Childhood has never been easy, but it is now becoming, in some ways, even more difficult. The social networking tools that provide so much satisfaction and distraction to adults can prove to be outright dangerous for children, as a number of high-profile cases in recent times have demonstrated. Followed home in virtual ways by their tormentors at school, some victims of bullying have decided that the only way out for them was a permanent, morbid one. Combating these problems has become a high priority for school administrators and parents around the country, but it is not always clear what needs to be done.

In many cases, the most productive first step is a relatively simple one. Many bullies and their victims do not fully contextualize and recognize the character of what they do and experience, simply reacting in relatively unthinking ways to the impulses they feel as developing human beings. Many psychologists and other experts therefore advise that the most effective way of getting started with dealing with such issues is to lay out the reality and consequences of bullying in explicit, concrete terms. That can be all that it takes to open a small window into the minds of young people, allowing for further work of an even more productive sort to be done.

Illustration for article titled Effective Ways of Combating the Childhood Scourge of Bullying

Many of the most successful middle school anti bullying programs of recent times therefore put at center stage gatherings that are used to inform a whole student body about the basic issues. A simple bullying assembly that broaches the subject in a direct way can be enough to get students thinking about the problem in their daily lives, and that is often the first step toward reducing the incidence of the issue.

When students are prepared in these ways, work later on tends to become more effective, as well. While many anti bullying assembly have proved to be of mixed utility, the ones that build on work done earlier in the lives of students tend to stand out.

That is not to say, by any means, that anti-bullying school assemblies aimed at more mature students are destined to fail when no prior preparation has been laid down, though. In just about every case where all involved are committed to doing everything possible to cut back on bullying activity, students can learn to see the downsides of their actions. Even more important, those who are not themselves involved with bullying can be recruited into the effort, using their social pressure to help stamp out this problem.

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