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Shawn James Jr.

intern, TED

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What do you guys say about bullying?

I just want to know what perspectives people have on the whole thing being as though it’s nothing new to us, but something that has been around for years and was just frowned upon. There is no wrong answer to this question. I just want to hear your input.

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    Jun 14 2011: Good topic,

    It seems bullying has gotten worse in my opinion.

    Kids can no longer go home and take their minds off of bullies because the bullies are in their homes on the internet.

    I'd like to say Kids will be kids, but that seems like a cop out.

    I look forward to reading everyone's response when I get home from soccer tonight.
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      Jun 14 2011: Hi Christopher,
      I agree that it has gotten worse because of the internet. As you say, kids used to have some safe place to get away from it, and now, it is everywhere they go. Used to be, they could find safety at home, or in school, church, or even amoung friends. Now, the whole world can know about the bullying, and some kids can say and do some very cruel things. There is no escaping it any more, and we see the number of teen suicides it has caused. Just imagine, as an insecure teen, which many naturally are, being exposed to nasty, cruel, lies broadcast on the internet. It is very sad.
      • Jun 16 2011: I totally agree with you Colleen, as a thirteen year old i feel like the youth society is just trying to put so much pressure on a person to see if they will crack. They do this to make themselves feel good or just to cover the pain. Their actions foreshadow a life of sadness.I know firsthand how bullying can affect someone. Even if it isn't physical it still hurts. I am very sorry about your son
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          Jun 16 2011: Another great posting Christian! Keep 'em coming!
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          Jun 16 2011: I understand you Christian.Being a teenager myself, I have encountered many bully cases.Some even cause suicides.That's just wrong.Teenagers need to understand what it means to be a human.Never inflict pain to others.
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          Jun 16 2011: Christian,
          You are only thirteen? Very intuitive teenager:>) There IS a lot of pressure on teens, and it is sometimes difficult to ignore the pressure, but when we can understand some of the underlying causes, it sometimes makes it less traumatic to face the challenge. I'm sorry you know firsthand how bullying can affect someone, and I thank you so much for your kind words about my son. He is now a kind, sensitive, loving man who learned how NOT to treat people:>)

          You are right Muhammad, that bullying has caused many suicides, and I admire your understanding of the fact that we all "need to understand what it means to be a human and never inflict pain to others"...well said:>)

          Christian and Muhammad, you are both GREAT role models for others. Thanks for being you and sharing the gift with us:>)
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        Jun 16 2011: Coleen that is the whole point of school sometimes appear "NOT serious" enough to deal with it.
        How can you protect people from bullying ? Or to be precise how LONG ?
        To be honest... bullying not only happens to kids.
        As a matter of fact, if you let it... it will happen for the the ENTIRE life.
        I think the best way to deal with bullying is not to protect the victim. But to teach the victim to protect themselves. And no am not talking about self defense like martial arts or worse weaponary though it IS quite relevant on some extreme cases. But something more lasting like fostering self confidence.. self worthiness.. the skill to work the system... being a strategist... people skill... so on.
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          Jun 16 2011: Hi Judge Pau,
          We can't always protect people from bullying, and you are right...it does not only happen to kids. You're also right that it sometimes happens for the entire life, which is very sad.

          Teachcing the victim to protect his/her self with self confidence, self worthiness and skills are excellent ways to help prevent bullying, and it would be beneficial for ALL children to have these skills BEFORE they are bullies, or the victim of bullying:>)
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          Jun 17 2011: We should also help the person we call the bully.

          Humans try to dominate each other in order to get their way. Depending on how tactfully this is handled, it can work. But people who are dominant can lose sight of just how much pressure they're using on weaker people and why they're doing it in the first place, frustration one way or another can lead to hurt.

          I think people who try to dominate need some careful guidelines or guidance in order for their frustrations not to overload the balance - they could benefit from learning a bit of empathy. I like the idea of using meditation or reflective time as a guidance system, I have a concern that such internalizing of frustration might not address root causes though. Why does someone feel the need to have a negative affect on others? If there is a benefit to humankind for that, how do we govern or harness it so it doesn't have negative repercussions?

          How are 'bullies' dealt with in arbitration processes?
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          Jun 17 2011: Hello J Hoyes,
          I think you touched on one of the underlying causes of bullying..."to get their way". I don't think bullies think/feel beyond that very basic concept when they are bullying. They would like to feel stronger, more intelligent, or superior to the other person in some way. I honestly don't think their intent is to have negative affects on others. Their intent, I believe, is to try to feel in control, and I don't think they are thinking about or feeling the impact they have on others. You're right...they need as much help and guidence as anyone, IF we are going to change the patterns.

          I facilitated cognitive self change sessions with offenders in the correctional facility and also mediated with convicted felons who were having fights among themselves. The bullying is usually a knee jerk reaction to feel in control, it has many different characterizations, and there are many different levels of bullying, as you probably know. I often asked the questions...what were you feeling, or thinking about when you assaulted that person? They usually were not in touch with thinking/feeling because they were simply reacting to the situation and trying to stay in control. It was often a protective mechanism they adopted as children to protect themselves. A few months of cognitive self change sessions is probably not going to change a bullies patterns that have been established since childhood, so we need to keep talking about it...keep addressing the issues...continue to understand and guide the behaviors toward something more productive.

          Your suggestion to participate in meditation or reflective time could be useful, and those who bully need to understand their own insecurity, as much as understanding how their behaviors cause the victim to be insecure. There is a term called "leveling", which means a person will sometimes try to bring another person to their emotional level to try to feel as good, intelligent, strong, etc as someone else. There's so much baggage!
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          Jun 17 2011: Your comment is interesting & useful, Colleen, coming from someone who works at one of the cutting edges of society.

          Usually when I'm asked to think about the subject of bullying I automatically think about how the bullied person feels and I empathize. But I then recall how easy it is to get into a cycle of bullying. So I expect we can all be bullies or at least we can understand what it feels like to try to get our way and be frustrated enough to try harder to get our way beyond the point of a balanced perspective.
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          Jun 17 2011: Yes J Hoyes, I think we all have the potential to be bullies on various levels, at times. Understanding ourselves and others, helps maintain a balanced perspective.

          My father was a violent, abusive bully, and when he was in a rage, I often thought, why doesn't he just talk about his fear? My mother always said..."love the man...hate the behavior...he doesn't know how to love or be loved". As a kid, I totally rejected that theory. As an adult, I wanted and needed to understand, to help facilitate healing in myself. For 2 years, I volunteered at the woman's shelter and family center, where I was interacting with abused women and children. Then I volunteered with the dept. of corrections for 6 years, working mostly with offenders of domestic assault. When one sees the childhood history of some of the offenders, (sexually assaulted by family members starting at age 2 for example) it is no wonder there are so many wounded people in our world. If we are going to change anything as a society, the change needs to come from many different angles.
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      Jun 16 2011: Well I'm always disappointed when people are bullied but the internet trends leave me a little perplexed. On Facebook you don't have to accept every "friend" request and you don't have to know what everyone is thinking
      (Especially other teenagers). I believe bullying stems from insecurity and naivety from both parties. While the advent of internet communication is great we must also retain our sense of community and trust. There will always be people with negative and conflicting intentions. Therefore we must always find the few people we trust to help us keep them in arms length.

      also Christian- Try to remember that everyone is clueless at your age as to who they are and how society is. Try not to compare yourself to others but to compare yourself to who you want to be. I've found the people who can do that are the people who are happiest and stand tallest.
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        Jun 16 2011: Good point Jesse..."bullying stems from insecurity and naivety from both parties". That's why Judge Pau's suggestion to foster self confidence is so important for ALL kids. Good idea to try to "find a few people we trust to help us keep them at arms length". When we foster relationships that are empowering, we help build our own self esteem:>)

        I don't agree that every teen is clueless Jesse. We have a couple right here (Christian and Muhammad) who are VERY insightfull young people:>) You do bring up a good point however, that the teen years are sometimes challenging because there are so many things going on with the teen including peer pressure, hormonal changes, etc. To be able to stand like the mighty oak in the middle of the storm is challenging for some of the seedlings who are vulnerable.

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