Feeling bullied? Victims Can Share Stories
THE DAILY GLEANER STAFF
A new website for youths and adults to share bullying experiences will help empower victims, its creators say.
"This will give students and others a chance to air their thoughts on bullying," said Brandon Walker, a Grade 11 student at Dartmouth High Scholl in Nova Scotia.
He and Rob Frenette, a Grade 11 student at Bathurst High School, created the website earlier this fall. It can be found at www.bullyingkidsspeakup.ca.
"Rob and I are familiar with the effects of bullying and we want to raise awareness about anti-bullying," Walker said in a telephone interview from his home.
"We want to let kids know they are not alone and that there's always someone here to listen to them. The true value of the website is to let bullies, and those who are bullied, know they don't have to live in silence and to feel they are not alone."
The website doesn't just want to hear from victims of bullying.
"We want to hear from the bullies, parents, teachers, victims and anyone with thoughts on the issue," Walker said.
"It's primarily a venting tool. We want to make the site friendly to all aspects of bullying and we welcome everyone's story."
Walker said the website is still under construction and can be accessed starting Jan. 10.
Marilyn Noble, an adult educator and expert in the effects of bullying, said more adult intervention and empathy will help reduce the frequency of bullying.
Noble commends the creators of the new website.
"The interesting aspect of this is it is youth-initiated," she said. "It is a peer-to-peer conversation and gives kids the opportunity to share their stories."
Noble said the website will empower victims and help schools solve a "huge problem" in New Brunswick.
"I receive calls from families who are at wit's end," she said. "Schools are just now learning how to deal with bullying. We are cluing in now as to what bully does to people. It results in serious harm and damage, and adults can carry the scars their entire lives."
Noble said the character of bullyng has changed over the generations.
"No longer is it just carried out by high school grades," she said. "We see it in the early grades, including kindergarten, and it has also been done (online)."
Noble said adults have to be aware that bullying occurs and it has serious consequences.
"Adults need to respond and to teach their children empathy and to help each other," she said. "We have to stop bullying in its tracks and remodel our behaviours, and we can do that if we all work together.
Story Reprinted With Permission.