Bullying: A Growing Trend? [The Quad News, by Christine Keener, 30/1/2011].

Photo Courtesy of technorati.com
Photo Courtesy of technorati.com

Bullying seems to be a rite of passage for the youth of this country, but until recently it hasn’t come to the forefront in the media. Why is this?

Has traditional bullying (which does not include cyber bullying) actually increased or does it just seem that way because of how lawmakers and the media are portraying the situation?

Izzy Kalman, a school psychologist, author of “A Psychological Solution to Bullying” and creator of the anti-bullying website Bullies2Buddies, said bullying is a growing problem because of society’s increased desire to target the problem.

“But the harder you try to make the problem disappear, the worse it gets, and the more time and resources you end up spending to fight it,” Kalman said. “It becomes a never-ending problem that spirals out of control.”

Now though, the government has stepped in. Various state legislatures have proposed new laws which require schools to provide anti-bullying programs, as well as policies to address the growing concern for school safety.

Jane Gross, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist in Hamden, Conn., added that bullying has always been evident.

“When you call attention to something, it increases,” Gross said. “The energy of the media is now being pulled in that direction. People are now just really talking about it.”

She also said the media is negatively affecting bullying and only increases public fear on the issue.

According to Kalman, bullying experts, anti-bullying organizations and psychological researchers are collaborating to promote public awareness, adding that a parent’s fear of bullying has surpassed their fear of drugs.

But even with new laws put in place and the media hysteria surrounding bullying, knowing the ways to stop yourself from being a victim are the key to getting out of this vicious cycle.

Gross said students should know it is not their fault if they are being bullied. She advises students to not talk back to the bully, show little emotion, and not add fuel to the fire.

“Students should report the person to whoever is in authority and reach out to friends,” Gross said. “Students should gather forces to stop this serious problem.”

Kalman said one of the best ways to handle bullying is to adopt intervention plans. Schools can teach “assertiveness training and provide good social skills lessons.”

But will the school’s intervention truly help?

“We could only hope these programs are positive,” Gross said.