On the bully bandwagon
THE discussion around the serious matter of bullying is an ongoing topic, one which was the focus of the ABC's recent two-part series, Bullied.
Presented by swimming champion Ian Thorpe, the documentary's two episodes examined incidents of bullying at the schools of two students who have been pushed to the brink by daily insults and online attacks.
Bullied tackles the complex issue by gathering video evidence to present to peers in an effort to resolve the bullying situations.
On screen, those being bullied express their feelings of being scared, left out, lonely, sad, depressed and confused.
Their self-esteem is low, they don't want to go to school, they've become withdrawn and struggle with life in general.
The show also highlights the damage done by bystanders who fail to step in, with the aim to help them understand the impact the bullying is having on their classmate.
I applaud the ABC for tackling this subject.
It shines the light on the causes, context, and consequences of bullying but I was left dissatisfied and frustrated with the lack of solutions offered.
Bullying is a problem but one I believe has been around for as long as man has walked on Earth.
It shouldn't be tolerated but I'm not convinced it is something we can ever fully eradicate from our society.
Generally those who bully others do it because they like having power over others; want to be popular; are trying to get attention; assume that bullying is acceptable; or see it as a way of communicating their own feelings of fear, anxiety or jealousy.
How do you change the actions of a bully?
The great expectation on schools to deal with the problem fully is something I find unfair. The blame should not be aimed solely at educational institutions without arming them with ways to "stop” it.
Schools have to implement bullying policies but these seem ineffective especially when they are battling the scourge of cyber-bullying on top of schoolyard bullying.
What schools and society need is more practical help but what hope do we have when the so-called experts can't offer ideas on how to beat the bully?
Sadly humans have for thousands of years targeted victims for their perceived differences, be it culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability or disability, religion, physical appearance, age or economic status.
At least we are talking about it and putting the topic on the table.
Most people do not bully others and are not bullied themselves but they may see or know about bullying that goes on and they need to stand up and say enough.