It’s Not Kidding, It’s Bullying…
We call it different things. We say, “I’m just kidding,” or “They shouldn’t be so sensitive,” or best yet, when we say something negative to someone and follow it up with, “Bless their heart!” We can say whatever we want to make it seem okay, but it’s not okay. It’s bullying. When we deliberately say something to hurt or demean someone and try to disguise it as ‘just kidding’, it’s definitely not kidding and our careless words can destroy someone’s self-esteem, making them feel as if they have no value or worth.
Think about bullying like a triangle: the bully, the one being bullied, and then the rest that watch. Which ones might make the biggest impact? Do we teach our children that if they see someone being bullied to tell an adult? When we see or recognize someone being bullied, what do we do? According to StopBullying.gov, 80% of the time there are bystanders present. It also states, when bystanders intervene it stops in 10 seconds 57% of the time.
Cyber bullying has become the ‘faceless’ form of bullying. According to Comparitech cyberbullying is on the rise worldwide. More parents than ever report that their children are getting bullied both at school or online. Comparitech conducted a survey of over 1,000 parents of children over the age of 5.
47.7% of parents with children ages 6-10 reported their children were bullied
56.4% of parents with children ages 11-13 reported their children were bullied
59.9% of parents with children ages 14-18 reported their children were bullied
54.3% of parents with children ages 19 and older reported their children were bullied
It’s time. It’s time for each of us to do our part to stop our children from hurting each other. Ever hear the old adage ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me’? Yes, those words can hurt, and it’s happening every single day. Let’s do our part by educating ourselves and our children, teaching them to be kind and to show respect. Again, we can’t say something mean or hurtful and follow up with “I’m just kidding.” It’s not kidding, it’s bullying. And many of our children are being hurt each day because of it.
National Bullying Prevention Month, held each year in October, began in 2006, by the PACER Center. They work to help our children, youth, and young adults with disabilities. National Bullying Prevention Month’s focus is to raise awareness on bullying and how it is hurting our children. There are many resources available for schools to help teachers and children, give them ideas, facts, and tools, designed to help our children learn what they can do when they are being bullied, or see others being bullied. More about National Bullying month can be found at pacer.org/BULLYING. Another helpful resource is stopbullying.gov.
Tina Lakey, the author of the book “I’m Just Kidding,” lives in Madison, MS. She is retired, yet stays active working in her community, serving and helping others, especially children, which to her is as valuable as breathing.