Welcome to the Advocate’s Corner! This is that little space in which I get to communicate directly with you and to share my thoughts about topical issues impacting children in Jamaica. You can expect periodic updates on this page that promise to be insightful, relevant and down to earth sprinkled with tit-bits of advice, words of encouragement and guidance. Feel free to suggest topics that you would like me to address in this Corner so that over time this space will become one in which we can spend some quality time with each other and talk about a wide range of relevant issues. Happy reading. . .
During our little chat in this edition of the Advocate’s Corner, I feel compelled to focus on the issue of Bullying which continues to be a problem for children, especially as they seem to hit those pre-puberty years and on into adolescence. While Bullying has always been around, the problem seems to have mushroomed as in addition to the traditional forms of Bullying, there are now electronic means through which bullies can reach their targets. Cyber Bullying is really Bullying that is done through technology and it has added a whole new dimension to an age old problem as it allows the would-be bully to be able to access a much wider audience, a reality which no doubt has the risk of increasing the trauma and the anxiety that a victim of Bullying may experience.
But what exactly is Bullying? In simple terms, Bullying occurs when one person intentionally uses aggressive or unfriendly methods to cause another person discomfort and/or injury. This injury can be physical injury such as an injury caused when a bully pushes the target of his abuses down on the playground or emotional and psychological injury, which can occur because of extensive teasing and saying unkind words which are aimed at destroying the person’s self-image. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, the use of words or can occur in other subtle (less obvious) ways; it usually is a persistent and deliberate form of behaviour which is intended to cause the target to feel uncomfortable, intimidated and/or afraid. The typical bully usually feels that by putting the other person down, he will experience a sense of power and some degree of control over that individual. This is also true in the case of Cyber Bullying. Popular ways in which cyber bullies taunt their targets, include the posting of compromising pictures of them on the internet on social media websites, gossiping on social media about the individual or saying embarrassing things about the individual which aim to create a negative public image about the target of the Bullying.
Here are a few tips that should help if you are confronted with Bullying:-
- Bullies are typically people who are insecure within themselves and uncomfortable in their own skin. Many times they feel that in order for them to be important, they have to put others down.
- Never let anyone else’s opinion define who you are or how you should feel about yourself. Your value as a person and your self-worth cannot be diminished because of the unkind actions/words of another person. You are special and it is they who have a problem.
- Be careful what you post on-line and don’t be fooled by that “Delete” button on your computer!Once it’s out there in cyber-space, anyone with access to the internet can do pretty much anything with the pictures and other material that you may post from time to time. You don’t want personal and private details of your life getting into the hands of a bully or any random person!
- Your silence is the bully’s most powerful weapon. Don’t be afraid to speak up and let a trusted friend (and an adult) know what is happening so that you can get help to work the problem out.