Peers: just as impactful as celebrities in the fight against bullying

Did you see the video of Keaton Jones crying over his struggle with bullying at school? It was moving and heartbreaking.

The video, posted on facebook by his mother at Keaton’s request, went viral and prompted a wave of support on social media from the public and from celebrities. Actors, singers, athletes and even POTUS sent messages of support to Keaton. They expressed their sincere regret for the bullying he has had to endure, and they encouraged him to keep his chin up. Some even invited him to concerts and football games.

It’s an inspiring story and one that has increased awareness about the impact of bullying.

While it’s pretty cool to receive shout outs from celebrities, public support is not a reality for most victims of bullying. The good news is that words of sympathy and encouragement from peers can make just as much of a difference.

On-the-spot intervention by peers is the most effective way to stop the bullying from taking place and to prevent it from happening again. However, if that opportunity is missed or if the courage can’t be mustered to stand up to the bully, then reaching out to the victim after the fact, expressing sympathy, and offering encouragement will do wonders. Approaching the victim in friendship and solidarity will not only provide a boost of self-esteem, it will allow them to gain a broader perspective on the situation, recognizing that they aren’t worthless, that they deserve better, and that the bully is the odd one out.

Helping the kid feel less isolated is the best thing a peer can do.

So, if you find yourself in a position to approach a peer who is being bullied, tell them that what is happening to them really sucks. Tell them that you’re sorry it’s happening. Tell them that they don’t deserve it, and that they’re awesome.

Speak Your Mind