So You Want To Stop Being Bullied? By Perry Estelle

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”

Harvey S. Firestone

“I remember having to hide in bushes at school to wait until the bullies lying in wait for me at the school gate got bored and eventually went home.  Sometimes, I would devise alternative routes home to fool them but it just always meant I got ‘double trouble’ the next day.

So, I became Houdini. I lived in the shadows at school, it was a miserable time. My school work suffered .

Shortly, after I left school altogether, one day, I walked across a local park and came face to face with the bully from school that tormented me for years.  I don’t remember much, but the years of taunting from him flashed up in my head, who knows what happened next,  but I was so angry. As he drew closer, in my mind’s eye I had him on the ground and he was screaming for mercy, if only I had bared my teeth years ago. He stopped in front of me.

I reached out my hand and he took it looking bemused. I said , “Bobby, I didn’t realise how hard you had it as a kid with your parents splitting up. I guess you had your reasons to act the way you did towards me. But I didn’t deserve it. I’d like to beat you now like you beat me. I’m up for that, right here, right now. I’ll settle for an apology if that’s all you got, and you mean it.”

My old foe said, “Sorry, I was bang out of order back then.” and bowed his head in shame while he walked off. Nowadays, I stand up to bullies and they always back down.” The Author

Bullying has long been a problem in school and like my own account, was usually confined to the school yard or the hallway. Technology makes bullying even easier than it was before with email, chat rooms, and an unlimited audience online. There was a time when all bullying happened face to face but now with the internet, children can bully each other through popular communication methods even anonymously.

Traditional bullies always had to let their victims see them and could only gain the support of friends who were around. Cyber bullies can humiliate, threaten, and be little their victims without their identity being known, or they can have an audience of thousands. Cyber bullies are becoming more and more common as children use these communication methods more and more in their daily lives.

This article is designed to help you understand the mindset of a cyber net bully and what makes them tick. It is wholly apparent a bully is a coward, and if you can find out what he or she is afraid of then you can devise a disarming strategy.

Cyber bullies can say things that they cannot in front of other people in chat rooms, IM’s and on websites. This allows children to be much meaner than they traditionally could. Things that they could not say in front of adults and even other children are now easily said online. Cyber bullying is potentially an even bigger threat than traditional bullying because the potential for damaging statements is even greater. Traditional bullies could only reach an audience of the other children around, with the internet hundreds of children can gang up on a single child.

Cyber bullying is also easier to do than traditional bullying. All it takes is a few key strokes and a cyber bully can humiliate their target. Children are less inhibited when online and it is not as hard to bully when it is over a computer. Traditional bullies had to have the courage to physically bully another child or at least use comments to their face. Cyber bullies have to use much less effort and can be more impulsive.

(Authors note) “Bullies are unhappy people who hate themselves so much they have to project that pain onto another to ease their self loathing..”

Traditional bullies could only act out on their victims when they saw them. This confined bullying to school and places that children interacted face to face. Cyber bullies can bully others any time as cell phones and computers are both at home and at school. Traditional bullies could not hurt others at home, but with cyber bullies, home is usually where bullying occurs via the computer. This leaves no safe place for the targets of bullying to go as computers are essential nowadays for completing schoolwork and communicating with friends.

Cyber bullying is the newest type of bullying and has not been studied as much as traditional forms of bullying. Many children
report being bullied via the internet or cell phone and the effects can be devastating. Children also report that bullies spread rumours and say other mean things about them online where many different people can see it. The potential audience for cyber bullying is unlimited making it even more appealing to bullies. Bullies will also threaten their victims online and belittle them for their own amusement.

(Author’s note) “The dark side of social networking is the bullying. Unfortunately, the tribal nature of some elitist bloggers (or bloggers who have built up a notoriety), means inevitable bullying. The more difficult to spot is the ‘troll’ bully. A cyber bully with a variation of disguises who can appear supportive at first but use an air of superiority to gain control online. They can morph into anyone they like and bully for entertainment purposes never realising of the damage they can cause. In fact the more faces makes them seem more intelligent, become believable and appear more charismatic and yet more intimidating. ”

Girls are twice as likely as boys to be cyber bullies as well as be targeted by cyber bullies. Normally boys are the most likely to bully others but this is not true with cyber bullying. Boys tend to physically bully others while girls use emotional methods, which can be perfectly carried out over the computer. Cyber bullying also can be anonymous and many children who are the victims of cyber bullying never know who was bullying them. Cyber bullying is not restricted to school either, it can happen anywhere children have access to computers or cell phones. Bullying used to be confined to school, but with cyber bullying can now reach children anywhere.

Cyber bullying commonly occurs in IM’s and in chat rooms. Cyber bullying can also occur in blogs and on websites when a bully posts damaging things about their victim. The internet makes bullying easy and bullies can torment victims in new ways. Using the internet gives cyber bullies an even more devious way to humiliate others than traditional bullying. About half of pre teens tell an adult about their experiences with cyber bullying and this number drops as children get older. Cyber bullying also makes it easier for the victim to retaliate against the bully as they can just as easily post their own damaging responses. This ease of use makes perpetuating the bullying cycle more common. This is not necessarily the best idea, as it will probably make the bullying worse and only reinforce the idea that bullying is ok.

Remember, bullies are never as tough as they like to make out. They only choose prey they believe will be of no threat to them to get the upper hand…boy, are they in for a surprise with you!

When you are a child it’s harder to be more confrontational. Risky, to a point if you misjudge the situation, that’s for sure. So, parents can help by doing a little discreet research on background information. Liaising with teachers and other parents or pupils to get an unbiased overview of the bullying scenario.It’s easy for Mum and dad to get ‘hot under the collar’ and stir up a hornets nest.  So, be a detective first. Find out what you can.

In an ideal world, you want your kid’s bully to be your ally, and then your kid’s… eventually.

Online its more difficult to smoke out the bully..

One tip, is to offer the ‘olive branch’ of friendship to the little beast and offer some ‘friendly’ advice with a little sting in its tail. Get on his side, by getting your point across. That way he may want to find another soft target other than your child, or stop him bullying in the very best case. Careful! That tactic may incense your child, making him/her look weak to the other kids seeing Mommy step into the breech!
Humiliating! So you have to be ‘invisible’.  Many will disagree with me and tell you to stay out of it. In many instances they are right. Let the children ‘man’ it out.
That ‘hands off’ approach is ok if your child is well supported and has a strategy. Don’t let them suffer in silence. Watch for the signs. Lack of eye contact, and withdrawal. Irritabilty, behavioural problems. Feigning sickness, truancy etc.

So , do you deal with it like this? Put it on the bully’s wall??

“Hey, tough guy. Have you heard that thing? “It’s nice to be important but its important to be nice”..I have you pegged as one of the good guys. Am I right? Becuase I don’t see you as a nasty stinking low life bully at all! You see, a lot of people who know you wish you some terrible things because they say you beat up on smaller kids! Hey, thats never you!  I will help you hunt down the person the whole school want dead. So, don’t let me down on this score, buddy OK? I’m relying on you, and I have long memory, oh and by the way, I’m a registered white witch who was bred with the undead, and if things don’t work out between my Billy and you I know where you live, and I’m real quiet at night. I’m also partial to real naughty boys with  juicy jugular veins,  and I haven’t eaten yet. I’ll even bring my own napkin!!” (will that work?)

Cyber bullying can affect anyone and the same stereotypes that apply to traditional bullying do not apply to cyber bullying.

Cyber bullies can pick on anyone, even those more confident and popular than themselves. Cyber bullies can even pick on children older and bigger than them because of the anonymous nature of the internet. If a cyber bully wants to hurt another person, the internet gives them the perfect vehicle to do so.

Parents must take steps to stop and prevent cyber bullying just like other types of bullying. Any form of bullying can have serious consequences and cyber bullying can be particularly dangerous because it can reach so many people and be so humiliating. Take cyber bullying seriously so that your child does not fall victim, or bully others. Make your child aware that cyber bullying is unacceptable and if they are the target they should tell an adult right away. Taking action quickly is the best way to stop cyber bullying before it gets out of hand.

Even though emails and messages are easy to stop, cyber bullies is not as easy to stop as traditional bullies are. Derogatory and hurtful comments posted online and shared between people are impossible to stop and can potentially reach an unlimited number of people. Once a comment is posted online it can reach an unlimited number of people and the ramifications can be huge. Stopping a traditional bully was relatively easy with the right preventative measures, but the anonymous nature of the internet makes it impossible.

(Authors note) “Badly phrased mails/blogs are sometimes like a prematurely lit firework . It may blow up in your face, injure others, leaving fingers burnt and even scars for life.”

We have all done it! Sent an email in temper and later wished that we first lose a limb than the recipient read it.

Tip: If somebody sends you an acidic comment. Walk away from your computer. Make a cup of tea and try and read between the lines.
Is the person who has offended under stress? Is there any of your actions that may have instigated a response like this?
Either way, retaliation is not the way forward. Remember, you cannot feel what they are feeling and neither can you have a pure insight of their ‘upset’ whether justified or not. Sometimes, simply ignoring the response may really be the best way forward.

Never, a sharp retort in defence. If somebody slights you, perhaps in your view shamelessly, roll with the punch, and much later, change the subject or make light of the subject, “Ooops, somebody’s having a rough day. Sorry you feel that way, why don’t you call me when you feel more in the mood and let me know if you need some company? “ Be, the protagonist, even if your pride is dented.

If either party is has misunderstood each other then there is no point racking up the confusion to frenzied response written in blood, it really does not help.

True writing skill is needed to quell the heat. Let’s look at it.

If somebody emails you, “What kind of friend leaves you on their own at a party, deliberately? You are not as enigmatic as you like to think. Maybe you should get over yourself before you start ignoring the people who try to look out for you.”

Now, that is anger!

What do you do? Over react as well? Don’t open a can of worms that leads to an electronic bloodbath!

Nothing good will come of locking horns online. If it ends in tears there will be no ready comfort for either disgruntled parties.

Don’t respond right away and see first if somebody shows a little regret. If that is not going to happen, you could use humour first, but if you know that person will take it the wrong way then a little tact is needed. Don’t waffle or try and defend your self. As the good book says, “Return not a bad word to anyone”. Hey, that works! It melts the meanest foe!

“Uh oh, I think I screwed up! Well, I’m not so popular now, am I? You know me,  I get carried away sometimes in company. Don’t stay mad, and I’ll make it up to you. Wanna see a movie?  My treat?”

Now only the hardest of hearts will see find that last comment provocative. Of course, we can’t treat everybody to the cinema that we offend or who offends us! But, the gist is, be the peacemaker and if that doesn’t work then distance yourself gradually. Hope they relent. You have to be nice to people the way up because you may meet them on the way down. The thing about online friction is this:

The problem is that we cannot use body language, eye contact, or voice inflection in an email so the message is sent in raw text and seem without compassion or devoid of emotion. That can really offend.

In the ‘olden’ days when people wrote a letter it was signed ‘Yours Sincerely’. It was a much more positive event. To sit down and write a letter, put it in an envelope. Buy a stamp, and post it! Emails are too easy to do. If our note was chiselled out of granite we would be more careful when choosing our words.

While most cases of bullying do not result in any long-term effects, the painful memories of bullying can cause victims problems in the future. For bullies, the inability to cope with problems in a healthy way may lead to serious trouble in the future. Because the possibility exists for these types of problems, bullying must be taken seriously and dealt with accordingly. It is important to stop bullying early so both the bully and the victim do not suffer from any long term affects.

Look at your blogging with friends like you are in the room with them. Empathy emails are what sell on social networking sites.

The Cyber bully will soon be exposed for their own folly. Nothing makes a bully shrink away more, if you stand firm and offer empathy.

Many lives have been saved in hostage situations through the captives communicating with kindness and offering alternatives.

Bullies like to get a reaction, but they won’t expect their victim to stand their ground and show them up for what they are. That is, they are unhappy. They are in pain. They are cruel because somebody or something is being cruel to them.

Next time you are being bullied ask some questions of your bully?

“You’re a smart person, you are better than this? What is it that makes you feel you have to act this way towards me? You can and will find a way past the negativity you feel right now. I believe you have that strength within you to overcome the hurt you are feeling. If you are going through some crap right now then no wonder you want to beat up on others, but there is a better way. You see, I have this great article by Perry Estelle I want you to read.”

Hey, if it stops you getting a black eye???

“Courage is fire. Bullying is smoke.” Benjamin Disraeli


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