Archive for October, 2012

From The Huffington Post
Cindy Waitt

Executive producer, Bully

Posted: 10/24/2012 4:40 pm

I’ll start. I gossiped about someone, and while that might not rate up there with threatening to smack someone across the face or actually doing it, bullying starts with words and moves its way up the pyramid of violence. That’s how bullying works.

As executive producer and an early supporter, through Waitt Institute of Violence Prevention, ofBully, I was thrilled at the astounding reception and attention that Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen’s beautiful and disturbing film received. It’s long past time for this country to recognize the insidious and continual threat to millions of kids in school buildings, buses, and hallways across America. The film clearly became a tipping point in the anti-bullying movement, and that’s a good thing. Bullying is an almost universal concern; that’s why it resonates.

But… there’s more for us to think about. Hopping onto the anti-bullying bandwagon is also a good thing, but as you do, consider the role we adults play every day in the lives of our kids, and other people’s kids. As there are many ways kids bully, there are even more ways we adults bully.

As someone who has supported many types of violence prevention, it’s always been my feeling that a lot of schoolyard bullying may start somewhere else. A study done by the CDC in 2011 confirmedthat. Kids who bully and are bullied are more likely to live with abuse at home. This doesn’t mean that in all cases kids have seen it at home, but parents matter, as do all adults who work with and mentor children.

When people ask what they can do to stop bullying, after a few practical suggestions such as volunteering time and resources and talking to kids, what I tell them is to look in the mirror. Studies done suggest that we do have an impact on our kids. It’s up to us to show them how to treat other human beings. How are we doing? Not good enough. Millions of adults brutalize each other every day. I’m not counting street violence, but here are a few places that we inflict pain and trauma on each other every day in this country:

1) In the home. Bullying isn’t a strong enough word for family violence, but it has to be number one on the list. Children are present during 80 percent of the assaults against their mothers and three million children witness domestic violence each year. There are millions of incidents of domestic violence each year and kids are seeing them. We have to make this link and connect the dots between what kids see at home and how they might act at school, particularly in prevention and in the education of adolescents. Thanks to the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, stricter laws, and the tireless work of advocates and activists every day, we’ve made progress. But when I read that Congress has yet to settle their differences over the Violence Against Women Act re-authorization, I wonder what they might be thinking. I’ll get to Congress later.

2) In the workplace. The power and control tactics used in the home and in the schoolyard translate easily into where we earn our living. As sponsor of the first workplace bullying national survey, with the Workplace Bullying Institute and Zogby, we found that 37 percent of Americanshad experienced workplace bullying at some point in their careers. That’s millions of targets and millions of bullies where we work. Those concerned with the American economy would do well to see how some of this affects the bottom line, not to mention the lives of those psychologically traumatized every day.

3) Online. Kids aren’t the only ones who have figured out how to bully in cyberspace. Ever read message boards? We’ve read and been appalled at kids who started Facebook sites with “I hate…”, but there are tons of adult haters out there starting sites every day. As the Internet has come to represent our world, both at its best and at its worst, this isn’t surprising, but couldn’t we raise the level of the discourse beyond targeting each other?

4) On the air and on the news. We live in an age of bullying as entertainment, and while this pastime is as old as time itself, our airwaves are increasingly filling themselves up with it. It’s said that around 30 percent of television is now “reality based“, and while not all of these shows are filled with bullying, plenty are. Adults are featured “voting each other off the island” in a plethora of brutal ways, verbally assaulting co-workers, co-contestants, and even “friends.” Mean girls and mean boys are all grown up, and bringing their best schoolyard bully tactics to us every day and night. And the news? Some of the most popular talk shows feature those mean kids grown up too. If we can’t make this stop, and we can’t, can we at least start turning them off?

5) In our election process. There are some great politicians out there, dedicated and devoted to the public good, and many are active supporters of violence prevention. But, as a group, “hired” by us to work together in essentially a two-party system, they would earn a great big “dysfunctional” label and earn it easily. Let’s ponder this. Imagine a company where half the employees have as a stated goal the overthrow of the CEO. In this place, the employees have two camps, and many in both camps work not only on obstructing the work of the other camp every day, but are also featured in the media trashing the other camp on a daily basis as well. Would you invest in that company? We do. We have many political leaders as allies now in the anti-bullying movement. That’s great news, and we are grateful that this happened, but I’m hoping they’ll gaze into their collective mirror and look at what’s not working in their own halls. I think many of them would like to see more civility in the process of legislating.

Until, we get what we do to others and how we model for kids, the anti- bullying movement won’t move as well as we would hope. A study we did in Iowa by Dr. Alan Heisterkamp of the University Of Northern Iowa confirmed that kids whose parents spoke to them about violence and bullying were more likely to view violence as wrong and intervene when it’s happening. With that knowledge, we became co-sponsors with Marlo Thomas and Free to Be Foundation, AOL, Facebook, Johnson and Johnson, Bully director Lee Hirsch, the Department of Education, and the Ad Council in a new campaign that asks parents to talk to their kids about standing up to bullying and violence. That’s the second step. Showing them what non-violence is about every day is the first.

With the violence prevention agency, Futures without Violence, we did an ad years ago about the importance of modeling non-violent behavior to children. It said, essentially, “They’re waiting, they’re watching, they’ll listen.” They are and they will.

Cindy Waitt is the Executive Director of the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention and Executive Producer of “Bully”. She co sponsored the first Workplace Bullying Institute Zogby Poll in the United States in 2007, and, with her brother, Ted, has been a lead supporter of Futures without Violence’s campaign “Coaching Boys into Men” and Jackson Katz’s “Mentors in Violence Prevention” for the past decade. She is Executive Producer, with Gloria Steinem and Kit Gruelle, of the upcoming documentary “Private Violence”. For more about her work, go to wivp.waittinstitute.org or cindywaitt.com

Follow Cindy Waitt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cindywaitt

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Bullies / Stalkers only believe their own version of the truth. They label their target as “delusional” if they disagree. The bully does not understand the difference between “delusion” and “illusion”. I have encountered such bullies and stalkers.

Definitions of Illusion Vs Delusion:

Illusion – Something with deceptive appearance: something that deceives the senses or mind, e.g. by appearing to exist when it does not or appearing to be one thing when it is in fact another.

Delusion – False belief: a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.

Bullies cannot see that their truth is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It comes down to “appearance” versus  “evidence”.  The person who disagrees may have “evidence” to the contrary. Information the bully does not have.  In the words of a beautiful, popular country song *  “A picture’s worth a thousand words. But you can’t see what those shades of gray keep covered. You should’ve seen it in color.”

Bullies only see in black and white. They can’t see beneath those shades of gray. And they have never seen it in color.

* In Color By Jamey Johnson from the album  “That Lonesome Song” Mercury Nashville. Written by Jamey Johnson, James Otto and Lee Thomas Miller.

Bully Poetry 101

Posted: October 21, 2012 in Editorial

“Jack and Jill went up a hill…

To stalk some poor poster…

But Jack isn’t real…

That’s how I feel…

And Jill is a bully/stalker”…

Cyberbullying expert Alexis Moore says that parents should intervene when their children become victims of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying expert Alexis Moore says that parents should intervene when their children become victims of cyberbullying. (Miodrag Gajic/iStock)

A number of high-profile incidents in recent years have demonstrated that cyberbullying — through email, texts or social networking sites like Facebook — can lead to grave consequences if not handled properly.

On Oct. 10, a 15-year-old girl in Port Coquitlam, B.C., took her own life a few weeks after posting a YouTube video about the bullying she had experienced at school and online.

Two years ago, an 18-year-old student at Rutgers University in New Jersey student jumped from a bridge after his roommate used a webcam to spy on him.

In 2008, a Missouri teenager hanged herself weeks before her 14th birthday after being the target of a hoax on MySpace.

Alexis Moore, author of A Parent’s Guide to Cyberstalking and Cyberbullying, says that stories like these happen far too often. She spoke with CBC News about what parents can do to navigate the dark world of online bullying.

Q: How is cyberbullying different from traditional bullying?

A: The first thing is understanding it’s just as serious as traditional bullying — without the black and blue marks, without your child coming home with their backpack ripped off their shoulder or something like that. Parents tend to think a little less about non-physical activity being this harmful.

That’s something that I try to educate and remind law enforcement and our public officials about: This is just as deadly and lethal an assault as your traditional battery. It’s using technology to harass and to manipulate and often destroy a child.

Q: How can parents approach the topic of cyberbullying with their children?

A: The best tools a person can use are just what’s out there already. Finding that avenue where there may be a cartoon or a show or an advertisement on TV or the radio [about cyberbullying]. It’s a great way to open up that conversation with your kids.

What I always say is, let them tell you. So [ask] open-ended questions and act stupid. Parents can become actors and actresses. “Tell me about cyberbullying. It was just on this radio ad. Is this something that goes on in your school?” It’s amazing how kids will tell you.

Q: Are there signs parents can watch for to recognize if their child is being bullied online?

A: The first one that most notice is they have an unusual response to technology. So, for example, if a youth is using a video game or has a computer or cell phone that they usually love and were always running to it, you will see a different reaction. A happy kid that used to be excited about using technology is now not excited. It may be subtle. They’ll have a different response to the technology because they know it’s now a weapon.

Warning Signs

  • Change in behaviour. For instance, your child is a good student but his/her grades start going down.
  • A child that used to sit on the computer for hours, doesn’t do that anymore. They are reading or watching TV.
  • They are not eating or eating too much.
  • They are missing items or their clothing is damaged.
  • They are suffering depression and anxiety. They don’t want to go to school.
  • If they say or write dark things like “I don’t want to live.” Parents tend to think it’s just drama but the child needs help.

-Tina Meier, founder of the Megan Meier Foundation, an anti-bullying organization.

Another is personality changes. We often will just consider our child as a teenager having a bad day or just being cranky, not realizing that this is perhaps something more, and it may be due to cyberbullying. So I always say, look for those personality changes and please don’t write them off, because you can save a life.

Q: If a child is being bullied, what can he or she do to make it stop?

A: Speak out. Number one. And it’s so hard, because kids are trying to be macho and don’t want Mommy or Daddy a lot of the time to interfere, because that’s not cool. So we need to change that and say speaking out is number one.

Telling the teacher, telling a friend’s parents, telling your pastor at church, telling your mom or dad, anyone. They need to learn to speak out and tell as many people as possible, because unfortunately, today you may tell grandma [and] grandma may write it off, but the next person they tell hopefully won’t.

Q: What can parents do to help their children cope with cyberbullies? Do you recommend that parents intervene?

A: I do, and that’s where it gets tricky, because you don’t want to overreact as a parent. You don’t want to single your child out to be a crybaby, because that doesn’t help them, either. In fact, it can encourage more nonsense. But I think letting the school know that’s there a problem immediately is the best advice for everybody. And to talk to other parents about these circumstances and find out if they’ve had similar experiences.

And ensuring the child has emotional support and evaluation is critical. Because honestly, we’re not in their minds, we don’t know how serious this is until oftentimes it’s so far gone and the child has committed suicide. So, in my opinion, although a parent is good-hearted and a parent may be providing love and care and all the necessities of a good life, we’re not certain that that’s enough. In my opinion, opt for some professional help.

Q: Is there a way for kids to protect themselves from becoming targets of cyberbullying in the first place?

A: A lot of times it’s choosing your technological buddies wisely. A lot of anonymous friends and interacting online with strangers — you’re at a risk. That’s up to the parents to start educating them that there’s dangers online…because you really have no way of knowing who the folks are you’re interacting with.

Q: On the flipside, how can parents prevent their own children from becoming cyberbullies?

A: Reminding them, if I catch you bullying, you’re going to have hell to pay as well. Setting the ground rules, that just like anything else, if we catch you doing wrong, you’re going to be punished. And they need to know.

Taking it a step further, if we do indeed have a bully in the classroom or a bully online, there’s usually some catalyst for it, and unfortunately it could be a cry for help. It could be a child who’s being abused or neglected at home. So that is a big issue and a lot of times, people don’t even think of that. They’re just so quick to punish and want to hang the person. Remember, these are kids we’re talking about. They’re in need of guidance and support.

Q: Are there things that the community as a whole can do to help prevent cyberbullying?

A: Interact with each other. A lot parents are complaining right now to me saying, “Oh Alexis, I don’t have time.” And I say, “Do you have a phone? Do you have email? Of course you have time.”

You can join together as parents in a network and have everyone’s phone number and email in a group listserv and all you do is click a button and you can send out to your group of parents and educators that you have a problem. Communication is key.

 

From CBC News…What Parents Can Do To Prevent Cyberbullying…

By Althea Manasan   October 12, 2012

 

Till Death Do Us Part

Posted: October 13, 2012 in Editorial

Marilyn and Roger are cyber bullies. They bully as a married couple. At least, that’s what their target is told. You see, one of my personal stalkers told me on a certain now defunct fan message board, that her husband Roger, had been recruited by her to speak to me. Except that Roger probably only exists in the cyber bully/stalkers own warped mind. This bully, who recently stopped by to bully on this blog, has many personalities and names. She/he is a celebrity stalker too. This person, allows no discussion. Only her opinions matter. Only they are correct. If you disagree, you are belittled and ridiculed. This particular person, says that she lives near her favorite big city. She is married to Roger. And they have a wonderful life. She also has her own personal or administrative assistants. Or so she tells you. She also loves to hang out on one of the biggest celebrity/gossip sites on the net. I am talking about this particular bully today, because she asked on the gossip site, how this blog was doing? And I quote ” How’s that bully blog of yours? What a joke. BAHAHA”  Of course she asked as another of her personalities named Jill. (Jill @ 10/12/2012 ).  I wonder if Jill is married to Jack? I informed her that this blog is doing fine. As is my other blog.  She can no longer harass me, as she used to. She is now powerless to do so. Her target has been removed. I am sure that she bullies others, elsewhere. Her fictional husband Roger, still comments on the gossip site.

Shout Out – No Bull

Posted: October 9, 2012 in News Worthy, Video and Film

Shout outs in support of the anti-cyberbully campaign of the No Bull Challenge…

Thanks to NoBullChallenge…

The Teen Video Awards…San Francisco, California…And the No Bull Campaign…From NoBullChallenge on October 8, 2012…

Thanks to NoBullChallenge…