Monday, March 14, 2011

"Bullying" and Tech Tuesday Links for 3/15/11

Last week, Dateline NBC did an outstanding segment on bullying.  The premise was to see what a child would do when he or she was placed in a setting where someone was getting bullied.  Would they stand up for the student?  The first setting involved two actresses picking on a third actress while unsuspecting teen girls watched.  The mothers of the unsuspecting teen girls were watching on hidden cameras and trying to decide if their daughters would stand up for what was right.  The other setting involved two actors picking on a third actor for not being athletic enough.  There were other boys that were in the setting and parents were watching to see what their sons would do.  In one instance, the “coach” who was in on the act, allowed the bullying to go on.  In that setting, the other boys involved participated in the bullying.  In another setting with a different group of boys, the coach admonished the bullying and said it would not happen again.  In this case, the other boys stood up for the student being bullied.
This was quite an interesting experiment in my opinion.  We hear so much these days about bullying in schools.  My wife and I were talking recently about what bullying went on when we were in school around 20 years ago.  I got picked on for a variety of things but nothing that made me think I was less worthy of a person than anyone else.  Nothing that was said or done depressed me.  I considered it teasing by my friends.  But I knew that I was a fairly popular good student-athlete so the teasing never lingered.  Someone said that today’s youth is different because once you go home, the availability of social media and electronic devices allow the teasing and bullying to continue non-stop.  I think that may be the major difference between then and now.  I keep hoping it isn’t that kids are meaner.
I worry about my son getting bullied in this day and age.  He is four years old and gets his feelings hurt easily.  But I also worry about him becoming a bully.  He’s larger than most kids his age.  My wife and I try to teach him to share and the appropriate way to interact with others but ultimately until he’s in a school setting without the watchful eyes of adults around, I won’t know how he’s going to respond.  I think keeping the lines of communication open and encouraging dialogue with him is one of the most important aspects of dealing with bullying.  I hope if I’m every asked to watch him on hidden camera to see how he deals with bullying, that I’m right and he’ll be the one standing up for the student being bullied.
You can watch the Dateline NBC video segments on bullying by clicking this link: