Bullying is the part of school culture and there are a lot of factors which contribute to it.
First of all the structure of the school system, which is very hierarchical, very top-down so bullying fits into it very well and just recreates this structure in a twisted way.
Teachers and principals look the other way and say that they are only their to teach, blah blah blah, not noticing that schools inherently carry certain values just because of the way they are organised, the things that are selected to be taught, the way teacher-student relationships are conducted and all other similar things that are part of what you can call the "hidden program".
Another real major issue I think is that the post-industrial capitalist societies that we live in are very focused on "winning". Western, individualist culture promotes being the best, strongest, richest over community harmony. That is especially true within the US which is the most individualist country in the world, according to Hofstede's research and where neo-liberal values are pretty much universally espoused. Again bullying is a twisted way of recreating that, as it is applied to those perceived as "losers" for whatever reason.
You could write tomes on this (and I am sure it's already been done) but basically what everybody needs to understand is that bullying fits in extremely well within the institutional culture of schools. You reap what you saw.
There definitely are no easy fixes to this problem.
You "just" have to promote a culture where bullying will be seen as something negative. Which we supposedly do but then at the same time if you have teachers looking down on students and not treating them with any respect, competition encouraged all the time and beating others being seen as the pinnacle of success, principals mobbing their staff, parents who are racist/homophobic and a number of other similar factors... Talk about mixed messages.
Last edited by Ziggy; 10-14-2012 at 02:53 AM.
Ziggy...Well said and Thank you.
When you put a bunch of people together who have nothing in common except their age and where they live with minimal adult supervision, you have a pressure cooker situation that encourages bullying as a way of coping.
Every time you say something stupid on the internet, Tim Berners-Lee punches a kitten.
Not sure if it's out of fear of it happening or if there was an attempt, but I remember reading about a school district that did ban the use of cellphones in the locker rooms.
Wisdom from Really and others. My heart ached when I read about Amanda Todd. Those who do this stuff do it because they can! There are few consequences, if any. Read Rosie DiManno's article in the Toronto Star on Sat. Odd that I'm recommending something she's written because she usually eviscerates figure skating but this piece on bullying of AT is superb.
There always were generations of people willing to spew hate but she is right that the internet culture that has developed is one with no accountability and where people jump to criticize and are encouraged to do so. Facebook? I hate it and am only on it to see family photos. I find it exclusionary and filled with everyone talking at one another rather than to one another. And few listen.
I think that those who grew up with the net really dropped the ball and all of us now are starting to see the results. And I don't think that one action is going to solve anything. We are need a multifaceted approach: give the police powers to counter cybercrime;get active in the courts; do prevention; get the schools to follow through on zero tolerance; go after the bullies! We always hear about the victims; a whole section of tv is centred around victimology( can anyone even watch Criminal Minds anymore or Special Victims Unit?) and normalizes it. Let's hear how the bullies have been held accountable. Get those rotten pictures off facebook. That's not freedom of expression; it's abuse, a hate crime.
And above all, parents everywhere, go see what your kid is doing online. If he/she is a bully or victim, you need to get involved. And motivate your kid to get involved and do the right thing for self and others. Can you imagine if every parent in B.C did that today, before school starts tomorrow?
Now, a 7th grader posting pictures of herself (which actually means SHE is distributing child porn herself!) speaks to inadequate parenting and supervision. I'd have gotten in HUGE trouble for doing something like that to the point where bullying would be the least of my concerns. I suspect at that point a convent school would no longer have been a joke. The guy who spread them around is guilty of possession and distribution of child porn, but he didn't make it, he just used what the "victim" put out there. MacMadame's right, I can't recall a single one of these cases where the picture wasn't something the person posted themselves (the dumbest examples being "But I just sent it to my boyfriend, it wasn't supposed to be public!" Even adult women, where they can legally give consent, should know better than that.)
Her classmates latched on to that but if they decided they wanted to bully her it would have been anything. I don't think anything other than going back to rigid, unforgiving discipline and structure in schools could really help. The kids causing the problems know they're not going to punished in any way that really hurts them, so they aren't afraid to do it. Teachers are afraid to do anything in a lot of cases and don't really have anything they can do, especially when now if you punish little Susie for shoving a classmate her parents scream bloody murder instead of saying "We're sorry" and punishing her at home, too. And juvenile courts and different rules for minor offenders make it hard to get the police and the justice system involved.
I don't know about putting "victim" in quotation marks because she was the person who originally posted the photo. I teach in a 8-12 school so I see kids that age daily - and in general the decisions they make at that age are not well thought out.
At the first pro-d day I ever did the guest speaker got us to put the palm of our hand on our nose (you have to do it to get the idea) and said "That is how teenagers see the world". It is the best metaphor I have ever heard for how their brains work and how they make decisions.
I also don't agree with assuming that her actions prove her parents have been negligent. I have seem some amazing parents with kids who have done stupid, atrocious things.
The other thing is danceronice - even if she did get in huge trouble from her parents as you said you would have and assuming there was a way for them to even know- the photo would still have already been out there.
This girl made some poor choices - but those choices don't make her any less of a victim of the physical and emotional harassment.
^^^From what I read, she didn't put up the picture of herself. Some stranger she met online talked her into flashing her breasts, & he took the picture.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobile...n_1959909.htmlAmanda's video tells a heart-wrenching story of the bullying she was subjected to -- both online and off. "In 7th grade,"*she begins, sharing her message on cue cards, "I would go with friends on webcam [to] meet and talk to new people." At one point, a stranger flattered her into flashing the camera.One year later, a man contacted her on Facebook, threatening to send around the picture of her topless "if [she] don't put on a show." Terrifyingly, the stranger knew everything about her: her address, school, friends, relatives, and the names of her family members. Soon, her naked photo had been forwarded "to everyone."
But you are right... Putting herself in that position wasn't smart, regardless.
Everything that I've read points to Amanda Todd being a very emotionally fragile girl. She was 12 when she came across a online pedophile/predator who encouraged her to take her clothes off. It's sick and disgusting and whether she put the pictures out herself is irrelevant because she was 12! On what planet do we point the finger at a 12 year old and start referring to her as a "victim" as opposed to what she actually is/was...a VICTIM.
Which means the oldest people who "grew up with the net" could be isn't very old at all. It's my kids' generation -- people who are now, at their oldest, in their mid-20s but most are still in High School.
So to say they "dropped the ball" is to blame kids who haven't had a chance yet to see all the consequences of their actions.
I watch those shows constantly and they are very popular so I don't know what you mean by "does anyone watch those shows any more" because clearly many people do. Because I actually watch them, I can tell you that your characterization of them as celebrating victimhood is very off-base. What those shows provide people (and probably why they are so popular) is vindication because the bad guys always get theirs. Unlike in real life where the victims often get no satisfaction and the perpetrators are sometimes celebrated and often allowed to get away with it and have their actions excused.We always hear about the victims; a whole section of tv is centred around victimology( can anyone even watch Criminal Minds anymore or Special Victims Unit?) and normalizes it.
So it's the opposite of what you are saying IMO.
I said that pictures taken *surreptitiously* and without knowledge of the subject are not the issue. (I didn't say it, but I suspect the reason is that they aren't salacious enough.) And in this case the pictures were taken with Amanda's knowledge. But not that it's always a person taking pictures of themselves and posting them because that is not what happened here and there are plenty of cases where people allow pictures of themselves to be taken and it comes back to haunt them.
I was arguing against the idea that you have no protection from this sort of thing so why bother even trying to behave sensibly.
This idea that all our problems stem from lack of discipline like back in the "good" old days would laughable if it wasn't so damaging.
Every time you say something stupid on the internet, Tim Berners-Lee punches a kitten.
B.C. teen's suicide nets hundreds of tips to police
Maple Ridge is where I grew up and where I am now living again. Sometimes there are letters in the newspaper about this being an idyllic community (usually someone squawking about the homeless, etc.) and I think, "just because you had it good doesn't mean it's an ideal community". I know otherwise.At a news conference Saturday afternoon, police said about 25 investigators were working on the case.
RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said criminal charges could be laid as a result of the investigation, and warned charges could be laid against those posting hateful or libelous comments about Todd on social media websites.
ETA: Originally I was going to say here is that now the abuse is even worse that someone has killed themself. But I'm remembering that two guys in my high school committed suicide a few years before they would have graduated. So maybe it's still as bad as it's ever been...
I'm off to the Patrick Chan threads...where you can watch a molehill become a mountain in seconds!!!
And conducting school relationships so that students are subjects, taking responsibility for their own life with the help and guidance of teachers and not objects pushed around in an authoritarian fashion.
The rigid, unforgiving discipline is the reason bullying exists in the first place. It's the same kind of uneven relationship conducted through the means of violence.
It's sad that it had to come to suicide for this story to gain notoriety and traction and law enforcement to act.
I understand death tends to amplify things, but I can't help but thinking that this is sort of sending a certain message for those who are contemplating suicide in their own desperate situations.
Bullies do not respond to sensitivity training. They CLEARLY do not respect adult authority, and why should they? Their parents are going to refuse to believe the teachers. Hence, why should schools do anything? They already told the kids "bullying is bad", kids didn't listen, what discipline they're permitted doesn't work and isn't reinforced by the parents. The parents have to be on board with disciplining and all most do nowdays is explain how it's not little Timmy's fault he punched Bobby and stuffed Susie in a locker, he's ADD and it's not THEIR fault anyway, the teacher/para/aide/day-care worker/anyone besides them who has five minute's authority over their child should have done something.
And giving a twelve-year-old a webcam and not making DAMN sure you know exactly what they're doing with it is negligent parenting. Not to mention who raises a child that thinks flashing someone on the internet is appropriate? Children behave as they're expected to behave by their parents. Expect them to behave responsibly, have real consequences that hurt (taking away things they value, limiting their privileges, SUPERVISING THEM) when they don't, and funnily enough they start meeting your expectations and behaving. It's really sad when the "you" in that statement is a non-parent doing it because the parents won't (why yes, that's the voice of experience), but it still works.
Raising children is not a psych experiment in how to make everyone love each other (never happen) and discipline does not create bullies or make life unlivable. If it did, the problems wouldn't be worse now (when there basically IS no discipline because every child is a special snowflake.)
So what you are saying is that fear and violence should be used as a means of conducting human relationships.
Which makes is different from bullying how?
Oh wait, this is exactly what bullying is.
If you raise somebody that way, don't be surprised if they turn out to be a bully. It is what you have taught them.
And no, respect isn't something you earn or have to become entitled to. It's something that every single human being deserves. If you don't treat somebody with respect, they will respond in kind. And then your self-fulfilling prophecy comes true ('I told you he was a bad kid').
And as far as raising children goes, of course discipline is necessary but not because 'the child needs to know its place' but because it needs its carer to provide them with safety, security and predictability and then the child can internalise them and learn to discipline themselves. If you need to discipline somebody all the time, you've failed. Another thing that a child needs (and the most important by far) is unconditional love. Contrary to 'folk ideas' about too much of a good thing resulting in a spoiled child, it works exactly the opposite way. If all of the child's needs are met in the first several crucial years of life, then this gets internalised and the child believes that they are a good person and that they can expect good things from other people. And you end up with a mentally healthy, psychologically resilient human being who can take care of themselves. If that is lacking, then you end up as somebody who is unsure of themselves and other people. And if you (wrongly) expect somebody to have bad intentions toward you, you are going to strike first.
And this is just one (parent vs. child relationship) of many factors, which contribute to bullying.
The way schools are organised and the relationships there are conducted (the schools' organisational and institutional culture) is a massive factor as well. But I've already wrote about it in this thread. So read it. Schools tell kids "bullying is bad" but at the same time heavily promote competition, see beating others as the pinnacle of success and have teacher-student relationships that are very rarely built on mutual respect. Again: if you treat young people with no respect and regard them as "trouble", they will see that and "trouble" is exactly what they will give you. Psychology 101.
Bullying itself is an 'acting out' kind of behaviour. So for the perpetrators it's a way of dealing with stress, a coping mechanism. Hardly the most constructive one but that's the function that it has. So the problem isn't that the perpetrators "don't have discipline". They have problems that they are unable to resolve otherwise and at the same time they are placed in an environment where bullying is encouraged (not directly of course but "between the lines").
Last edited by Ziggy; 10-15-2012 at 01:24 AM.
Amanda was 12 when she flashed someone on her web cam. She was not a 35 year old woman. Yes she made the mistake but she was a CHILD. Please give me a break with all of this "she put it out there nonsense". Think of when you were that age. What a confusing time of life.
I keep thinking of my son (who is 19 months). I think he is so perfect and wonderful. I am sure all of these parents of bullied kids think like I do-their kids are amazing. maybe that is why they cannot see what is happening? I dont get it...