Bullying isn’t what it used to be

Published 12:11 am Sunday, April 18, 2010

If you think school hasn’t changed over the years, you’re viewing only the bricks and mortar of the matter.

The issues of school, namely the children within the walls, have intensified, making the emotions and the dangers greater than when our grandparents went to school.

Generations ago, an afterschool fight may have left someone with a few bruises and maybe a bloody nose. Today, lives may be taken in such disputes.

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And years ago, some adults would have simply laughed at the schoolyard bully.

But today, fortunately, school counselors, teachers and administrators understand how serious bullying can be.

Catching a bully has always been difficult. Usually the person being bullied is embarrassed to step forward and report the misbehavior for fear the mistreatment might get worse.

Technology, especially text messages and social networking tools, can allow bullying to be even more difficult to spot.

Parents can help in spotting the problems — from both the bully end and the victim’s perspective.

Interactions between children — even teens — through text messaging and social networking sites need to be monitored by parents. The notion that children “need their privacy” is one that often gets in the way of parents being parents.

Beyond that communication — at all levels — is vital to avoid having an act of bullying turn into a tragedy in our community.