A scene from the unsettling bullying video
As a 23 year-old idiot that trawls the Internet in search of cheap entertainment, it's obvious to me that videos of schoolyard fighting are unfortunately far too common. But this week, like many Australians around the country, I was shocked to see the horrifying video of schoolyard bullying in Sydney.
The video at the centre of the outrage shows a small punk kid blatantly picking on a somewhat larger child, punching him in the face and constantly harassing him. Typical bully behaviour, I hear you say? Yes. The kicker to this video is what follows, as it captures the moment the victim snapped. And snap he did. By giving the punk kid a taste of his own medicine.
It's in the news most nights and for once, I agree with the majority. Bullying and fighting are bad. Very bad. You might even say, they're terrible. Whatever you call them, the issue is a large problem in society today and a big downfall to the beautiful communities we are fortunate enough to call home here in Australia. It should never come down to a kid having to defend himself, because, quite frankly, there should be nothing to defend. Leave people alone. Simple as that.
But the schoolyard issue (if you can call it that) in the video is not what I have the problem with. It's the media coverage that followed as they documented 'yet another case of fighting'. Have they even watched the video? Do they have eyes that are capable of actually seeing what happened? The poor kid stuck up for himself and destroyed the bully, and I say good on him. Should it have happened? No. But it did, and the bully got what he deserved. Yet the fence-sitting journalists of Australia prefer to chuck this in the 'fighting culture' category and reported mainly on the fact that there was a fight caught on film that depicted the throwing of a fellow student. And that's what angers me.
Report on all the fights you want, people need to know about them. But when one comes up that actually shows a bully getting exactly what he deserves, you need to show that from the right perspective too. Don't glorify it, but hey, if you can report on bullying, you should report it correctly. What's worse is that the poor kid who defended himself got suspended along with the bully. Yes, that's right, a kid stands up for himself, steps outside of his 'shell' and he gets thrown in with those that have tortured him for the past 4 years? That's absolute baloney. The kid has been picked on for the last four years. 4 YEARS! We can't even begin to comprehend what he's gone through, and for him to do that to the bully and realise he has that much physical strength when he's always felt as small as a piece of dirt, that's just going to mess with his self-confidence even more. He didn't want to fight. He didn't want to be there. He just wanted that moment, right there, in the video, to be over. He wants it all to be over. So he did something about it.
The victims and bullies need counselling. Counselling, discussion and embracing the issue with an open mind is how it's fixed. Not plain old-fashioned punishment. Suspension for the troublemakers, yes. But while they're suspended, throw them in counselling and teach them. Talk to them. Encourage them to find positives in their peers. The kids need to learn the right messages and the ideas. They don't need to know that 'if you bully, you'll get suspended and miss school'. If people spend their time teaching kids to find things they like about people, rather than what they don't like, the world would be a better place and the schoolyard would be fun again. What ever happened to Tazo's, Marbles and 'heads down, thumbs up'?
The opinions expressed in The 7PM Side Project blog do not necessarily reflect those of The 7PM Project or the Ten Network.