
 
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LokRobster responded:
I'd wager that bullying is slightly worse today than before... maybe. The thing is that as a culture, people are putting up with less and less violence done to them and their kids! I think it's a good thing over all. Teenagers in high school, and pre-teens in middle school - they get away with actions that are now considered crimes for adults to do to each other. Specifically: Threat of bodily harm or injury - this is a misdemeanor in most of the US now. How many bullys threathen others, to beat them up? This is just not acceptable, and they should get consequences for their actions.

What about a bully actually hitting, grabbing and/or restraining another person? In the adult world this is called ASSAULT. A serious crime, yet we allow it 'because they're kids'.

The reason I don't think it may be worse than historically is I have read person journals of a few of my ancestors. My grandfather talks about walking to school in rural Arkansas [1930s> and having to put up with gangs of kids throwing rocks at each other - often landing blows and hurting each other. In the 1840s, grown men would fight in the streets and it wasn't considered that out of place - no telling what young people did to each other in this era.

So, I don't think it's 'way worse' today, I just think we are more aware as a society, and I think that is a good thing. Many bullies are sociopaths and need to be dealt with early.
 
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MrsUtterback responded:
I think it has gotten worse, and not that I'm avidly religious, I think it's because God has been taken out of everything. A man pointed this out to me and at first I though he was being a little rediculous, until he explained why he thought this. God and his was used to be the foundation of everything. The constitution was built around christian morals by christian men. God and the bible promote love and acceptance. God used to play a role in schools even.
So at this point we've established that with God comes the idea to live and teach with Love, Kindness, Equality, and Good morals.
Now, society has taken God and religion out of school and work and pretty much out of public period.
So if you take out God, you end up taking out all these kind ways to be. When you take away the kindness you get meanness.
To me it really does make sense, kids these days are so mean and rude and disrespectful. And so many parents say they make their kids behave, but they really don't. And these days God is not advertised or talked about the way he used to be. People were much nicer and more trusting in the days when they lived by God. And still now, The people that you hear about that are "just the sweetest" are usually good christian people. Also, from my experience, Most of the marriages that actually last involve God.
I truly think the man who brought this to my attention is really on to something here.
 
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MrsUtterback replied to jenlewi's response:
Really good point. I was thinking about the bullying topic a few years back and came to a very similar conclusion. People used to say turn the other cheek, but in my turn of being bullied and a bully I learned that the people who turned the other cheek were the ones I went for and when I turned the other cheek they kept coming back. If you turn the other cheek you show that you aren't going to fight back and bullies don't want someone that will fight back, they want somone to degrade.
 
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jankearney123 replied to MrsUtterback's response:
THNK BULLYING HAS BECOME MORE PREVALENT BECAUSE OF COLUMBINE. ITS GONE ON SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME. THE THING THAT MAKES IT WORSE TODAY IS BECAUSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA! I'D LIKE TO KNOW WHERE ALL THE PARENTS ARE IN THESE SITUATIONS THE BULLY'S PARENTS AS WELL AS THE PARENTS OF THE BULLIED.
WHEN I WAS BEAT THE HELL OUT OF IN JR. HIGH SCHOOL BECAUSE I WAS WHITE I DIDN'T TELL ANYONE AND MY PARENTS NEVER ASKED A THING.
WHEN FINALLY A GROUP OF HIGH SCHOOLERS AND ALL THEIR COUSINS CAME DOWN TO BEAT ME TO A PULP ONE OF MY FIRNEDS SAW THEM COMING AND TOLD THE VICE PRESIDENT AND SHE STOPPED THEM. THEY GOT EXPELLED. HOWEVER IT CONTINUED TO GO ON NOT WITH ME BUT WITH REALLY WHITE SKINNED GIRLS LIKE ME WITH BLONDE HAIR. I STOOD UP FOR THEM AND THE REST OF MY 3 YEARS IN HIGH SCHOOL I DIDN'T SEE THIS BULLYING WITH THE WHITE GIRLS. DOESN'T MEAN THE BOYS WEREN'T DOING STUFF THO. ITS GOTTEN MORE PHYSICAL
AND MORE LEATHAL AND THE VIRAL IS JUST SICKENING TOO
 
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DailyMoisturizer responded:
Are we really serious? I can not but laugh at the adult comments on this topic. So very very very out of date on the topic at hand. I am 19 and fresh out of high school. I am simply here to say that your experience of getting bullied in school (from what other adults have told me) is in no comparison of what kids go through today. Your generation was the peek of ALL servre bulling. I mean come on, the freshman hunt, swerlys, wedggies, nuggies, paddles, and getting hazed was pretty much just having a "bad day". In no way shape or form are kids TODAY recieving anything close what has happened in the past. It's not cool anymore to do any form of bulling, physicaly or phycologicaly, because kids in this generation going to school will bully the bullier. So when I see and hear all these adults who have been out of the school system for tens of years making "bulling" an epidemic, I laugh. I can name you right now over 100 diseases where millions die each year with no cure, and we want to sit here and bitch about kids getting bullied. My phucking brother died of cancer last year and I can tell you, I was not thinking about kids getting bullied when I was spending my last moments with him. So unless you are currently going to college, high school, middle school, grade school, or employeed by some school facility ALL your "opinions" on the topic come from an uneducated point of view.
 
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jenlewi replied to DailyMoisturizer's response:
First off, sorry about your brother.

That said, I DID say that the ability to deal with bullies is the problem now. I know none of the crap that went on when I was in school is still done. I think the problem is that kids today aren't prepared to deal with anything that isn't exactly the way they want it to be. Also, the adults insisting on treating bullies with kindness and respect is stupid. Add to that the moronic No Child Left Behind crap, and the worst kid in the class is in charge of the class. They can prevent any new material from being covered because they are disruptive and obnoxious. All they have to do to ruin things for the good students is to start making a lot of noise and maybe push another student.

I went to school with race riots and fist fights as a regular occurrance. The rare weapon was usually a knife. The problem now is the fact that so many kids have access to guns. A kid gets picked on in school and comes in with a gun to start killing people. THAT'S the problem with bullies now. A few kids make fun of one kid, and the kid snaps. We didn't have school shooters in my day, because if you stood up to a bully, you didn't get in trouble for it. The kid who started the fight was the one expelled. If a bully picked on the wrong kid and ended up with thirty-seven stitches and a broken jaw, the bully was still the one expelled. (Yes, that happened.) Also, parents didn't insist their kid was innocent, regardless of the evidence or witnesses. If you got in trouble at school, it was nothing compared to what you were going to face at home.

If you need to blame someone for the way bullies act and what they get away with now, blame the social workers and the sensitivity training. If you want a solution, let kids defend themselves.
 
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OC2BK6 responded:
I am a 26 year old female who was bullied back in middle school...verbally along with threats, and the abuse was by males. 6th and 7th grades were extremely tough, however I got through it. Maybe it was having sports to turn to eventually or using writing and music as outlets until it finally subsided, but I got through it. I have to say I would not want to be a child in the halls of today's schools (for the most part). People can be harsh (adults as well as children), but I am seeing it begin at earlier ages now, which is sad. What is more sad is to see the adults involved in the situations be so passive in some instances.
If anyone has not seen the Bully movie...go and check it out. Bring a daughter/son/niece/nephew/grand child with you as well. Also bring some tissues. Parts were heart-breaking...parts were angering...others so very hopeful.
I myself take part in a national organization's annual Overnight Walk for suicide prevention and this June I will be completing my 3rd walk. The walk is approximately 20 miles long overnight and is done to raise both awareness and funds for suicide prevention. Walkers must raise $1,000, but I set the bar high at $5,000 and am currently up at $4,649. My point for mentioning this is that while many people are/can be skeptical regarding mental illness and/or suicide and it's relations to bullying...I am very proud of the events I hold toward reaching my goal each year. Regardless of whether or not you "believe" in mental health issues; or if you think children just need to grow thicker skin and/or learn how to cope better; or that adults should intervene in a more proper way both in the home and school setting...the bottom line is that teens and children are taking their lives. CHILDREN! There have got to be ways to maybe not "fix" this problem, but to at least increase the amount of light shed on such issues.
There are so many variables with bullying, and how it is dealt with in schools it really is a complex situation. In some instances it could stem from religious beliefs towards sexual orientation. I say that everyone should believe in whatever/whoever it is that they want to...however in a way that does not harm others, whether that be verbally, physically, emotionally, and/or by use of social networking.
To ask in terms of bullying if "we are making too much of it" is ridiculous. If kids are taking their lives with that is thought to be from continuous bullying, then yes, it is a problem. If children are taking their lives before they even really start their lives, then yes this is a problem. I have no cut and dry answers, as that would be naive and impossible.
Perhaps this was more of a ramble and maybe I did not fully address the exact intention of this thread, in which case, I apologize for such a long-winded rant.
Children need to feel safe at home, first. They need to feel that they can talk to/trust their parents/siblings/relatives. Many children keep abuse to themselves, and this prevents possible progress that could be made to alleviate the problems. In the schools...staff/teachers etc. need to be allies, not just by-standers. Obviously bullying can be harder to stop as children/teens get older, so we need to take the initiative at younger ages. Bullying can be about a kid looking different, or not having "the right clothes", or being gay, or being what other deem a "nerd"...either way it is always wrong. I wish kids could be given a true glimpse into if the shoe were on the other foot, or what if it were their little brother or sister being bothered. We must also get through to the kids that things really do get better. I'd say 90% of the people in middle and high school will be out of your lives the day after you graduate. I know that it easier said than done to truly believe in, but if that can be even the smallest beacon of hope or struggling kids, then it's a start. Thank you for reading.
 
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PSJ1970 responded:
I think because of social media and other things, bullying has expanded and became worse today. Used to be, a bully just said or did mean things to you in person or over the phone, now they can hop on facebook or whatever and wage war against you.

I remember my first bullying incident-I was on the bus going to kindergarten and this girl gets on, walks back to me and slaps me in the face. She did this a few times over the next few days until my bus driver takes me to the side and says "if you don't slap her back, I'm going to give YOU the conduct card". I was mortified so I did like the bus driver said and that girl never touched me again. Sad but true.


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