I went to a media roundtable discussion yesterday regarding cyber bullying among kids.
The discussion kicked off with the moderator showing a few videos on bullying by school girls. I was horrified beyond belief.
The first case study was about this girl named Sydney Dalton. She posted a video of herself ripping Justin Bieber's posters - apparently Beliebers weren't happy and began bashing her on the internet. They made hate videos, wrote hate Tweets and other horrible stuffs. Imagine poor Sydney had to wake up everyday to that.
Another two videos were closer to home. The first one was a video showing a group of sekolah menengah (high school) girls screaming and shouting at this girl, in her classroom. The bullied girl cried and cried but nope, the bullies did not stop. They even resorted to cutting the poor girl's hair. Yes, cutting! The sickest part of it was, as they cut her hair, other girls cheered and laughed, like it was free entertainment.
The last video showed a girl screaming and slapping another girl. I don't know what she was screaming about though but it was horrible.
I sat there, horrified. I gasp and my face was in total shock - I think I gaped for a while. And I looked around and others were horrified as well. Some couldn't even bring to watch the videos.
It had never occurred to me that bullying was THAT bad here. During my school years, sure, there were some occasional bullying but I don't remember it being so severe. In fact, when I was in primary school, kids made fun of my name Aleza (they called me Ali Baba). I, of course went home and told my mother about this. Mom told me to stand up for myself and taught me to answer them back with, "At least Ali Baba was rich!" So I did and the they stopped with the name calling. Ha ha.
As I watched the videos, my mind wondered, "How can these bullied girls let themselves be bullied and degraded to that extent?" I don't think bullying can be stopped 100% - there will always be naughty and disturbed kids. I guess the most important thing is to equip your children with some kind of defense mechanism. You don't have to teach your kids to retaliate in a violent way (because violence should never be accepted) but it is important to teach kids to stand up for themselves.
I know I am not the best person to advise parents on how to teach their kids (seeing I am unmarried and have zero children), but I personally believe that to combat bullying, one must learn how to stand up for themselves. Sometimes keeping quiet isn't enough.
Be strong, love yourself and never let anybody degrade or bully you. Ever.