Nurturing Resilience

Raising children to be competent and caring.

Let’s Stop Talking About Bullied Teens and Suicide

Bringing lots of media attention to teenagers who suicide because of bullying may be contributing to the very deaths we’re trying to stop. There are better ways to prevent these suicides. Read More

While I agree that the

While I agree that the coverage of most of these events is sensationalized and irresponsible, NOT covering them is unlikely to be an effective prevention effort. The author uses the example of the Columbine shooting to illustrate that school shootings are likely to not have occurred with the same intensity or frequency if it had not been for the media coverage of that event. Whether that is true or not, the fact that school shootings were "unheard of" does not mean that they did not happen prior to Columbine. They did happen, and with some frequency. In addition, the media coverage of that event has led to advances in safety procedures and in getting help not only to those who may be victims, but also those who may be perpetrators. In addition, it is unlikely that not covering the event would have had an appreciable effect on those who have followed Columbine.

It is incumbent upon professionals in mental health, medicine, law enforcement, and--yes--the media to provide RESPONSIBLE coverage of such events and to include (along with the details of the story that will initially attract an audience) information on prevention efforts and effective treatments that are available.

Keeping quiet will not eliminate the problem, only the attention that it requires.

Stop calling it bullying

The term bullying sugarcoats what it truly is which further causes adults to not take it seriously. Its harassment. If an adult is harassed the harasser can be punished, but bullies in school are not because its seen as a normal rite of passage by too many adults. The problem is the adults. The teachers and parents are instilling hatred and prejudice in children's minds of anyone who is a little different in some way. A lot of it comes from religion. Kids would not be so cruel if they did not learn it from the adults around them. Prejudice is learned.

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Michael Ungar, Ph.D., is a family therapist, a researcher at Dalhousie University, and the author of The We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids.

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