May 31, 2010

Cyber Bullying - Luke's Story

Luke was an 11-year-old boy when he first came to optimistic kids. He was not at all gifted as sport however was extremely good with computers and solid academically. Even though he was not the most popular boy at school he facilitated an Internet chat room for his classmates that were much frequented in the hours after school.
Unfortunately a group of kids at school began using the chat room as a forum for cyber bullying Luke. As moderator of the chat room this placed him in a very difficult position. The chat room was outside of school hours and not directly to do with the school and yet the bullying was being perpetrated by children who attended his school. It was obvious that the situation was not going to be resolved swiftly.
Needless to say that the situation was extremely stressful for him and he needed some strategies to help him get through to the other side of this large adversity. Luke’s skills of resilience and optimism were initially very low. He tended to blame himself for the situation; in spite of the being no evidence that he had in any way upset these children. He also believed that this situation would never come under control and that he would have to give up his role as moderator and even as participant in the very chat room that he facilitated. At his worst moments he believed that he would even have to leave his school.
Through teaching him the skills of resilience and encouraging him to apply them both at home and at school he was able to cope with this difficult situation over the course of the three months that it took to resolve. Luke was taught “real time resilience” in which he was able to apply accurate resilient thoughts to challenge and replace the many and varied negative thoughts that were entering his head and controlling his feelings. In this way he was able to come up with rational alternative thoughts that reduced his level of distress to a point where he was able to get through his school day.
He was also able to see that this situation would ultimately be brought under control given a combination intervention by Optimistic Kids, the school and some supportive and assertive parents. (His own parents and some of those of the children from the chat room). Luke’s parents were also instrumental in fostering at home the resilient and positive attitudes that he was being taught by Optimistic Kids and coaching him in being more assertive with other children.
Luke’s story is more common than we would like it to be and provides a picture of a child whose school life could have gone either of two ways: either leaving school with a potential descent into depression and a target for further bullying, or being able to remain at his school and use this as an opportunity to build resilience and some of the thinking skills that would service him well into the future.
The epilogue to this story is that seven years later I received a phone call from Luke, extremely concerned about a good friend of his. Luke was studying at a university interstate, having continued through to the completion of his secondary schooling with very good marks and at his original school. In his university friend he had observed some of the old thinking patterns and behaviours that he had experienced when he was going through the cyber bullying. He was concerned that his friend was not coping well, and may end up leaving university. He wanted to know where he could get resilience training for his friend. It was extremely pleasing and reassuring to see that not only had Luke continued to use his resilience and optimism skills over the course of the seven years since I had first met him, but that he was also able to identify a potential problem in his friend and take assertive action to deal with it.
Once learnt, the skills of resilience and optimism can be used to give children positive attitudes for life.
Simon Andrews on behalf of Enough is Enough
Enough is Enough High School Programs
Your Life - Your Responsibility (Yrs 7-12)
Years 7-9: Focus: Building resilience, dealing with bullying, accepting change
Years 10-12: Focus: Facing challenges, building personal responsibility, making a difference, staying motivated.
Using the real life story of a senseless act of violence, this session encourages students to focus on personal responsibility, overcoming adversity, facing fear, maintaining self control and building inner strength, resilience an developing leader-ship skills. Presenters share how a major traumatic experience changed the life of one man, turning personal tragedy into hope for others. Challenges young people to truly understand the meaning of living their lives to the full. Our keynote workshop/seminar, can be tailored for small groups or as a large presentation.
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  2. Take the respondsibility. Tell a trusted person about your friend's hurt emotions.

  3. all i have to say about cyber bulling is that people out there are going through rought times and people calling them names doesnt halp anything i have heard of people who have told someone to kill themselves and now that person is dead no comment is worth a life and about bulling in general i know someone who was in a play with me she is not super skinny no but she is the nices person i hve ever met and i would do anything for her she does her part great and she is perfict for the part but the second she got on stage in front of the student bdy all i could hear was people yelling boo and laughing PEOPLE ITS NOT FUNNY TO BE A BULLY being a bbuly men you have prblems with yourself im not trying to be rude but BARWISE JOUNIOR HIGH HAS A LOT OF BULLYS AND PEPLE WHO ONLY WANT TO FIGHT!!!!!!!! please spek up for people being bullied its worth it DONT!!!! be afraid not everyone in a place is a bully or is nice please help the ones being bullied just be their friend or stand by them i am tierd of seeing all of this crap going on stop the gossip bulling of any tipe and being rude i wish everyone would judge themself beofe others