If it seems to you that bullying is getting worse, you’re right. It seems to be happening at earlier ages, with more frequency, and now we’ve got “cyberbullying” so the entire universe can get in on humiliating someone. This is not just about kids – “poop” rolls downhill and kids are the last stop.
If you look at our society, you can hardly find a place where there isn’t bullying. Kids hear about the drug cartels coming into the United States and being in the hills in Arizona and other places bullying and threatening others.
I also made a decision recently. My decision is it will be extremely rare for me to ever be interviewed on television again, because it’s mostly a format for bullying. When I started out 35 years ago, and you were invited to a TV show, basically, they wanted to learn something from you, so they’d ask questions to get information. There are almost no journalists left – because TV is basically a pulpit for bullying. Talk radio has become that too. The tons of yelling and screaming and name-calling and beating people up who can’t defend themselves is just standard. Then there’s music – the music that many young people listen to is ugly, mean and threatening. Look at the videos – they’re all “macho:” threatening, mean or hyper-sexed, or hyper-sexed and threatening and mean. There’s hardly a place kids can turn. It’s become abusive. Our society is largely abusive, so I’m not surprised that we’re seeing kids acting it out. Our kids are a product of this culture, which has gone to hell in a handbasket, in my opinion.
I have a bunch of statistics about this stuff, and then I’m going to tell you what will stop all the bullying. Unfortunately, I don’t think what will stop bullying will ever actually happen. Here are some eye-opening facts:
- The top 5 states for school bullying are California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington.
- 77% of students are bullied mentally, verbally, and physically, and half of these incidents go unreported, because nothing happens if it is.
- Every 7 minutes a child is bullied on a playground. Adult intervention? Only FOUR PERCENT of the time. No intervention? More than 85% of the time.
- 46% of the males and 26% of the females reported that they had been in physical fights, according to school bullying stats. Keep in mind this is not conflict, yet they keep introducing “conflict resolution” into schools. There IS no conflict in a bullying situation. There’s a bully and a victim. Only one of them has aggression in mind. In a conflict, both of them do.
- Bullying is the most common form of violence in our society.
The impact on the victims is horrible. In middle school, I was bullied because a mother was an immigrant – a legal immigrant, but that didn’t matter. I got bullied anyway. A couple of times I got into a fist fight when someone called my mother a name, but it was nothing like it is now.
So they tell kids if they’re a victim, avoid the perpetrator; avoid areas where there are no teachers around (only 4% of them intervene anyway, so what’s the point); never go into the locker room or bathroom by yourself, sit in the front of the bus, and on and on.
What the hell is this? Telling a little kid that he or she has to be completely paranoid?
Hell no! You need to take them to martial arts and teach them self-defense. All children should learn self-defense. One thing bullies of any level enjoy is that good people tend to be total wusses. Frightened, passive wusses at that. So teach your kids to stand up for themselves and other people.
I want to go back to those numbers about people who intervene – 85% of the time no one intervenes, and 4% of the time someone intervenes (I’m not sure what the other 11% do). Usually, other kids just stand by. That’s why there are bullies. You can say all you want, but bullies aren’t important because they’ve done good deeds or are the best students in the class. They’re important because they’re considered dangerous. And the reason there are bullies is because other people do nothing, so they get even more dangerous.
Bullying would stop if the kids who stand by are taught by their parents to intervene, whether physically or verbally. Bullies need to be shown they’re not getting the fear or the respect they think they have (in their own minds of course). But I know this will never happen.
Do you raise your kids to take on “pieces of garbage” bullies? I bet not. It’s the job of each one of us to stand between evil and the innocent, but that’s not how we bring up our kids, is it?
I’ve said many times: “You don’t swim with the sharks and you don’t feed the sharks.” So the reason bullying will continue to grow is because we’re producing more “piece of garbage” kids, we defend them, protect them, show sympathy for them, and don’t stop them. So I’m not surprised bullying is growing – that’s all kids see around them.
Teach your kids how to defend themselves physically and how to be stronger against verbal nonsense, while teaching them to pound the heck out of bullies one way or another. Report them. Reward kids who report them. Reward kids who stop them. It’s time we started rewarding people who put themselves in harm’s way to protect someone else instead of just saying “Oh, we have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy here,” which only forces people into not responding.