Why You Should Watch This:

Teen suicide in the United States has been on the rise. One cause is that teenagers have been increasingly bullied in school and through the use of social media. There are so many ways kids can post what is going in in their lives, whether it is via Twitter, Facebook, Google +, or a YouTube video.  This is also an opportunity for bullies to rear their head, be it an anonymous response on YouTube or via Facebook.  It does not end there as these comments follow the children into school the next day.  If one fears getting in trouble for bullying in person they can now do it online or both. The instances of teen and tween suicide is on the rise because of this increased opportunity for bullying and it needs to be addressed!

Video Facts:

Title of Video: Bullying: Words Can Kill – 48 Hours Special Addresses School Bullying
Date Created/Posted:
September 18, 2011
Who made it: CBS News, By correspondent Tracy Smith
Length
: 48 minutes
Location: 
USA
Human Rights Issue(s): Right to education and socialization in schools without harassment and bullying.

Goal:

The documentary shows us that even watching an event that can be construed as bullying is not acceptable and encourages all bystanders to say something, come forward and become part of the solution. I think it’s purpose is to encourage children, parents and educators to start a dialog about bullying and to prevent it. Seeing these brave children come forth and tell their story shows that more has to be done to protect our children in our educational system. As a result of inaction by schools in our country and increased cyber-bullying, suicide has been on the rise for a much younger age bracket than ever before.

The question we have to ask ourselves is whose job is it to address the issue?  Only the parents of this child that is being bullied?  The school that it continues at?  The parents of the bully?  Or all three?  What role should educators and school administration take if this is happening on home computers and outside of school guidelines, if any are even in place?

Primary Audience:

Children being bullied, school administration and child bullies.

Message:

This video seeks to empathize with children being bullied and let them know they do not have to end their life to end the bullying. It also shows school officials what can happen if anti-bullying policies are not in place. It suggests that school administrators should have a zero tolerance policy for bullying.

Content/Style/Voices:

The story is told by those children that have been bullied and have contemplated suicide as well as the parents who have lost their children to suicide as a result of bullying.

Did you know?:

A reported 150 children have committed suicide as a direct result of bullying since the mid-1980’s and an estimated 160,000 kids miss school because of bullying.

Suggested Resources:

  • The U.S. Government has a website of resources to for kids, teens, adults, parents and educators.
  • Mr. Mike, a former clown for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has created a show geared toward early prevention of bullying on his website and his Anti-Bullying Show on YouTube.
  • Here are some things parents can do to identify and stop bullying.
  • Young People Jaded by Slurs – Article.
  • 14-Year-Old Boy, Commits Suicide After Gay Bullying, Parents Carry On Message (VIDEO)

Join the Conversation:

What could you do and/or what is being done in your school district to address the issue of school bullying in your area?

Do you have an example of video advocacy (good or bad) you’d like to share with us? Please use the hashtag #video4change on Twitter or post a note for us with a link on our Facebook page.

3 thoughts on “Video Advocacy Example: Bullying, Social Media & Suicide

  1. One of the main problem with bullying is children are punished for their response to bullying rather than for bullying. The emotional abuse is delivered through negative comments that only the student and a few students around them hear or it is transmitted electronically. In other words, the bully speaks their verbal abusive statements in a low voice so that teachers do not witness the behavior. The bully denies any negative comments, so there is no proof. However, the proof is there. A student with a healthy overall positive attitude is suddenly driven to outbursts,pushes a student back or becomes withdrawn and depressed. An interaction is witnessed where the victim responds loudly or angrily, which is out of character for this student, toward the problem student or bully. The teachers know this is not typical behavior for the student. They know the student being accused is usually a problem, yet there is no proof. I think part of the answer lies in giving the bully punishment. We have to at some point say teachers know their students and know the verbally abusive students. We have to admit teachers observe students and have knowledge of this student’s typical behavior. Then schedule bullies and bullied students to talk with counselors separately. Bullies should have to continue to see counselors until that actually discuss the event or an actual attitude change is seen. The bullies need punishment. They should know that if they admit and discuss their verbal abuse, they can move out of ISS (in school suspension), OSS or stop seeing the school counselors sooner. Bully’s need to understand what would have been a better choice and what would that outcome have produced. When we admit and discuss behavior, is when change can occur for the better. Often, the victims goes to ISS for their reactions to the bully. The bully avoids any punishment due to lack of witnesses and their lies. The bottom line is both students need to see counselors and need to receive consequences for their behavior. One child understanding the importance of mediating their response or behavior and the importance of discussing hurtful comments or situations with others for their healing and insight. We want the victim to return to being positive, happy and not let abusive others change them. The other student needs to understand bullying is wrong, socially unacceptable, it is more evident then they think. Furthermore, bullies need to understand what is causing them to want to hurt others. They need to realize to be truly happy they have to change. We need to get to the roots of the problem, to heal and eliminate the problem. And this will always be a difficult situation that needs continual monitoring. Middle School students are in a difficult situation. Most are sleep deprived from an early schedule, hormones are burgeoning (increasing the need for sleep and increasing the probability of moodiness) and are emotionally immature. Teachers, parents and administrators will always have to work diligently to protect the mental health of our teens.

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