Ask Reading Kingdom: What are some of the ways to stop bullying in schools?

download (1)

Bullying is rightly receiving increasing attention from educators, parents and other concerned citizens. Fortunately, there are more and more sources available to guide us as to what might be done to lessen the behavior. The powerful entertainment industry has added its voice to the issue via the Bully movie which has been viewed by over a million kids, teachers, parents, and advocates (www.thebullyproject). The goal is to build a national movement that will end bullying.

Given the widespread attention to this issue, rather than repeat ideas that are readily available, I would like to comment on a somewhat different aspect of the problem. It stems from an experience I had some years ago with a 10 year old boy who had an interesting homework assignment. He was asked to review highly popular cartoons aimed at young children and note the presence and treatment of aggressive acts. As we viewed the material, we were both amazed at the ubiquitous presence of violence. Whenever two or more characters were present, their exchange was marked by hitting, shoving, screaming and every form of abuse one might imagine. That pattern has only intensified in the current world of virtual reality where levels of extreme violence are ever-present. Via video games, children regularly see the killing of people and animals, the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, criminal behavior including disrespect for authority and the law, sexual exploitation and violence toward women, foul language and obscene gestures and on and on.

Not unexpectedly, students increasingly display their violent fantasies publicly via digital devices. Research shows that hours of exposure to violent media make kids react in more hostile ways compared to ones who do not spend lots of time on those games.

Aggression is part of life and it will not serve us well to have the politically correct movement extend its reach and try to control this area with self-defeating attempts at censorship. At the same time, the problems are extremely serious and it seems essential that we have a national discussion on what can be done in this area. The health of our children is at stake.

Your child will gain self confidence with Reading Kingdom.  Sign up today for a free 30 day trial.