The Importance Of An Anti-Bullying Culture
Over the past few years, the problematic aspects of bullying have received national coverage. However, bullying continues to be an ongoing issue. Countless people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds experience the impacts and aftereffects of bullying. In some of the worst-case scenarios, people have taken their own lives, viewing this final act as the only way to escape their bullies. For these reasons and many others, an anti-bullying culture can be imperative to creating change and keeping more people safe.
An Overview Of The Culture Of Bullying
In essence, a culture of bullying is the acceptance, enabling, or ongoing occurrence of the toxic practice of picking on others. A bullying culture can be furthermore fueled by the overall perception of bullying and various interactions. For instance, some people still believe that bullying is not a big deal, that kids will grow out of it, or that it "just happens." Other individuals either perpetrate bullying or witness it yet abstain from speaking out due to fear or other reasons. Each of the preceding perceptions can contribute to the culture of bullying, and indifference can be one of the greatest enablers of all— and even carry legal consequences.
Bullying is not always readily apparent, especially in social situations. While name-calling, hitting, pushing, and kicking are obvious forms of bullying, the malpractice can also occur in less apparent, yet equally as insidious, manners such as social ostracization. In this situation, bullies may encourage those around them to avoid someone or ignore them. Of course, this type of bullying involves the participation of other individuals for the intended effect to occur. Many people knowingly or inadvertently enable the culture of bullying by failing to stand up to the perpetrator.
The Merits Of An Anti-Bullying Culture
Knowing how to stop bullying can be challenging but attainable. In the case of bullying, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. More and more people are standing up, speaking out against bullying, and encouraging other people to do the same. It can be important to understand that silence, inaction, and indifference can be some of the greatest enablers of bullying. Each time people stand up and denounce bullying, they can view it as taking one more step toward ending bullying altogether.
An Anti-Bullying Culture Can Save Lives
The rise of an anti-bullying culture matters for a plethora of reasons. First and foremost, it can save lives. Studies have evidenced that many people who are routinely or habitually bullied may respond by bullying other people themselves, even using more extreme measures, such as violence toward others. While there are many factors that can contribute to someone becoming a school shooter and the image of the ostracized, bullied teen can oversimplify the issue, most school shooters do have a history of being bullied or harassed while they were at school.
An Anti-Bullying Culture Promotes Education
Bullying can have a plethora of negative impacts on a survivor’s life and educational pursuits. Approximately 20% of students report being bullied at some point and over 160,000 students decline to attend school out of fear of subjection to bullying. The enforcement of an anti-bullying culture can shine awareness on bullying while also letting perpetrators know that targeting other people will not be allowed or tolerated under any circumstances. No student should be afraid to attend school.
An Anti-Bullying Culture Tackles Workplace Harassment
Bullying can be just as problematic in the workforce as it is in school. Children in elementary, middle, and high school are not the only ones who experience bullying. Workplace bullying can come from both colleagues and professional superiors, although depending on the dynamics, the forms of bullying can vary.
A manager, boss, or another professional higher-up may bully an employee by issuing threats, treating them differently from other employees, isolating them from important job-related meetings, sabotaging their work, micro-managing, sexually harassing them, or worse.
An anti-bullying culture can combat workplace harassment by letting everyone in the workforce know that intimidation and other bullying tactics being used will not be tolerated in any capacity whatsoever. Many businesses and companies already have various policies and rules in place which are designed to stop bullying; however, there is still much work to be done. Individuals at all levels and in all positions may benefit from the existence and enforcement of an anti-bullying culture.
National Enforcement Of The Anti-Bullying Culture
Many American states are taking steps to combat bullying. Although there are no federal laws prohibiting bullying in its many different forms, many states have enacted a series of laws that forbid bullying. According to FindLaw, most of these laws center around bullying in the forms of theft, threats, stalking, public humiliation, harassment, and violence.
Cyberbullying is a somewhat new, prevalent, and monumental aspect of the current bullying culture. While traditional bullying occurs during face-to-face interactions, cyberbullying happens online. Many bullies have employed social media and the internet as various tools to target others.
Many individuals note the existence of block and mute features on virtually every social media platform as a means to avoid online bullying. However, cyberbullies who are truly dedicated to harassing people online often create accounts, even in advance, as a means of circumventing features such as blocking and muting hateful or malicious accounts.
Similar to traditional bullying, many people have ended their lives after embarrassing photos or videos were posted online for the world to see.
Cyberbullying can be just as serious as bullying that occurs in a school or in the workforce; in many cases, it can be even worse. While survivors often get a reprieve from face-to-face bullying when they go home from work or school, cyberbullying can be relentless and never-ending. Going online and seeing a slew of nasty comments or personal photos, videos, or information posted for the world to see can be difficult to handle.
Online Therapy With BetterHelp
If you or a loved one is experiencing bullying, you’re not alone. Any type of bullying, whether physical, emotional, or mental, can be difficult to cope with and move past. This can be true whether the mistreatment is occurring online or in person. In some cases, professional intervention is necessary to reduce the harmful effects that often come from being bullied. BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that can pair you with a therapist who can teach you coping skills, how to stick up for yourself, and how to ask for help from others.
Those exposed to bullying may experience mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Many online interventions can successfully treat these conditions. One study found that an internet-based treatment for PTSD successfully reduced participants’ distress and showed sustained treatment effects.
Here are recent reviews by BetterHelp users who are dealing with similar issues of their counselors:
"Sharon Valentino has helped me through so much! Since we started working together, just a few months ago, I already feel like I have more power and control over my life. I have let go of some very painful things, I have moved away from abusive relationships and really gaining skills and tools I need to keep myself safe and happy. She has taught me that I have the power to control my thoughts, my anxiety, and most of all my company. I really like how direct she is, it helps me get grounded and connect to myself. I can't wait to see where I am after working with her a year!!!"
“Mary is AMAZING! She helped me through so much trauma from toxic relationships and helped me to realize my sense of self-worth and build confidence. I could not recommend her more! Mary listens so well and truly cares about her clients. She has done a great job of helping me through situations and feelings in my life that I didn't consciously realize were affecting me. Mary is very non-judgemental and professional and is SO easy to speak to. I was apprehensive initially about getting counseling and I am so glad that I did and that I found Mary. She has given me tools that I use daily that guide me through every up and down and has really helped me to manage my stress and find balance in my life. I have found so much happiness, strength, and confidence through working with her. Mary is wonderful, I highly recommend her!” Read more about Mary Slaton.
Bullying can have many negative physical and mental health effects on those who are exposed to it. In many cases, survivors can develop mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD and experience physical symptoms like stomach aches, bedwetting, and chronic pain. Even those who witness bullying can be impacted, which is why establishing a culture that is against bullying can be so important. Those who have been affected by bullying in any form may benefit from professional intervention, such as speaking to a licensed online counselor.
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