Sunday, May 1, 2016

Phones must not be used as a weapon

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

Your last column was about how kids should report bullying to an adult until something is done. You went so far as to suggest that the victims should go to the police if a “trusted” adult doesn’t do anything.

Here’s the problem from a teacher’s perspective. Two things happen most often when a kid reports bullying:

One – The teacher, principal or someone from the school has a nice sit-down “talk” with the victim and the bully, and hopefully the parents. However, that usually causes the victim to be double-bullied. Once for whatever the original reason might have been. Then they are double-bullied for being a tattle-tale.

Two – The bully becomes more aggressive, especially because the bully gets more of an audience when the victim reports the bullying. Even teachers will gossip about how the victim just wants attention and drama.

The bottom line is “report – report – report” doesn’t work. It causes more problems for the victim.

Another problem happens if the kids who are with the bully “stands up instead of standing by” is that kid will now be ostracized and probably bullied. So now there’s two victims, the one who was bullied and the one who “stands up.”

So what is the real answer?

Teacher of Bullies and Victims

Dear Teacher,

Our culture has to change.

Each person needs to make sure they develop an identity with our 5 C’s :

Civility – good manners – which is defined by being considerate of others;

Courage – moral strength to do something that’s difficult or dangerous;

Confidence – faith in yourself and Christ … or your religious belief … self-reliance, assurance, conviction, trust and poise that you may succeed in making the right choices and actions;

Creativity – a most important value where we dare to do our best with our own uniqueness, individuality, and feelings of great self-worth; and,

Carriage – Having tall stature and strong, yet graceful, demeanor in the way we carry our bodies.

Our society needs to wake up and see the harm that rudeness, gossip, bickering, one-upping and vicious “just kidding” is causing. Real relationships with real goodness and real care needs to replace the fake identities that come with social media.

As child advocates, we have asked our communities to seriously consider keeping cell phones out of schools where most of the mentioned harm takes place.

We do not normally mention a product, however, this is the only one we know about that does a remarkable thing … “Yondr” blocks the usage of cell phones.

Why is that important? Cell phone usage by students has become a compulsive habit for most users. Cell phones have replaced real relationships and created more damage than the benefit they are meant to be. Kids and teens are not learning how to build communication and relationships.

In a school setting, smart phones have often become a crutch, an “invisibility cloak,” a deterrent to meaningful relationships and decent, caring, and purposeful communication.

We talked with the CEO of Yondr, Graham Dugoni, for a recent podcast and his phone blocking system is already used at concerts, comedy shows, performances fashioning phone-free zones to maintain authenticity, privacy, and a non-distracting environment.

We think this is the perfect answer for education to thrive and for students to experience real life in a good environment.

So, our answer to bullying, which is known to incite suicide, depression, anxiety, and much more destruction to our children, is creating healthy and real relationships. Healthy relationships matter the most. This has to be done without a crutch like phones. Phones must not be used as a weapon to bully any one any more.

FYI: Go to our website for more information on bullying, life and stuff.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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