I was at the gym this morning and the news was on. Almost every station had Keaton Jone’s video on, who is the young child that spoke out about the bullying he endured in his school. I’ve been speaking to parents and kids over the past 24 hours to get their opinion on why this particular video went viral, which is why I wanted to write a post on it.
Bullying has existed, and will exist, prior to and past my time. The more I dive into the world of social media, and being in the public eye, I see how often bullying happens. In my opinion, the video of Keaton showcases a classic example of what people think bullying is. A child who doesn’t “fit in” with the popular kids is put down, and badgered, and therefore usually turns to self-harm or depression as a way to avoid speaking about the unfortunate event that occurs. When bullying does occur, it’s rare that schools have assemblies or interventions to stop the bullying from continuing. But when a video like this does come out, schools and media get involved to try and make up for the lack of attention our society has given to bullying. When I was the spokesperson for Bridg-it, an anti-bullying platform, I found myself questioning schools about why they don’t all install Bridg-it in their school systems. The most common response I got was that public schools don’t have funding for a platform like Bridg-it, and therefore don’t want to take the time to research a platform that they know they don’t have budget for. If you’re not familiar with the Bridg-it platform, it’s an anonymous website on all school computers where you can instantly report any bullying or abuse in schools and the faculty is immediately alerted.
What we need is more open discussions in schools with both adults & students to get the results we want: less bullying, and more conversations surrounding mental health and confidence. No one can eradicate bullying in 2017, or 2018, but we can start the conversation and research behind why kids bully and put down other kids, and what the kids who get bullied and bully can do when the urge to put someone else down comes on.
I have no doubt that Keaton was bullied. I don’t believe I would’ve taken a video of my child crying and posted on the Internet: I would’ve brought him into school and demanded a meeting with the head of the school. If that didn’t solve anything, I would’ve gone above the head. I would love to hear your thoughts below on how you handle your child getting bullied, and how you would react in this type of situation.