by Jamie Littlefield


Bullying can bring fear and hopelessness into the life of an innocent child. Sadly, many caregivers and bystanders don’t act when they see a child getting bullied on the playground or in their neighborhood. Such inaction can mean misery for children who are subjected to bullying on a regular basis.

Victims of bullying are more likely to struggle in their classes, decrease their participation at school, and drop out before graduation. Adults that were bullied as children are more prone to depression and anxiety. They are three times more likely to consider suicide than their peers.

Imagine working in an office where bullying is tolerated. A co-worker who is stronger than you may distract you from your job, spread vicious rumors about you, take your possessions, threaten you, or openly mock you with the intention of causing you pain. When you explain the abuse to your boss, the response is clear: “You need to stop complaining and work this out together.” You are punished for being a “tattletale.” Most adults wouldn’t put up with this sort of treatment at work, yet victimized children are commonly expected to confront their abusers on their own and with no way to defend themselves.

In learning how to communicate with each other, it’s natural for children to argue among friends, experience anger or frustration, and “play fight.” But, bullying is different. A bully harasses and degrades a victim for the sole purpose of causing pain. Constant name calling, threats, physical abuse, and gossip can leave a child seriously hurt and depressed. These victimized children don’t have the power to stop the bullying. They need your help.

In just fifteen minutes you can help stop bullying in your community by learning how to recognize bullying, educating others, and intervening to stop children from being harmed by bullies.

  • Learn how to recognize bullying: Educate yourself on how to recognize the signs of bullying and what you can do to prevent kids from being bullied. Learn to tell the difference between bullying and harmless childhood play.
  • Help educate others: Spread the word by talking to the people in your community who have the power to put an end to bullying. Here are a few groups you may want to visit or call:
  • Your family: If you have kids, teach them that bullying is wrong. Use the government resources provided for bullied kids and bullied teens to help them come up with a plan for what to do if they experience bullying as a victim or an observer.
  • Your friends and neighbors: Take a few minutes to share this bullying information with people in your neighborhood. Encourage adults and children to speak up and stop bullying wherever they see it.
  • Your local schools: has a wealth of free anti-bullying material aimed at helping teachers, school administrators, and students recognize and prevent school bullying. Print some of the school bullying articles and give them to your local school district or email officials the link. You may also want to suggest that school children take the Anti-bullying Pledge from and that schools institute an online bully reporting program similar to the one used by Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida.
  • Stop bullying when you see it: By now, you know what to do. The next time you see an innocent child being victimized by a bully, don’t let the abuse continue. Your actions to stop bullying will help victimized children have hope again and will pave the way for others to stop letting senseless bullying harm young lives.