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Fair Fight: Prevention, Awareness Put Bullying In Its Place

A message to bullies or bullying in general, from moms, dads, teachers or principals as it relates to kids: pick on someone your own size.
That task is slowly becoming nearly impossible.
That's because the awareness and information in recent years as it relates to bullying in general, in addition to how to spot if your child is a bully or is being bullied, has grown exponentially. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, which only furthers the effort from all of the aforementioned parties involved to finally put this dilemma in its place.
Bullying or the act of being bullied isn't anything new to kids. Pushing, shoving, verbal threats, punching and kicking all qualify as bullying. You probably can remember stories from your parents or grandparents regarding kids getting stuffed into lockers, having their lunch money taken from them or being antagonized by older kids in school.
Years ago, that often was looked at as "growing pains" of sort, the kind of action that kids just had to put up with and eventually "toughen up." Only within the last decade and especially in recent years, and with more serious cases being reported, bullying has become a forefront topic with a cultural tour de force against it.

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Technology has both hurt and helped the bullying effort; "cyber" bullying allows those who pick on others to do it through devices such as cell phones or social networking and limits the parents or teachers being able to monitor it. This form of bullying is more rampant, although the more direct, physical examples certainly still exist.
What is slowly putting bullying in its place is the abundance of awareness campaigns, research and web sites dedicated to informing not only parents but kids as well to the dangers and drawbacks of bullying or seeing someone being bullied and not reporting it.
A few organizations use their star power and indirect relationship with kids as a means to encourage behavior that goes against bullying. For example, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is wildly popular with teenagers and young adults, given their revenue stream and ratings for their television shows. They've taken that notoriety and created the "Be A Star" campaign, which shuffled their WWE Superstars to and from schools to cultivate and create a message and movement to the kids they're speaking to that is quite simple: bullying is unacceptable.
Brooks Gibbs is an expert in bullying and leads the charge nationally for the Office Depot Foundation and its "Be The Difference. Speak Up Against Bullying." Gibbs and the program have some help, too. Much like how the WWE and its wrestlers use their fame to attract the right kind of attention for bullying prevention, One Direction, the mega pop band, sponsors this foundation.
During his speaking engagements, Gibbs gives his thoughts on bullying but also his side of the story as someone who struggled with being bullied himself.
But even the most adept and astute bullying efforts could fall short simply because it isn't being monitored by the two sources that matter most: parents and teachers. Warning signs and nuances of those bullying or being bullied slowly creep into a daily routine and must be addressed without hesitancy. The other important aspect: educating kids about bullying before any escalation or interaction in the bullying arena begins.
For the latter, kids need to know what bullying is before it starts and how to handle it correctly, like if it happens in school. Kids need informed on who to talk to, what to say and, in some cases, how to just walk away from the situation and not let the one doing the bullying see you get upset.
Teachers play an enormous role in this as well. Often, they're the first to see direct and indirect warning signs within the confines of a classroom or hallway at school. The goal is to pursue the issue and work hand in hand with the parents to resolve the root of the problem.
The parents must keep their eyes wide open with signs, such as their kids not wanting to go to school, coming home with cuts or bruises or if they're normally straight "A" performance takes a turn for the worse.
Being conscious of bullying, paying close attention to signs and signals that it's happening, truly is the best defense against this offensive behavior. Marquee corporations putting dollars to good use, coupled with parents and teachers cognitively keeping track of anything that comes across their respective noses or desks goes a long way to ensuring the eventual extinction of bullying has more than just a fighting chance.

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