Bullying is a topic that I have talked about frequently in my blog and with patients and educators. Sadly, bullying is much worse for children today. Why? Because social media created cyberbullying making it easy for bullies to taunt, tease and threaten their victims around-the-clock.
I recently came across a story online at Choices magazine by a young woman who was bullied and decided to fight back. The article tells the story of Nicole, who had hundreds of friends and never thought she’d ever be the target of bullying. Until one day she was accused of doing something that angered many in her class, and so she was now being trashed on Facebook, tormented by a barrage of nasty, hurtful texts and on the verge of falling apart. Until one day she decided to fight back. Choices chronicles her story in “The Girl Who Got Even: A True Cyberbullying Story.”
Nicole’s mom became concerned about the bullying and did some research and found Shawn Edgington, one of America’s leading experts on cyberbullying prevention. Edgington had been speaking at schools and had come to the realization that teens would respond better if he had a young person they could relate to, so he asked Nicole if she would tell her story. She told Choices, “She jumped at the opportunity. For her, there was no better way to get even with her tormenters than by telling the world what she had endured and what she had learned.”
With Nicole as his campaign spokesperson, Edgington formed the Great American NO BULL Challenge. Their website says their mission is to provide a global social media platform to promote youth leadership, cyber citizenship, and social change through peer-to-peer engagement and action. NO BULL is powered by the voices of youth (ages 13-23) through short video documentaries, PSAs, and Vines that they write and produce.
Nicole told Choices that working with Edgington on his campaign has been healing for her. She even said that one of the students who tormented her reached out to apologize for believing in the false accusations and partaking in the bullying.
It was great that Nicole confided in her mother and that her mother was proactive in helping her daughter. Parents need to educate themselves about bullying. There are effective intervention programs across the country that parents should get involved with in their children’s schools. Schools should be encouraged to create and enforce anti-bullying policies and to have class discussions about bullies.
I have counseled plenty of children over the years who have been the victims of childhood bullying. Bullying comes in many forms, but intimidation, teasing and the threat of violence are often involved. The sooner a child begins to deal with their bullying the better the outcome. For Nicole, she not only beat back the bullies she found that she “felt relief” and that her world seemed “in balance” again.
The Girl Who Got Even: A True Cyberbullying Story – Choices
Shawn Edgington – Cyberbully Prevention Expert
Great American NO BULL Challenge
What to Do If You Think Your Child is Being Bullied – Dr. Henry Paul Blog
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription.