In response to “That was just the way it was” column by Sports Writer Ted Anderson published Wednesday, Oct. 25.
As a clinical psychologist, I was intrigued and also alarmed by the article on Mr. Anderson’s own personal experiences on bullying.
I appreciated his honesty about his own dealings with bullying behavior being perpetrated upon him by older children in his neighborhood, and in the school environment as a child and teenager. I also valued his own admission of being a perpetrator of bullying, and how he described what he calls his “antics” in high school.
However, the word “antics” implies amusing, silly behavior, what I believe the definition of “bullying” is not. It may have been amusing to the perpetrators of the bullying, but it likely was not amusing to the victims. And to say that bullying “was just the way it was,” I believe is an attempt to justify the behavior.
Unfortunately, this is what I see all too often with my child and teenage clients whom I work with who have experienced bullying. Phrases such as, “It’s just the way it was,” “Kids will be kids,” and “No one was hurt,” only provides an excuse, and can even promote the behavior. And to say that “No one gets hurt,” is an untrue statement.
Bullying, no matter how it is perpetrated, leaves emotional (and also physical) scars on people which never truly disappear. And I do not believe that bullying incidents are “mostly gone.”
Yes, there are bullying awareness programs as well as anti-bullying organizations; however, bullying is still as prominent as ever.
I believe that due to social media sites, bullying is much easier perpetrated as people are able to be behind their phone or computer when they are calling someone a mean name, posting a cruel photo or making fun of an individual.
No, I do not believe that times have changed since Mr. Anderson’s childhood and teenage years. Although the neighborhood he and I grew up in may look different now as compared to in our childhood, the message surrounding bullying should be the same: it is never ok.
People do get hurt. And to not take a stand against acts of bullying, or to say that “it’s just the way it was,” only condones it.