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October 17, 2012
Bullying . . .
Bullying, it’s not your fathers bully anymore . . .
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- WWG — Bullying is getting a lot of attention locally, and nationally. If you have been out of school for 20 years or longer, you may remember playground bullying where a kid is pushed around by one or more, usually bigger kids. Or, it might have been a group of kids ostracizing an individual.
None the less it was a hurtful thing many kids had to endure at the hands of their antagonizers.
Things have changed a lot with the advent of cell phones and social media. Back then if you were bullied, most of the time the effects only lasted for a short time, and were eventually forgotten.
Today it is a totally different ball game and schools are doing their part to help prevent bullying, whether it be physical bullying or Cyber Bullying. In many ways Cyber Bullying with cell phones, electronic tablets, or computers, can be far more damaging, creating long lasting problems for the victims. In some cases victims have been so traumatized they will consider suicide, and sometimes take their own lives.
Last Wednesday Fay Prairie, a nationally certified counselor, visited Westbrook Walnut Grove schools to bring a strong message to kids, teachers, and parents about bullying. She made several presentations to various age levels throughout the day with an evening session for parents.
While visiting with the fourth and sixth grade classes, she spoke some about physical bullying, but her main focus was about Cyber Bullying. Both forms of bullying can have a strong mental aspect to them.
She talked about the different types of bullying, and discussed some of the reasons people become bullies. She explained how bullying doesn’t only affect the victims, it can also lead to problems for the bully later in life when they enter the work force.
Prairie said “often words can be as hurtful as physical bullying. It is easier to bully on line than it is to do it face to face.”
Computer attacks are becoming the biggest forms of bullying. But she noted that exclusion can also be a form of bullying.
She explained some kids use bullying to climb the social ladder. But the best way to climb the social ladder is to be kind and respectful of others.
Self bullying is becoming a bigger problem for kids. Often times they feel they are not good enough in their own view. This and other forms of bullying can lead to depression and in some cases suicide.
Prairie recommended those with any kind of on line social media accounts or email, should never share their pass words with their friends.
She said “impersonation is another way bullies can hurt people on line, by posting false information.”
Kids with online social media accounts should only talk with people they know.
Never post pictures of people online or anywhere without their permission.
She also recommended staying away from the phone or computer when you are having strong emotions.
Reasons for Cyber bullying. Cyber bullies like to hide behind online persona. The risk of getting caught is low compared to physical bullying. Size and strength are not a factor. They don’t see or hear their victims. It is easy to carry out attacks in private.
Some of the bad things about Cyber Bullying are: Posts can be seen by hundreds and spread rapidly. It is very difficult to retrieve pictures and posts. Remarks can be vicious with people saying things they wouldn’t face to face.
Once you post a picture on the computer you can’t get it back.
She told the kids don’t suffer in silence, about 70 percent don’t report it. Telling is not the same as tattling. Refuse to believe what they say about you — don’t bully yourself. Never reply to bullies.
Do tell your parents if you are being bullied. Don’t share passwords. Block messages, but save evidence. Contact school officials and police, and file a complaint.
By-standers have power! When by-standers step in, over half the time bullying stops within seconds.
Prairie is dedicated to help kids combat bullying.
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