Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bullying is Incredibly Destructive

As I was watching some Parry Aftab YouTube videos (the leader of Wired Safety) I stumbled across this video. It is incredibly powerful and sad. It very simply and effectively shows a string of kids in a series of still photos taken during happier times of their short lives. To think that all these sweet kids killed themselves after being bullied is heartbreaking.

Reading the connected comments is a whole other story. As an adult who survived adolescence with, what I figure is a common mixture of, pride about how I handled some situations and shame how I handled others, it makes me uncomfortable to read the comments of what I assume are mostly young people.

There are the heartless and cold "only losers get bullied" statements.

There are the bravado "I was bullied from 7th-12th grade. Even after high school people have messed with me even to this day. But I learned to take all the things they say about you and find something to release it and make yourself a much better, tougher person. I did this by working out in a gym and ran into a few kids from high school, some that gave me shit, and they just stared in awe like they couldn't believe it. I just walked by as if they were dirt under my shoes. Not saying a word or nothing" statements.

Neither gives me much comfort, or illuminates a path out of the darkness of bullying. It's likely most kids experience, at some point, both sides of the exchange--they have bullied someone, and they have been bullied. In this day and age when cyber-bullying has provided a larger platform and audience for this behaior, it may be important for parents and educators to think about this when trying to guide kids away from the incredibly destructive behavior of bullying -- on the play ground or online.

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