The Failure of Anti-Bullying Campaigns

October 20, 2017

Bullying is something that everyone has dealt with, whether you’ve been bullied, been the bully, or have just witnessed bullying. With technology, there are even more opportunities to bully and be bullied.. Bullying is serious and can lead to bigger problems. We’ve dealt with it for years, but just now have started to do something about it. With the implementation of anti-bullying campaigns at school and on TV, it’s hard to ignore. But has anything truly changed? People from all around the world have stories about being bullied or being a bully. The numbers are growing. We need to change this common occurrence.

The problem with anti-bullying campaigns is that they’re so cliche to the point where they aren’t taken seriously. It doesn’t personify the horrible consequences of being bullied. I think if campaigns took a more realistic approach to showing that then they’d be taken more seriously and things would start to change. Bullying often times leads to depression and anxiety, following people years after they’ve been a victim of bullying. Studies show that people are more likely to have mental health problems if they have been bullied. I think that needs to show up more in campaigns. Focus on the negativities that bullying can cause. Do campaigns that are darker. A good example of this is Mark Gorham’s short film titled “Eli.” It can be found here, It has a dark tone, presented in black and white, that really fills viewers with the sense of sadness for what’s to come. It shows aspects of what bullying can truly do to a person.

I think another problem with anti-bullying campaigns is how they portray onlookers. Yes, there are onlookers when bullying happens, but I think they have the reasons all wrong. Most campaigns seem to think that onlookers are afraid to confront the bully, and that’s somewhat true. But I think the bigger reason that people don’t step in is the people they have to tell. Most schools, while they say they’re there to help stop bullying, don’t have a capable faculty to handle situations like that. And I don’t think that’s their fault. There is no training for how to handle those situations. And teachers are very limited to what they can do. Giving kids referrals isn’t going to stop them from bullying more people. I think they need a dose of reality. They need to know the impact of how they can affect a person. I don’t think bullies realize how much their words mean to their victims. Sometimes they take those words to heart, leading to self-doubt, depression, and anxiety. Obviously, there are kids who don’t care about that stuff. You can’t make them care about it. But to the ones who do, they can be stopped.

Overall, I think that’s where creative people need to come in. Let creative people make campaigns. It’ll affect kids more than the ones on TV. Most creative people have had those types of experiences, so they can bring a whole new perspective on the situation. Also, bring facts into the campaigns. Not little studies about how many people are bullied or anything like that. Bring in statistics about how it can affect people, even after they’re out of that environment. Don’t be afraid to show the horrible truth. Kids are more mature than most adults give them credit for. They can handle reality which can impact them in a helpful way. At least it’s something different than what they’re doing now. Nothing has really changed on either side, resulting in nothing getting done about the issue.

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