The Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal report that, “Facebook and Time Warner are ganging up on bullies to address a problem that torments millions of children and young adults. The partnership announced Tuesday calls for Facebook and Time Warner to use their clout to raise awareness about bullying and encourage more people to report the abuses when they see them.” They recognize the need. Facebook also recognizes the economic problem if they allow massive amounts of bullying to flow through their pages. Eventually parents will force their kids off Facebook or will start suing Facebook for carrying the content.
Their present effort (“Stop Bullying: Speak Up”) will be focused on educating parents and kids about the problem; on “teaching young people to speak up and stop bullying.” A pledge not to bully plus Facebook’s effort to make reporting cyberbullying and cyberbullies easier are good steps.
But even the backing by the President Obama’s family won’t stop bullying unless there are laws, policies, programs, and people willing to prosecute bullies for their actions.
That’s why I’d like to see Facebook and Time Warner use their huge influence to pressure legislators to pass strong anti-bullying laws that require district administrators, principals and teachers to stop bullies and protect our kids. That’s the only way to stop bullying-caused suicides.
The present educational efforts will sway many kids and their parents by sensitizing them to the issue and encouraging them not to be drawn into bullying by the truly relentless bullies. But these sensitized kids will be encouraged to come forward if, and only if, responsible adults – school district administrators, principals and teachers – respond swiftly and firmly, and protect the kids who speak up.
If the responsible adults don’t step up by passing strong laws and by being willing to confront bullies and their bullying parents, the effort will be “all talk, no walk.” Legislators must legislate so that principals will be protected in order for them to be proactive in observing bullying and stopping it. If it’s all talk, the effort won’t survive the first month of school.
Programs that depend only on educating, converting or rehabilitating bullies don’t work. Strong consequences are necessary deterrents.
As a parent, there’s a lot you can do this summer. Don’t count on Facebook and Time Warner to do all the work to protect your children. Don’t count on advertizing/educational campaigns to protect your children
If your children are the targets of bullies and school officials aren’t protecting them, you need to take charge. With expert coaching and consulting, we can become strong and skilled enough to overcome principals and other officials who won’t do what’s right.
“How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks” and “Parenting Bully-Proof Kids,” have many examples of children and adults commanding themselves and then stopping bullies. For more personalized coaching call me at 877-8Bullies (877-828-5543).