For every silly “National Day of” topic you find, every so often there’s one that makes us aware of some serious issues. For example, tomorrow is National Stop Bullying Day. I can’t help but wonder about what kind of society we’ve become that we need to make a national day to remind us that bullying is bad.
But, it prompted me to go web surfing, and I found a wonderful site managed by the US Department of Health and Human Services: Stopbullying.gov. Breaking the behavior down, bullying is an imbalance of power. In old-school teaching, meaning what my own parents taught me, you have to stand up to a bully, in essence, don’t give them power over you. We saw this same message in the movies of my youth, how the Karate Kid ultimately defeated his bully with an impressive Crane Kick.
But times have changed, and today’s kids have something we never had to worry about…cyberbullying. Adults in my generation can’t comprehend how kids allow the words of faceless tormenters drive them to deep depression and even suicide, but it’s very real. We need to understand that just because bullying isn’t “physical” doesn’t mean it’s any less harmful. It’s time us old folks learn about it, what we can do as adults to recognize a child who’s under the stress of cyberbullying, and how to step in to help.