Bullying: A Big Complicated Problem with Many Simple Solutions

If each one of us untangled one string at a time...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bullying: Bad For Your Health??

In June, The American Academy of Pediatrics officially named bullying a health risk.

Do you agree that bullying should be considered a health risk? Why or why not?

Join the national conversation. Click "Bullying: Bad For Your Health?" under Blog Archive to the right. Scroll down to Post a Comment and tell us what you really think.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Share Your Brilliant Ideas to Help Parents with Internet Safety

It's the "New Neighborhood Watch."

In opening remarks at a recent UN symposium on Cyber Hate, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, "The Internet has brought tremendous good but there are a few dark alleys."

Many smart people are out there trying to help us navigate the "dark alleys," but no doubt the best advice comes from parents who live in real homes with real kids. It's time to share tips on what's working. Everything from where the computer is in the home, age appropriateness and social networking, cyberbullying, rules, enforcement of rules and what happens when, as in the "old" days when you didn't want your parents invading your room, your kids don't want you near their computer or their Facebook page.

Let's hear it all and about every age. Let's help each other face the fear of the new neighborhood of technology land so we can move on to other activities, like saving for college. Just kidding. I'd rather talk about the dangers of the Internet. Much less scary.

Click on "Share Your Brilliant Ideas..." under Archive to the right and a comment box will appear at the bottom. Give your best advice, vent a little, ask a question or preach. Whatever will shed a little light.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lessons From Ryan's Story...Step In

At age 13, Ryan Halligan had enough of bullying and took his own life. His parents did everything they could to blunt the effects of bullying on their kind, sensitive son but he was surrounded. It happened in school and it happened online.

According to a recent study led by “Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, 42% of kids bullied on the Web are also harassed at school.” (Parents, June 2009).

Where do you start to tackle the issue; to make a difference? John Halligan, Ryan’s dad, started by going to middle and high schools himself and telling Ryan’s story. Eventually, he was in such demand that he had to make the choice of giving up a long career as an engineer at IBM and devoting all his time talking to as many kids, parents and administrators as possible.

His mission is personal. Bullying is personal. And bullying is a hurt that sometimes doesn’t get healed.

What John Halligan is doing is admirable. It must be painful every time he gets up to address an auditorium full of kids that remind him of his own. His presentation is addressed to bullies and victims, but maybe most importantly, to the bystander. The bystander is the key to stopping repeated mean behavior. Bullies bully because they can. John Halligan is empowering kids to step in. It’s the most powerful anti-bullying tool around.

A letter from a middle school student after one of John’s presentations:

“Dear Mr. Halligan,
I have learned from our assembly to not be a bystander. Our school gave us papers about your unfortunate situation. I instantly went on the internet to learn about Ryan’s story. After I finished reading me and my mom were in tears. My mom tells me things happen for a reason, although I don’t know what the reason is. I know that Ryan wouldn’t want you to stay sad. Your story has inspired me and hopefully it will inspire others. I hope you go around different places and teach others NOT TO BE A BULLY!!”

The Halligan family is brave and their bravery is making a difference. Now we should all step in.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Suspected "Bullicide"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's Your Advice?

Check out this Dear Deidre column. A sixteen year-old boy writes in to ask the advice columnist for The Sun (a British paper), if he should stand up for his friend who is being badly bullied. Her advice, in a nutshell, is to not get too involved and encourage the boy to go to an adult authority.

What do you think?