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Bullycide

“Bullycide” is a word that underlines the fatal side of bullying: it’s bullying + suicide = bullycide.

Bullycide might be a new word. And deservingly so as neither the word nor – more importantly – the concept of “bullying” has created any real change in statistics nor at schools. In a world of zero tolerance, how has bullying grown to such an extent that statistics are now saying that bullying is the “3rd leading cause” of death among children 10 and up, and a major public health problem in school?

How do kids feel so despondent  and so hopeless that they’re driven to hang themselves with dog leash, jump off a bridge or end their lives by any of the other means they employ due to the impact of bullying?

Once upon a time bullying comprised of teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting, and stealing initiated by one or more students against a victim; and it was also indirect causing a student to be socially isolated through intentional exclusion. Boys typically engage in direct bullying methods, but girls are more apt to utilize more subtle indirect strategies, such as spreading rumors and enforcing social isolation (Ahmad & Smith, 1994; Smith & Sharp, 1994).

Today, in our internet age bullying could reach epic proportions. If bullying was so hard to nip in the pre internet age, imagine today, where anonymity is a rage. Digital bullying can be a nightmare for parents in a society where kids hide lots, including, and perhaps especially, being bullied for all kinds of fear. Digital bullying is a fast growing problem because many kids have smart devices and are on all kinds of sites, with little or no parental or school control. Kids don’t know and don’t believe that their profiles are everywhere in cyberspace, and if neither teachers nor parents have a say, the [cyber]sky’ s the limit.

In an age where there are so many adaptations of books, especially romantic novels [hunger games, insurgent, fault in our stars etc], making a movie out of this book is much needed. Cassidy McMillan, has begun with her documentary  “Bullies and Friends”

But we are going to need to see this subject explored much more if bullycide is to diminish. If teachers, parents, kids, law enforcers are to curb it.

It needs to reach wider audiences than just young readers shelves at the library if lives are to be saved. In Thirteen Reasons Why Hannah’s bullying started by rumors. She employs as sophisticated means to end her life as bullies use today to bully, even though Jay Asher wrote the book in 2007, almost 8 years ago. she leaves behind 13 tapes explaining why she ended her life.think before u act

rumour

Books like Thirteen Reasons Why , and documentaries like Bullies and Friends, should also be made required reading or part of all schools’ curriculum, starting from middle school where bullying might be most acutely felt. Middle school kids are at a juncture in their life where looks and fitting in mean everything.

why hannah life endedIf what Jay Asher predicted 8 years ago and what McMillan is saying in her documentary is true, bullycide is a time bomb that needs to be detonated at a faster  pace, by everyone: teachers & other educators, parents, directors, writers, law officers, techno-activists because the world of technology has become smarter than us and we need to ‘skill up” before more kids utter these dreadful words that Hannah did in Thirteen Reasons Why: “a lot of you cared, just not enough”.

 


8 Comments

  1. Rhett says:

    I want to second your suggestion that anti-bullying become a part of school curricula, and I think you nailed it when you identified middle school as the right time to introduce the subject since that is precisely when the physical and hormonal changes of puberty collide with the crushing social pressure to be “popular” with peers. Most children, like most adults, are capable of empathy. There is a reason why bullies generally travel in packs of several kids; seeing others engage in bullying lessens the stigma, reinforces the bidding sadism and encourages increasing cruelty. The hive mentality. This is why it is less common to see a lone wolf bully. Without the negative reinforcement of his peers, the bully is begins to relate to the victim, to see the victim as an individual. I do think the increased focus on this problem in a positive development. Kids have always been bullied. Fifty years ago kids were told to “toughen up” or “grow a thicker skin.” The idea of an anti-bullying course for students would have been met with laughter by school administrators and parents alike. Not so now. So I think there is reason to be optimistic.

    • Rhett says:

      Yikes. Pardon the typos above. I’m on my iPhone!

    • I Still think that if emphasis was on school and grades more than popularity and looks bullying wouldn’t be so bothersome. In high school a boy called me jaws but I was smarter than him so it didn’t matter as much. when focus is placed on one thing then another thing doesn’t matter as much. But inasmuch as it has become a problem here then it’s right to address it before it explodes further(since emphasis on say ‘education’ isn’t going to shift). And now digital ‘a made it worse.

      • Rhett says:

        Yes, I think it’s true that if ones popularity were tied to academic achievement then bullying would be less of a problem. Of course there would be the risk that the smartest students might bully the struggling ones, but I doubt that would be as widespread a problem as bullying over social status has become. I think a good solution is to try to get to all students to think of their school as a community, their class as a family. Foster interstudent relationships with lots of group assignments and have them help each other academically. The idea would be to foster a “team first” mentality rather than a “me first” mentality. Still, at the individual level, bullying remains a problem of attitude. Too many students are simply out of control at school. They do not fear the consequences of their misbehavior because there are no real consequences for misbehavior. Discipline and punishment (which are of course not the same thing–the latter is essential for ensuring the former) both have been removed from the American public schools and the result is that a loud and obnoxious minority of students can make going to school, which should be a pleasure, a source of dread for their well behaved peers.

  2. your take is as always- reflective. I must say I haven’t seen the smart students bullying the less stronger ones, but that possibility exists when you already know of bullying. there was frankly no time to look at who’s doing what. I recently spoke to my host ‘daughter’ about her expenece in school and what she told me beats what I’ve experienced by miles. in that part of china where she’s from every minute and hour is accounted for during the day. so much so that kids get flashlights to do work and hide under their sheets at night bc there’s simply not enough time for work let alone looking at others or bullying. perhaps then it’s a mentality issue? what occurs to some vs what occurs to others. and i have a feeling it is bc our sole occupation as in china was grades. so we put out intellos but we may not be as well rounded as you, here. it’s a give and take. but then there’s’ the added problem of children & young adults being able to do whatever they want and society treats them as adults at the young, inexperienced age of 18, which only forces them to be on par with experienced adults. how do they understand bullying effects when they are freshly minted bullying ‘adults’? bullying is big here bc it has tentacles everywhere

  3. Hi! I’m Cassidy McMillan, the director/writer/producer of “Bullies And Friends” documentary film on bullying and suicide prevention. Thank you very much for noting the documentary film “Bullies And Friends” http://www.BulliesAndFriends.com as our film team is working to get it to release to help prevent future suicides related to bullying (bullycides).
    I set out to make the documentary film when I learned that kids across the globe, some as young as nine years old, were committing suicide due to bullying; and I wanted to make a film that not only told of the bullying/bullycide epidemic, but wanted to make a film that provides solutions to bullying to kids, parents, schools and communities. Our film does that with interviews with teens themselves, those involved with the bullying court case where teens stood trial for bullying, and the emotional interview with one of the girls who stood trial in the case, who provides advice to teens on what they can do right now to stop bullying.
    The film also has the exclusive interview with the judge who oversaw and decided/gave the precedent setting ruling in the court case. The judge provides important information to kids, families, schools on bullying and discusses how and when bullying becomes more than just “teasing” and becomes a criminal action.
    Additionally, the film has noted experts, family members involved in the case, parents, residents who were affected by the case and bullying, government officials, bullying statistics, and bullying incidents across the globe. To learn more on “Bullies And Friends” documentary film, our speaking work in schools to prevent bullying, or to get involved, visit http://www.BulliesAndFriends.com Can give a “like” at http://www.facebook.com/BulliesAndFriendsFilm. And we’re on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/BulliesnFriends Other information is at http://www.cassidymcmillan.com
    Thank you again for writing about the important topic of bullying, suicides related to bullying, and our documentary film BULLIES AND FRIENDS. Sincerely, Cassidy McMillan, filmmaker (www.CassidyMcMillan.com)

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