I hate anti-bullying PSA’s. I really do. Ones like this one, send EXACTLY the wrong message.
What’s the message? You’re being bullied, so wait for someone to step in and save you.
Except, 999 times out of 1000 in high school and in life, no one is going to save you except for you.
Your teacher isn’t going to be there to save you because if he were nearby to begin with, the bullies wouldn’t be starting trouble. If the teacher shows up afterwards, he’s going to blame BOTH OF YOU, which is perfectly ridiculous, but that’s how our public schools operate.
As to the other kids, they’re probably not going to say anything for three obvious reasons.
- If there are 10 people watching, they’re going to tend to wait for someone else to act instead of doing it themselves. This is called the bystander effect.
- If they challenge the bully, they’re afraid they’ll end up being targeted themselves
- If you won’t even fight for yourself, why should they risk getting into a fight on your behalf?
As to the bullies, it’s a waste to time to try to convince them that what they’re doing is wrong because they already know. They either just have screwed-up home lives, they’re sociopaths who enjoy tormenting people — or some combination of the two.
So, all these “bully free zone,” “tell your teacher,” “intervene and help the kid who is being bullied” videos are all horsecrap that avoid giving kids the only piece of advice that actually helps stop bullying.
It’s very simple advice: fight back. Hit them, preferably by surprise, as hard as you can and keep following up for as long as you can.
Will it be scary? Yes. Will you win every time? Nope, because bullies are usually bigger and more aggressive than you. But, even if you lose, you will at least have your self-respect and at the end of the day, the only thing that makes bullies back off is the possibility that they’ll pay a price for targeting their victim. If they know messing with you means that even if they win, they’ll get a punch in the mouth, they’ll generally look for an easier victim.
People come up with every excuse in the book to avoid doing this, which is understandable for scared kids, but not so much for the adults that are involved who should know better. If you think the bully who’s involved is so dangerous that fighting back might mean your kid’s life is in danger, then you probably need to be talking to the police. If not, then you should be telling your kid to fight. Life is full of bullies and if you don’t teach your kids to fight when they’re young, they probably won’t have the guts to stand up for themselves when they get older either.
Whether you’re 8, 18, 38 or 88, you better learn to take care of yourself, because chances are, no one else is going to do it for you. The earlier people learn that lesson, the better.