You would have been appalled. It was such an egregious example of social aggression and cyberbullying - all rolled into one. A high school administrator shared it with me. About three paragraphs long, it was a screen shot of a seething post from one high school girl to another. And it was very public - the message was posted on a girl's Facebook wall - for all to see.
It was filled with F-bombs, insults, talk of how ugly and fat the girl was and how no one liked her - not even her friends. The hatred went on and on. It made me realize just how much work we have to do - to teach, protect, shore up, support, and build up our girls.
I thought of the controversy surrounding the new Bully movie - the Motion Picture Association planned to give the movie an R rating due to language. That rating would keep middle school and most high school students from seeing the movie. Yet these same high school students (who would be banned from the movie unless accompanied by an adult) hear and read these same insults and words at school, online, and on the bus. Daily. It's an example of how very disconnected we can be as adults and institutions.
The screen shot of the overt bullying and the controversy around the rating of the Bully movie (the producers elected to release the movie without a rating - which limits the showings of the movie - rather than receive an R rating) remind me of these facts:
- bullying is rampant
- only 30% of kids report bullying
- it often cuts deep
- most of us were bullied to some degree and we figured out how to get past it
- on the other hand, bullying can leave scars
- cyberbullying feels very public and therefore sometimes even more humiliating
- most kids who see cyberbullying do NOT believe the negative messages. The viewers/bystanders most often feel compassion for the person who was bullied
- bystanders can play a HUGE positive role to negate bullying and to support those who have been targeted
How do you prepare your kids? How do you support your daughters in an environment as hostile as this? (It's not just high school - middle school is thought by many to be the cruelest years for bullying.)
Talk to your daughter. Send her a daily text message to help her understand and take a stand against bullying (or send her a message of support if you know she is targeted) - sign up here: www.messageaday.com
What will she learn there?
- how to use friends and teachers as shields
- how to stand up for herself
- how to protect a friend
- how to protect herself if the bullying becomes physical
Plus she will receive:
- emotional support
- guidance about what to do online
- encouragement about the future
Why do I like this message service? I helped create it. Message a Day exists to support families - to teach concepts - and to encourage kids.
The content goes beyond a nice inspirational message a day. The message streams are well founded, evidence based, filled with the latest research, tips, facts, and healthy messages.
Check out the bullying streams - and make sure the kids you care about are getting the support they need.