First of all, my condolences to go out to the family of Amanda Todd, I find it so sad that she had to commit suicide to get some serious attention given to her problems with bullies.
I have had many conversations about Bullies in the past week, as I am sure you have, it is the top story on every news show and newspaper around here, hard not to have an opinion. But I admit I have trouble writing about it because there is just no clear solution to this problem!
My Dad talks about bullies from when he was kid, my spouse talks about halling off and punching anyone who tried to pick on him, (both he and my dad agreed that always worked). I remember a movie I watched recently where a girl vomited on a bully's shoes, that worked too!
I know as a parent I did my best to teach my kids to stand up for themselves, but I have always been against hitting or violence of any kind. Schools taught us to communicate with our kids, make sure they know to tell an adult that they trust about bullies or anyone or thing that makes them uncomfortable etc, etc.
My problem was, what do I do when they tell me someone is bullying them, (I am not going to hall off and hit someone) there was no manual for me as a parent to follow. I tried the approach of talking to the other parent, who of course denied that little Johnny would ever do such a thing, so then there is a talk with a Teacher and the Principle, but the are also limited in what they can do. Luckily for my kids bullying was never a serious problem, but they did have a really large Dad so if it ever came to be a problem, my best recourse would be to defer to him. (maybe that is what they meant when they said tell an adult you trust...pick a really big one?)
Now my kids did grow up with internet, and cell phones, but Facebook didn't hit until they were in their teens, I am sure a lot of stupid stuff was emailed around but cyber bullying has gotten a lot more common place in the last 5 years. I know for a fact that grade 8 girls are the worst bullies that one can ever meet, they work in packs, picking on the girl who just does not meet their standards for whatever reason. In person this can be awful, online where you do not have to be face to face, it gets so much worse. Personally I think all grade 8 girls should be banned from social media until they mature a bit more. (of course just one opinion) We all know that banning your kids from using something only makes them use it more behind your back, so never mind that suggestion.
I love Shelley Fralic's column on this topic, it is time to out the bullies, post their photos online like the stanley cup rioters, shame them publicly.
I think it would be great if Newspapers published more stories about people who were/are bullies, with full apologies to their victims, like this one: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Former+bully+speaks+about+guilt+forgiveness+life+after+high+school/7387246/story.html
I see no need to wait for the government to do something, although there does need to be some new laws dealing with cyber crimes, Kids and parents know who the bullies are, we need to step in and help any kid who is being bullied. I am not saying you need to be cruel, violent or even mean to a bully, just tell them to stop, and if they don't there will be a consequence. (this is the part we are missing now "the consequence") I agree with Shelley Fralic, the consequence needs to be a public one, photo posted online, or on TV, and make them change schools if needed, not the victim!
Just my 2cents!