I’m sure you all remember the viral video that came out last month about a boy named Keaton Jones and his story. Whether or not it was a scam, bullying is a real issue, and it’s not just an issue in person. Cyberbullying is a real problem as well. Here are the facts about bullying, and my cyberbullying story.
Definition of Bullying
Bullying is undesirable, unwarranted, aggressive behavior that involves a power balance (real or perceived). It tends to be repetitive, but can also be considered bullying if it has the POTENTIAL to become repetitive. It can cause some serious mental health problems in the bullied or the bullier (What Is Bullying).
Examples of Bullying
These are just a few examples of what bullying can encompass, but it is not an extensive list. (What Is Bullying).
- Teasing/ Name-Calling
- Leaving someone out (on purpose)
- Creating Rumors
- Physical Hurt (Tripping, hitting, pinching, etc.)
- Taking one’s things
- Saying hurtful things on the internet
Definition of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is when bullying occurs on a piece of technology (cell phones, computers, tablets). (What Is Cyberbullying)
Frequency of Bullying
According to a 2011 study from the National Center for Education Statistics,
27% of children aged 12-18 were bullied. Of these, 5% were threatened with harm,
9% of children aged 12-18 were cyberbullied. Of these, 3.6% were subject to hurtful information on the internet.
These statistics may not stick out to you, but this is out of ~24,000,000 students. So, ~6,500,000 students aged 12-18 were bullied and ~2,200,000 students were cyberbullied.
BUT the good news is that we can help prevent bullying.
Here’s a few ways that you can prevent bullying:
1. Teach Kiddos About Bullying. Teach your kiddos about the warning signs of bullying, how to step up and stand up to bullies, and talk to a trusted adult when they see, or experience, bullying.
2. Keep Them Talking. Always ask your kiddos about their day and any good or bad things that the day has brought.
3. Model Good Behavior. As we all should know, kiddos learn a lot from the adults that they are around. In order to make sure your child stands up for themselves and others and always does what they should do, make sure you’re setting a good example for them.
Now, I’m going to share my bullying story.
Throughout my whole life, I have been really skinny. People have always said that I need to “eat a cheeseburger” or asked me if I was anorexic. Now, at the time I didn’t really consider it bullying, but it was hurtful when it was something I couldn’t help. This isn’t my bullying story, but so that you have some context, I needed to preface my story by saying that.
In my sophomore year of High School, I got bullied by my “friends”. In December of 2012, I was making YouTube videos of me playing Just Dance on my Wii (yes, I know that was weird, but I embrace my weirdness… I love it). Anyways, this “random” YouTube account started commenting on my videos telling me “you look like you have a stick up your ass” and comments basically telling me to kill myself. As if that wasn’t hurtful enough, the night I got those comments, I was supposed to go to one of my friend’s houses for a sleepover with 3 of my friends.
While I was there, I confessed to them that this douchebag commented on my videos being really rude and hurting my feelings. They seemed to feel bad for me, but they didn’t. Later that night, we were playing games and having a good time, and then… they decided that I needed to undergo the “friendship initiation”. Basically, they convinced me that they all had gone through it and that it wasn’t a big deal, but it was. During this “initation”, I was laying on the floor and they started kicking me. At first it was all fun and games because they weren’t kicking me very hard, but then it started getting harder. They kicked me in the head, neck, and stomach. This still didn’t really phase me, but a couple days later, I started to bruise on my stomach. And yes, it would seem I was really naïve and I probably was, but that doesn’t make it okay. They probably didn’t realize how badly it hurt, but I didn’t really think they did it to be mean…
That was until I got a twitter request from the same “guy” that made mean comments on my YouTube videos, and I realized something strange about it. The “guy” was following very few people, and 2 of them were 2 of the “friends” that were at the sleepover. That’s when I knew something was fishy.
Now’s where I talk about the importance of talking to your parents… I told my parents about all of this, and they knew just what to do. My dad told me to go to the “friends” and tell them my dad has a friend in the police force and that he found the IP address that the comments had come from and that I knew it was one of them (he really could have, but he didn’t). That’s when one of them came forward and told me exactly what happened.
Before I arrived to the sleepover, the 3 of them had planned all of this, made the comments, and laughed at my misfortune.
After finding out that it definitely was one of them that had posted the nasty comments, my dad went to talk to the parents of the girl. Her parents were very defensive and were so sure that she would never have done something like that. They didn’t believe us and she was lying through her teeth.
She’s lucky that I didn’t have a low self-esteem or depression… my “friend” had commented on my videos under a fake name to hurt me and she told me to kill myself… what if I had?
This just proves how important it is for parents to talk to their kiddos about bullying and why its a terrible thing. There is a significant correlation between bullying and child suicide.
If you have been bullied, stay strong… and as always,
1. What Is Bullying.StopBullying.Gov.
2. What Is CyberBullying. StopBullying.Gov.
3. Student Reports of Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: Results From the 2011 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. U.S. Department of Education.
4. How to Prevent Bullying. StopBullying.Gov.