By Waverly W.
8 years old
Manhattan

unnamed-2For October, National Bullying Prevention Month, we here at Kids’ News NYC wanted to help spread the message of being kind to ourselves and others so we set up a Skype Interview with Mike Dreiblatt, President of Standuptobullying.net and author of numerous magazine articles, co-author of the books The Wallop Story: How I Learned to Stop the Bullying and How to Stop Bullying and Social Aggression – Activities and Lessons to Teach Empathy, Friendship, and Respect.  Some of the questions below were submitted by readers like YOU, and we appreciate it!  Here’s what he had to say….

KN:  What is bullying?

MD:   That’s an interesting question…different states define bullying differently.  (The Mom here…really?? That surprised me!) New York, Florida, Texas and California all have different definitions, for example.  When you think about bullying, it is usually thought of as the abuse of the difference in power.  Somebody has more power, somebody has less.  Those with more power are abusing those who have less power.  It also can be thought of as being mean or leaving people out on purpose.

What is the difference between bullying and just being mean?

Bullying is usually repeated over time, more than one time, and it’s that abuse of the difference in power.  If I’m being mean to you and we have about the same power, that’s not bullying.  If I’m with five friends, and we’re all being mean to you at the same time, that’s an example of the abuse of the difference in power, and that’s bullying.

Why do people bully other people?

Different people bully for different reasons.  Some people bully because they were bullied.  Some people bully because they want to become popular, and they think this will get them friends.  Sometimes verbal bullies, people who use words to bully, sometimes the crowd starts laughing , and they enjoy that and so they’ll keep on bullying because they like how people are responding.

Can you give us any suggestions for what to do if you’re being bullied at school?

If you’re the person being bullied, some parents will suggest kids ignore it or walk away.  That’s not bad advice but not the best advice either.  Another thing you can try, in my opinion, might be to strongly tell the bully to stop.  Use your words, tell the bully to “Knock it off!” and then walk to where there are adults.  Always go back to where there are people if you can 

How can I help someone who is being bullied? Should I just stay out of it?

Good question! If you feel safe, or you’re with friends, or maybe you are actually friends with the bullies, you can stop them, you can go over and tell them to stop.  Or you can get the kid who is being bullied to come sit at your table or come join your group of friends.  You can also report it to a trusted adult.

Do you think the bullying problem is getting worse or better? Why?

It’s staying the same! For thirty years they have been measuring it, and for thirty years it’s basically stayed about the same.  It hasn’t gotten worse, and hasn’t gotten much better either. About the same amount of kids claim they are being bullied every year.

What can a parent do to help end bullying?

As a parent, if your kid comes to you with a problem about bullying, I tell the parent to just listen.  Don’t try to fix it.  Don’t go to the Principal or call the other parent.  First, just listen.  You can ask how you can help, but don’t take the power away from the child.  Let them lead the conversation.

This is just a little information about bullying…If you would like to learn more, make sure you check out standuptobullying.net.  There you will find so many helpful articles, videos, resources, etc.  We hope that this has helped you understand bullying and what you can do  not only in October but throughout the year and that you will stand up to bullying with us here at Kids’ News NYC!  unnamed