Is Bullying Worse Now than it Was 20 Years Ago?

Bully WorseIn a word: Yes.

Why is it so bad?  Is it just the media bringing up bad stuff all the time?  Well, that certainly adds to it.  Kids absolutely copy-cat what they see.  But there’s a lot more to it than that.

Society is a different animal then when I was a kid.  When I was a kid, you just had to watch out for that one guy, or that one group.  Now, it seems like bullying is coming at our chidren from every angle.

Well, there are a lot of reasons.

  • 20 Years Ago – I had the only divorced parents that I knew of.   I lived with my Dad after I was the age of 12.  I had a role model in my family.  And my mother wasn’t far away.  Most kids I knew came from family units consisting of a mother and a father.  Although not always perfect, more that not had some kind of guidance and positive examples.
  • Now – The divorce rate is well over 50%.  Many children are being raised in single homes with no father or an absent one.  Sometimes no mother.  Sometimes (in the case of one of my neighbors) neither.   Also, because of the economy, some parents (even with two incomes) are forced to work long hours and not spend as much time with their children.  In many families there’s no guidance and no examples of people simply being nice to each other.
  • 20 Years Ago – most kids went outside right after school and learned to resolve conflict by mixing it up a bit with their friends.  Sure, there were problems, but we learned to deal with them face to face.
  • Now – the typical young teen spends most of the time after school, in the house playing video games or on youtube or on their phone or computer on various social media sites.  They try to resolve conflict by texting and facebooking or even worse, anonymously.
  • 20 Years Ago – TV was the culprit.  We had shows like Cheers (where everybody knows your name) and Friends (the name says it all).  Even children had Boy Meets World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and All That.  All innocent shows that had some “coming of age” themes but were generally pretty darn wholesome.  Yes there were some more hardcore shows, but we had the guidance of our parents.
  • Now – We have The Kardashians and Jersey Shore, glorifying partying and being mean.  Even the well produced shows like Breaking Bad and Walking Dead are violent and gritty (heck, that’s the reason we watch them).  We have “reality shows” like American Idol and America’s Got Talent, where the first few weeks people are getting made-fun-of on a regular basis.  And we sit back on our couches, in front of our children, and agree with the bullying.  “Yeah, he sucks!  She’s awful!  Don’t quit your day job”.
  • 20 Years Ago – The movie Mean Girls wasn’t out yet.
  • Now – Although it didn’t single-handedly create a bullying society, the release of Mean Girls in 2004 made it “cool” to bully other kids.  I know, some may say that the point of the movie is to “not” make fun of others, but the effect was quite the opposite.  Now girls are just as guilty (if not moreso) than the boys.   It’s coming from all angles.
  • 20 Years Ago – We didn’t have the internet.
  • Now – Children can view almost anything.  From Netflix to Youtube to Illegal Movie Sites to Porn Channels etc…  No matter what filters you put on your internet and TV, kids can get through.  If they don’t do it at your house, they can do it at a friend’s house.  And because of the lack of parental guidance, many children emulate what they see and what they hear.  They have no choice.  It’s the only thing they know.
  • 20 Years Ago – Life was a bit simpler.
  • Now – It’s much more complicated.  We as parents have to work extra hard to make sure our children are safe.

I appreciate your comments.

Dedicated to reducing bullying at your school!Dedicated to reducing bullying at your school!
Southern California’s Top Elementary School Assembly Performer


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