Bullying, whether in the real, or online, is never fun. I’m sure you’ve all been a part of it, whether it happened to you, you were the one doing the bullying, or you were a witness.
But, when it happens, what should you do? Here are a few tips to help you.
- If you’re getting messages on your facebook page or on your voicemail, don’t delete them. I know you want to get rid of them, erase them from your memory, but those are evidence that will prove you have been bullied. And you will need that evidence if you want the bullying to stop.
- Don’t hate back. Sure, it seems like the best thing you can do is to shout back, or post a nasty response, but that will only make things worse. Bullies are only looking to rile you up, and if they see that they’re getting to you, they’ll only bully you even more. If they’re not making a dent in your shield, if you don’t show them that their words are hurting you, they are less likely to continue.
- Get help. Talk to a teacher, your councilor or a parent. Tell them what’s going on, and see if they can help you. There are some people who believe bullying is just “kids being kids” and ignore it. Those people can be teachers, principals, and even parents. But that’s NOT true. Bullying hurts, and it shouldn’t continue. Make sure they know that. Bullying affects people of all races, genders, sexual identities, ages, and bubble gum preferences. If you need further help, and you live in Boston, there are trained public health professionals from the Boston Public Health Commission staffing the city’s Anti-Cyber Bullying Hotline – 617-534-5050. If you’re not in Boston, check with your local school or town to see if they have something similar. Even if you have to call a group from a neighboring town, it will be worth it.
- Hang in there. Remind yourself that you’re the better person, for sticking up for yourself, even if you have to get help. Getting help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. Not losing your cool and shouting back is a sign of strength. Keep that strength and you’ll be fine.
If you are a witness to bullying, whether it’s online or in the real, don’t just stand there and let it happen. That makes you a bully too. If you’ve been bullied before, you know what it feels like to have five kids stand around and do nothing. Their silence tells you they’re siding with the bully. So, stand up for your friends, even those you rarely talk to. That quiet kid who always sits in the back row… has he ever done anything to you that would have you LET him get bullied? I doubt it. Stand up for him. Get help. Find a teacher, talk to your parents, or call the hotline number mentioned above. That’s the best way to gain more friends too, and one can never have too many friends. Right?
Boston’s Anti-Cyber Bullying Hotline: 617-534-5050.
“We handle each case objectively without presupposition regardless of race, color, creed, or bubble gum flavor.” -Gil Grissom from CSI “Pilot” Season 1.