Letâ€™s face it; bullying is no longer like it was when you and I were growing up.Â In the old days, bullying had to happen face-to-face.You had to actually be inÂ physical contact with another person to effectively bully them or to get bullied.Â Today, fifty percent or more of incidents involve cyber bullying, which takes placeÂ online. Two people donâ€™t even have to meet each other face-to-face for one toÂ bully the other. It can happen with the push of a button. And the opportunitiesÂ for bullying are constantly expanding. Every time there is a new social mediaÂ venue, people jump on it, it grows like wildfire, and there is a new platform forÂ people to get involved with bullying.
We have Internet tough guys and girls, people who hide behind a screen nameÂ and think they can say anything they want. For kicks they intimidate, influence,Â and try to wreak havoc on somebodyâ€™s life, without ever having to meet theÂ person face-to-face. Their victim may be a classmate, or perhaps even a completeÂ stranger.Â The impact of bullying is very real. Letâ€™s face it, we have kids who are killingÂ themselves because of a change in status on sites like Facebook and numerousÂ other social media venues. Kids commit suicide because somebody didnâ€™t likeÂ their status update, or somebody unfriended them. Children and adolescentsÂ are at an extremely emotional time in their life. Whatever is going on in theirÂ immediate world with their friends and in their social life is everything to them.Â Thatâ€™s their reality.Â Oftentimes bullying is going on right in under your nose, and you donâ€™t evenÂ know it. Most students havenâ€™t been taught an effective way to communicateÂ these situations with parents and/or teachers, to clear the air. There isnâ€™t anÂ easy-to-follow and effective action plan in place. Oftentimes the situation justÂ goes on and on and on, until you see the end result. Then we call it bullying.Â After the damage is already done.
The Reality of Bullying in Todayâ€™s Day and AgeÂ Someone can get bullied for weeks and months and years on end with no physicalÂ contact. Theyâ€™re waking up not wanting to go to school and in fear for theirÂ life, because of something someone said about them in a social media forum onÂ the Internet. Or the bullying may go on at night while the student is asleep, andÂ when they wake up the next morning they read all sorts of horrible stuff andÂ then they have to go to school and deal with the looks and the laughing behindÂ their back because it seems like everybody in the whole school has read it, too.Â There is face-to-face bullying. There is cyber bullying. The reality is that bothÂ wreak havoc on the victims, not only if they may be weaker physically, butÂ because they are susceptible to influence by their peers, which most childrenÂ are.Â Bullying is widespread and can take on a variety of forms.
One day when I was on patrol, I was called to a scene where a single motherÂ was having a rough time with her 17-year-old son. It was beyond talking back,Â breaking curfew, or being lazy. It was stealing, physical abuse and vandalism.Â Her son was a full-fledged abusive bully to his own family, and the mother hadÂ had enough. After interviewing all parties, I asked the mom what she reallyÂ wanted. Her reply: â€œI want him gone. Locked up. If you don’t do it now he mayÂ never learn, and I feel in fear for my life.â€
During the interviews and by my own observation, it was determined that theÂ son had pulled the phone cord out of the wall when the mother was attemptingÂ to call for help. Through training and experience I knew we had a pretty seriousÂ charge: kidnapping. Per the current Florida State Stature, when you depriveÂ someone of the use of 911 it’s considered kidnapping.Â We handcuffed him and charged this bully with several felony counts. The lookÂ of his face was one of disbelief. â€œMom, please stop them!â€ he yelled. He was cryingÂ like all bullies/criminals do when they lose control and are brought to justice.Â When that didn’t work, he began to throw every cuss word imaginable at both usÂ and his mother, which was eventually silenced to a dull roar by the slamming ofÂ the police car door.Â The boy’s mom was truly happy. She said she felt safer immediately. The childÂ would be held accountable for his actions, and would hopefully learn a seriousÂ lesson. The mother wanted change so she took action. She did the only thingÂ that would keep her safe, keep her son safe, and hopefully be educational forÂ him as well.
Bullying can be kids to kids, kids to parents, boss to employee, spouse toÂ spouse, and so on. The moral of the story is, when you take action, that’s whenÂ things change.Â There are also a variety of reasons why bullies do what they do. Thatâ€™s anÂ entirely separate book.We donâ€™t have room here to go into psychologicalÂ profiles, domestic abuse, kids who have been enabled their whole lives, kidsÂ who feel entitled as if the world owes them something, kids who wonâ€™t settle forÂ anything less than to be the alpha male or alpha female. Bullying happens forÂ many reasons.Weâ€™re not here to discuss where it stems from in childhood.WeÂ are here to discuss and learn what we can do about it prior to, during, and evenÂ after a bullying situation occurs, so you can protect your child from the reality ofÂ todayâ€™s world.
The C.O.B.R.A. Anti-Bully Action Plan is a law enforcement based anti-bullying program that is non-violent and non-confrontational. The program treats bullying like a crime and follows proven, established protocols to create an evidence trail, a chain of custody, and build a rock solid legal case against the bully.
Learn more:Â http://cobradefence.co.za/bully-response-plan/