By Brandy D. Anderson
People often say it’s harder than ever to be a kid nowadays. Putting aside the Industrial Revolution era of widespread child labour, this argument seems to be a valid one when comparing what kids go through today to what my generation went through twenty and thirty years ago. Certainly, we had our hardships growing up in the 1980s and 90s, but all of those hardships seem to be amplified for today’s kids.
One significant change that modern kids have, that kids of my generation lacked, is the Internet. Now, the Internet can be wonderful, lovely, and just all around awesome. Unfortunately, it can also be used as a sinister platform for malicious ghoulies to abuse so they can hide behind the anonymity to launch vicious attacks on others. Bullying has always been around, and it isn’t a new thing by any means, but the Internet has begun a new phase of harassment with Cyber-Bullying.
However, the light at the end of the tunnel is that the Internet also has the power of healing while it instantaneously connects people across the globe. Here are 5 of the best sites for victims of bullying, friends of victims, and parents to access help through information, mentors, and peer counselors:
“Bullying can affect you in many ways. You may lose sleep or feel sick. You may want to skip school. You may even be thinking about suicide. If you are feeling hopeless or helpless or know someone that is, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).”
This is a wonderful anti-bullying website run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I know, it’s surprising proof that a government can actually make a good, useful, and easy to use website! Who would’ve thought? While this page generally seems to be more geared towards adults and parents of kids who are being bullied rather than the kids themselves, it does directly address victims of harassment, offering information and helplines. There is a checklist for ‘warning signs your child is being bullied’ as well as a checklist for ‘warning signs your child is bullying others’, which is a nice addition that many awareness sites are missing.
“We empower young people so deeply affected by bullying that they can barely face going to school. Working with families, schools, and communities to understand the problem, campaign for change and provide a sustainable efficient and proven solution. BeatBullying works with young people to lead anti-bullying campaigns in their schools and local communities, and builds the capacity of local communities to sustain the work. BeatBullying believes that bullying contradicts the basic British values of fair play, social justice, aspiration, opportunity, respect – it is something the whole nation must act collectively to eradicate, so we can really support the millions of young people who lie in bed at night terrified to go to school the next morning. ”
This organization is based in London and it’s one of the best out there for victims of harassment. With online mentors and trained teen counselors ranging from ages 11 – 17, BeatBullying offers a number of ways students can talk, or chat, to someone. Some of the options include: “I need to talk”, “I’m worried about someone”, “I need support from a mentor”, “I need to send an urgent message to a counselor”, and “I need to visit the support lounge”. They have a great “Who Can I Talk To/Who Is On This Site” page, a comprehensive guide detailing the various roles of mentors and counselors on the site.
They also maintain a frequently updated Facebook page.
“Will YOU take the pledge to stop bullying? This blog is run by two teenage girls that are simply trying to make a difference. Please don’t hesitate to message us! We are always here to help. If you send us a message that isn’t anonymous but you would like use to answer privately please let us know in your message otherwise it will be published!”
This is a friendly, understanding tumblr blog which excels at nurturing others. This site is managed by two enthusiastic teenagers, making it a popular blog for teens to share stories of harassment and abuse. Self-love and empowerment memes fill the page and the blog admins do a good job of offering comfort to others.
“This page is designed by young adults, for young adults with mental health conditions as a tool to inspire, inform, and empower. We aim to provide support for others like us in their efforts of going to school, finding and maintaining employment, and pursuing fulfilling lives in recovery! The Transitions RTC is a national effort that aims to: Improve the supports for youth and young adults, ages 14-30, with serious mental health conditions who are trying to successfully complete their schooling and training and move into rewarding work lives.”
While this isn’t a site specifically dedicated to the anti-bullying movement, it certainly would be helpful for those seeking solace from any type of mental or physical harassment. Their actual website is geared towards young Americans with diagnosed health conditions who receive SSI, but their tumblr page is full of diverse and powerful messages which nurture positivity, empathy, and understanding.
“The ABLN is bridging the gap between researchers and students and educators, to help bring effective bullying prevention to schools and communities. The Anti-Bullying Leadership Network is a student-run organization aimed at decreasing the frequency of bullying in schools through empirically driven programs.”
The ABLN is the place to go for a plethora of scientific research conducted on bullying and its short and longterm effects. Their aim is to decrease “the frequency of bullying in schools through empirically driven programs”. They have an exhaustive list of resources where you can access various studies, and each one is thoroughly cited and conducted by top researchers from Princeton, Yale, John Hopkins, and others.