I’m not sure how many of you watched Dateline Sunday night, “My Kids Would Never…Bully” after I tweeted it on Friday, but I watched it and loved it. Two of the bystanders were very brave and spoke up and defended the victim and then continued to defend the victim when the bullying got worse. Yay Lilly and Isaiah!!!!!!! Others joined in once one person spoke up. We really need more of this. Others also made efforts to support the victim, but some were not forceful enough for it to make a difference. Bystanders really can make a difference when they are firm and persistent!!!!
I also loved that they emphasized that adults set the tone and actually showed how bad coaching or really any bad authority figure can contribute to escalating bullying and more people joining the bully. Of note, one girl, who admitted liking Gossip Girl style was easily pulled into joining the bullies. This brings home a point I made in a previous posts about watching mean girl shows. You can read it here. One of the boys was also drawn into helping the bullies, but this was after the bad example set by the “coach” of observing the bullying and then not doing anything to help and in fact making it worse.
Another nice thing they did that I love is they gave links to sites with more information to take action against the bullying. I also love that Rosalind Wiseman emphasized the importance of the bystander speaking up and being assertive and firm rather than being kind when confronting the bully. The guy from the Hetrick-Martin Institute also pointed out that calling someone “gay” has become the new way to bully even when the victim is not “gay.” This happens on sports teams and at school.
The resources they listed are: http://rosalindwiseman.com
http://hmi.org (This is the Hetrick-Martin Institute who were also on the show to help.)
http://glsen.org (The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network)
Do you have examples of bad teachers, coaches, parents, or other adults contributing to the bullying?