Okay, okay, we know what you’re thinking. How can anyone try to insinuate in this day and age that eliminating bullying amongst children might not be a good thing? Insanity, you say. Well, we at Common Sense Conspiracy have been pondering this issue as it has really come to the forefront the last couple of years, and we are ready to present a different side of the story. First, of course, come the standard disclaimers. No, Common Sense Conspiracy doesn’t condone “bullying” in the classic sense. Or any sense, really. However, we think that the term has been turned into something different these days and that all of the propaganda aimed at stopping this which is apparently suddenly an epidemic of epic proportions may not have thought the consequences of their message all of the way through.
Let’s set some ground rules. There is no question that if a teachers and school officials catch one child bullying another child that the bully should be punished. This includes both the physical and non-physical variety. And yes, it would be great if more children’s parents could get across to them the way bullying makes the target feel and all of the stuff that goes along with it. However, these campaigns targeting bullying all across the country aren’t going to do any real good in the end. Real violent physical bullying is certainly something that we need to stamp out, but we have a news flash for you: kids that engage in that sort of behavior are not going to be swayed by a touching commercial on the radio or television that shows a kid feeling the dastardly effects of their advances. They are going to laugh at it and go do it again. Sorry, folks, but the real world has to show up sometime, and now is the time. So, for those hardcore bullyers, these strategies obviously fall flat. For the child that might call another child a name…it might work. It might make them think twice for a second about it. But the point we want to get across is that whether we like it or not, bullying is not something that is limited to our schools. People bully in all phases of life; we all have worked with that guy or that woman that bullies. It’s not just about being bigger than someone or calling names; bullies in the real world use their economic and employment status to bully, and they do real damage that presentations like the ones below could never dream of touching the surface of.
See, your kids are going to come across bullies throughout their life. It does not end when they graduate high school. But how much of a difference would it make if they never encountered it at all through their entire life until then. Yeah, that’s right. They wouldn’t know how to deal with it. So, maybe it could be that standing up to a bully or at least dealing with the emotional distress that comes from it is just part of growing up and will be a part of your life as you learn what to expect and how to deal with these situations across the ladder of your life and not just in school. Like a sheltered child that lives in such a germ-free environment that they end up being sickly later because they build no immunity to anything, this crisis of bullying is no different.
Another point: a lot of the focusing on bullying of late revolves around persecution of gay children. This is terrible and if we lived in a perfect world, certainly we would love to see it not happen at all. But it is going to happen at some point, even if we shelter them in school. Maybe one day the world will get to a point where homosexuality is not viewed by anyone as being strange or different in a bad way, but that world is not here today. Gay children will encounter a prejudiced world sooner or later; we can’t protect them forever. They will have to face up to it and learn that they have self-value within their own skin and can’t let others project insecurity onto them. But if we don’t give them that chance, how much might we be damaging them in the future?
Does it mean bullying is good? Absolutely not. It should never happen. But it will, and everyone knows it. Whatever the source of the bullying and the perceived “difference” at the core, it’s part of our society, it’s part of our world, and learning to deal with it is something that each and every one of us have to resolve ourself to if we want to be able to be the best we can be. So, are these commercials and campaigns necessarily bad? Of course not. If they convince one child to lighten up and do the right thing, then it was probably money well spent. All we are saying is that parents need to make sure they realize that no matter what schools, the government, or anyone else come up with to try to stop bullying, it is an unfortunate tradition that is far from being eradicated. We must not have a false sense of security on this.
In closing, we want to reiterate that physical violent bullying is something that must be stopped, and we encourage people that see it happening to do the right thing and report it to the appropriate person. And we’re not saying that every child needs to be called an ugly name to be ready for life, but well…maybe that is what we are saying. The following slideshow shows one such project that outlines the nature of bullying. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that bullying is just a part of life? Or is this something we can stamp out? And will our children be better off for it if we are able to pull that off? What will be their reaction when they leave the sheltered walls of their high school and find that in reality, bullies are everywhere and ready to prey on them?