Is Bullying Worse Today?

Is Bullying Worse Today? Is the bullying problem worse today than it used to be? Or, are we failing to recognize some of the positive changes to school policies and the efforts made to combat the bullying problem?

Is Bullying Worse Today?

I must start with this.. I am aware of the severity of bullying and how many families have suffered when loved ones are victims of a bullying situation. The results are horrifying and tragic.

But at the same time, I can’t help but notice that there has been a positive spin on what our communities have done to prevent some forms of bullying.

As a student growing up, I was bullied. I think many people my age can say the same. Whether it was a situation of someone publicly making fun of your name, or an outright fist fight, most of us have unfortunately been there. At the time, I don’t recall any school official involvement, diversity training, bullying awareness, or zero tolerance policy. Schools turned a blind eye to every form of bullying when I was kid. We were all left to fend for ourselves.

Now, we’re at least seeing some positive changes in the form of awareness (there used to be virtually none) and administrative policy (albeit slow). I’m at least grateful for these changes and efforts.

Is Bullying Worse Today? Sure, with social media, it’s tough to see how far we’ve come, and the severity of the social media bullying component outweighs any other progress that we’ve made. But, I think it’s safe to say that with all the collaborative efforts from teachers, principals, community education, the districts, and more… I think SOME children today are more open to trying to be friends with everyone vs. finding someone to pick on.

For example, Diversity Awareness training has taught so many children (from a young age) that there will be others who are different from them, but that everyone is created equally, and deserves to be treated equally and with compassion. We now hear stories of kids accepting and befriending others who are different… electing a Rochester High School student with Downs Syndrome as Homecoming Queen is a beautiful and touching example. I’m sorry to say, but this student might have had difficult times being included back when I went to school. Heck, I’m not even sure she would have been “allowed” to go to school with the other mainstream kids. I think the teasing and bullying of developmentally disabled kids was horrendous in “the good old days”.

I saw another news special where a student with a disability gave a speech to his classmates and stood up from his wheelchair to walk a few steps which he had never been seen doing before. The amount of support he received via the emotional reactions from the other students was so incredible. Literally, students were tearing up with the sight of this student’s massive accomplishment – they were that happy for him. Would this student even have been known years ago? Or, would the children have been frightened by him because they were just unaware and uneducated?

And then there’s the teasing instances that teachers won’t tolerate anymore. If a teacher sees a situation, he/she puts a stop to it. If someone was getting teased when I was at school, it felt like people just looked the other way. Or, you were blamed for some outrageous reason. Now, teachers SEEM more involved and by helping, hopefully it’s deterring some bullies from even trying. Baby steps, I guess.

Is Bullying Worse Today? With these improvements, we still have a way to go. Let’s just hope the “progress” continues, as well as showing children how to stand up for themselves if they are a victim of bullying, and teaching children the proper use of social media. These combined will hopefully give children the best chance possible.

On a final note, kudos and thank you to all the participants, parents and educators who work tirelessly to combat bullying and provide education and awareness to children. I know we have a long way to go, recent headlines assure us of that, but we can at least remain hopeful that the positive changes are starting to make an impact. IMHO, I think many aspects of the bullying problem are indeed better today than when I was a kid.

Is Bullying Worse Today? What do you think?

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