Let’s face it; bullying is no longer like it was when you and I were growing up. In the old days, bullying had to happen face-to-face.You had to actually be in physical contact with another person to effectively bully them or to get bullied. Today, fifty percent or more of incidents involve cyber bullying, which takes place online. Two people do not even have to meet each other face-to-face for one to bully the other. It can happen with the push of a button. And the opportunities for bullying are constantly expanding. Every time there is a new social media venue, people jump on it, it grows like wildfire, and there is a new platform for people to get involved with bullying.
We have Internet tough guys and girls, people who hide behind a screen name and think they can say anything they want. For kicks they intimidate, influence, and try to wreak havoc on somebod’s life, without ever having to meet the person face-to-face. Their victim may be a classmate, or perhaps even a complete stranger. The impact of bullying is very real. Let’s face it, we have kids who are killing themselves because of a change in status on sites like Facebook and numerous other social media venues. Kids commit suicide because somebody did not like their status update, or somebody unfriended them. Children and adolescents are at an extremely emotional time in their life. Whatever is going on in their immediate world with their friends and in their social life is everything to them. That is their reality. Oftentimes bullying is going on right in under your nose, and you do not even know it. Most students have not been taught an effective way to communicate these situations with parents and/or teachers, to clear the air. There is not an easy-to-follow and effective action plan in place. Oftentimes the situation just goes on and on and on, until you see the end result. Then we call it bullying. After the damage is already done.
The Reality of Bullying in Today’s Day and Age. Someone can get bullied for weeks and months and years on end with no physical contact. They are waking up not wanting to go to school and in fear for their life, because of something someone said about them in a social media forum on the Internet. Or the bullying may go on at night while the student is asleep, and when they wake up the next morning they read all sorts of horrible stuff and then they have to go to school and deal with the looks and the laughing behind their back because it seems like everybody in the whole school has read it, too. There is face-to-face bullying. There is cyber bullying. The reality is that both wreak havoc on the victims, not only if they may be weaker physically, but because they are susceptible to influence by their peers, which most children 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 mother was having a rough time with her 17-year-old son. It was beyond talking back, breaking curfew, or being lazy. It was stealing, physical abuse and vandalism. Her son was a full-fledged abusive bully to his own family, and the mother had had enough. After interviewing all parties, I asked the mom what she really wanted. Her reply: “I want him gone. Locked up. If you don’t do it now he may never learn, and I feel in fear for my life.”
During the interviews and by my own observation, it was determined that the son had pulled the phone cord out of the wall when the mother was attempting to call for help. Through training and experience I knew we had a pretty serious charge: kidnapping. Per the current Florida State Stature, when you deprive someone of the use of 911 it’s considered kidnapping. We handcuffed him and charged this bully with several felony counts. The look of his face was one of disbelief. “Mom, please stop them!” he yelled. He was crying like all bullies/criminals do when they lose control and are brought to justice. When that didn’t work, he began to throw every cuss word imaginable at both us and his mother, which was eventually silenced to a dull roar by the slamming of the police car door. The boy’s mom was truly happy. She said she felt safer immediately. The child would be held accountable for his actions, and would hopefully learn a serious lesson. The mother wanted change so she took action. She did the only thing that would keep her safe, keep her son safe, and hopefully be educational for him as well.
Bullying can be kids to kids, kids to parents, boss to employee, spouse to spouse, and so on. The moral of the story is, when you take action, that’s when things change. There are also a variety of reasons why bullies do what they do. That is an entirely separate book.We do not have room here to go into psychological profiles, domestic abuse, kids who have been enabled their whole lives, kids who feel entitled as if the world owes them something, kids who will not settle for anything less than to be the alpha male or alpha female. Bullying happens for many reasons.We are not here to discuss where it stems from in childhood.We are here to discuss and learn what we can do about it prior to, during, and even after a bullying situation occurs, so you can protect your child from the reality of today’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.
For more information call 082 299 9117 or send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org