Cyber and School Yard Bullying: The Bully Project
The Bully Project: Overview
Over 13 million children in the United States are bullied every year and according to the official website of The Bully Project, it is the most common form of violence among youth today.
Sun-dance and an award winning film maker, Lee Hirsch, has filmed a new documentary "Bully".
"Bully" was filmed over the 2009-2010 school year and opens up the life of those kids that are bullied by others. It is a situation that doesn't care about any socioeconomic status, doesn't matter if you are male or female, crosses into every culture and every race...anyone could be its next victim.
This film also covers how the parents and school officials respond and handle situations where a child is being bullied by others. It also covers the gaining momentum movement of how bullying is handled and making changes to keep our children safe.
It implements factors of how important a parent's role is in bullying behavior and the role of the parent of a bullied child. It promotes being an upstander and not a bystander while encouraging empathy within the home.
The film is scheduled for DVD release in 2013.
"Bully": Offical Movie Trailer
Issues Adressed in the Bully Project
Many people have considered bullying to be a "phase" that kids go through. That bullying is just "kids being kids", as you will hear in the actual film "Bully" created by Sun-dance and Lee Hirsch. It is a serious problem that has only escalated due to technological advances such as cell phones and text messaging, the Internet, instant messengers, and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. It is an issue that severely needs to be addressed and the way it is dealt with and identified changed as times have changed. No longer can you escape the school-yard bully when the last bell rings and go to the safety of your home. No longer can you be secure on the weekends and at night with your family knowing that they can't hurt you. Today, bullying is 24/7 and it is every day of the year. It doesn't take a holiday when school lets out on break, summer vacation is no longer a three month safe haven, and even if you relocate it can follow you as the Internet doesn't have a closing time.
Bullying definitions vary; as the official site for this film points out and here is how they define bullying:
IMBALANCE OF POWER: people who bully use their power to control or harm and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves.
INTENT TO CAUSE HARM: actions done by accident are not bullying; the person bullying has a goal to cause harm.
REPETITION: incidents of bullying happen to the same the person over and over by the same person or group.
Any form of bullying can and usually does, inflict lasting harm to the individual. It isn't just children that are bullied, there are adults that are bullied by other adults, adults bullied by kids etc. It is taking children's lives through what is now termed as "bullycide"...or a suicide that was the end result of lasting bullying that the individual couldn't escape from and found no hope of overcoming. Suicide of teens being bullied, one even by another adult being behind it, are under adult supervision and are monitored. They have been bullied or been the bully even in strict guidelines that they were given because a parent can't have complete control or watch over the kids all the time. The child in once case committed suicide with the parents home. These were not negligent parents nor were they ignorant of the problem nor did they ignore the problem. If this can happen when everything is being done "right" to protect a child, than it can happen to anyone. It can happen to you, to me, to your kids, to my kids and it is proven that everyone of us has probably even been a bit of a bully and not realized that we were or what impact we have had in even a small way. Same goes for we have probably also been bullied in some capacity.
This is an excellent way that Sun-dance and Lee Hirsch could contribute to anti-bullying awareness and campaigns.
- Bullying affects the entire family:This official website details some problems that the film will also deal with and one is the affects not just on the victim but on the family involved. Parents have feelings of at least frustration when their child is a victim, the child will feel things like depression, siblings may have fears and worries, and this all plays a role in the ultimate overall family dynamic system.
- School's responses or failure to act in regards to bullying behavior
- Loss of victims to things like suicide
- Inadequacy of training for adults and school officials and other school affiliated personnel: This can include not having the ability to fully identify bullying behaviors or warning signs, not feeling equipped to intervene when it is recognized, afraid to intervene because they are worried their staff or administrators won't support them or their will be parent backlash, think they can't make a difference, and worse chalk it up to "kids being kids".
- Shows the complexity of the community
The Film "Bully"
The film is meant to give a different insight into the world of bullying as we know it today. It gives a classroom view, parents view, even the view from the school-bus. It is described as "direct and hard-hitting". It uses the power behind individual stories of actual bullying victims and is aimed at changing the way we deal with this social problem. The official website even created a free PDF download of a guide for the audience to have to help them when watching this film. I recommended to utilize the free downloads on their website that I provided in this hub, as well as the free tool-kits available throughout the site; such as the one for bullying advocates.
It is also recommended that school staff have careful preparation if deciding to use this film to educate their students. They actually deem that this preparation is critical so you can establish open and honest communication with your students. In my opinion its the same for parents as well. Adults need to be prepared for how the youth will respond to this film. They state that the initial response will vary widely and some actually will blame the victims or judge the actions of the victims as well. Being prepared for these responses will help you gauge yours in response so as to not hinder the open communication you hope to establish.
It is important to remember that this film may hit some kids hard as it is what they have or had been through. A bully who is ashamed or never realized what their behavior had as an impact on another individual and these kids will need emotional support. An atmosphere of trust and understanding should already be established among classrooms that are going to view the film and same with parents showing their kids the film, as sometimes we don't always know if our own child is experiencing something so horrid.
This film is not, in any way, stating that this problem can be a "quick fix" or there is a "right answer" in dealing with the problem, just that we need to start becoming aware, we need to realize things have changed from what we have thought, we need to listen to our kids, we need to start finding ways to combat the issue. Any step in the right direction, no matter how small, is a step and that little step might just save a life and you don't even know it did.
I give the example of an Amanda Todd Anti-bullying Facebook page that is trying to get the bullying of some Facebook users creating pages in poor taste and just tearing apart a girl that committed suicide from bullying, who is trying to get these pages and photos taken down and they saved someone from killing them-self. You never know what you may say or what step you may take that seems so trivial no impact could possibly be made, yet you make the biggest one. Its like saying smile at everyone for you never know what person was going to kill them-self until they finally had someone random smile and say hi to them like they mattered and that changed their life.
© 2012 Abby Rourk