Sadly, in spite of a sea of pink shirts every February, bullying continues.
And while when we think about bullying our initial thoughts go to kids in school, both elementary and high school, bullying mars the wider world we all live in a lot more than some might want to recognize.
School bullying has shifted over the years from something to be feared on the playground or perhaps on the school bus or walk home, to something that kids who are bullied can’t escape, as many bullies and groups of bullies, take their hate campaigns online, encouraging those formerly on the sidelines to pile on too.
When kids have no refuge from the abuse, the impacts can be that much more severe and long term.
There can be a feeling that they will never escape from it, that it will never get better.
But it’s important to deliver the message that it will get better.
It’s also important to talk to kids about not participating in bullying online.
It can be all too easy to get caught up in on social media where you feel safe behind a screen and screen name, and after all, everybody else is doing it. But the comments you think sound so clever in text can be terrible for the person they’re aimed at, a person who usually has not done anything to deserve them. Don’t get caught up in a group mentality. Think for yourself.
Sadly, when we get into the adult world we cannot say that all that bullying just disappears.
People still face bullies, sometimes in the workplace, sometimes online.
And seniors are particularly vulnerable to bullying as well, often by family members or those who are supposed to take care of them.
As adults it can sometimes be easier to walk away from a situation where bullying is taking place, but not always.
If you are being bullied by an employer, for example, and cannot easily find another job, it can become a serious issue.
But it’s important to remember that most of us are good people.
It is our obligation to stand up to bullying when we see it, even if we are not the target. That is an important component in making it stop. If we collectively let bullies know it isn’t OK, that’s a big incentive to change. As adults we must make sure we’re modelling good behaviour.
The adage to treat others as you would like to be treated is still around for a reason. It’s a fundamental of a civil and happy community.