So many times, we see stories of bullying on social media and we wonder how we can help. In response, we post or tweet our outrage and join the hashtag movement. But, for most people, that’s where it ends. We feel better for a moment and we feel like we’re helping, then we move on to whatever celebrity news comes up or on to the next “what kind of hamburger are you” quiz that comes across our feed. Social media has turned us into magpies, distracted by the next shiny thing. I’m not saying that’s wrong – heck, I’m guilty of it too- but we have to do better.
Often, there is a link attached to these stories where we can donate money, but do we ever stop and wonder what that monetary donation is doing? Most likely, our desire is a knee- jerk reaction to the injustice we see. We have an overwhelming urge to do something to help. We think “Hey, I sent $20 or $200 or $2000. I’m doing my part.” But the truth of the matter is that thinking money can solve our societal problems of bullying and lack of empathy is flawed logic. I hate to break it to you, but throwing money at one bullied child is not going to end the epidemic that thousands of children face. Sure, the child in question may have a few days of internet fame and get a great trip to Disney World, but after the hoopla dies down, they will still be the same broken child they were before. That is unless they are granted access to services that will teach them how to cope with bullying. The problem will also continue if the bullies aren’t shown the error of their ways and taught a better way to treat people.
We have to stand for something in more ways than just #IStandForSomething. We have to take real action against bullying when and where we see it in our daily lives, and I mean every. single. time. No matter how awkward it may be. That means we have to stand up. We have to use our voices until each individual act of standing up to bullies becomes a combined battle cry. Then, we have to continue that cry until there are no more heart wrenching stories to be told.
As we leave 2017 and head into 2018, please make it your goal to really do something to end the epidemic of bullying in our society. Don’t be content with only posting your support on social media. That makes us feel better, but it doesn’t really invoke change. If you feel the need to make a financial donation, make one to organizations that have educated themselves on bullying and now strive to educate children (and adults).
* I need you to decide right now that you will not stand by and watch bullying behavior.
* I need you to decide right now to decide that you will step in and help when you see a person being bullied.
* I need you to decide right now that you will make your stance against bullying known to your family, your neighbors, your school administrators, your boss, and your elected officials.
You have but one voice. You have the power to make your voice as loud as you want it to be. Use that power for good. Be the voice for the voiceless.