ARTICLES, WHAT IS BULLYING? HOW TO STOP KIDS BULLYING NOW
Addressing Bullying: Don’t Ask “Why?”, Ask “What?”
Last week near Knoxville Tenn., when Kimberly Jones picked up her son from school she recorded a video of him while they were still in the car. She had picked him up early from school — and not for the first time. He was scared to have lunch at school because his classmates picked on him. Her son, Keaton, told her that they poured milk on him, and stuffed ham in his pants.
In the video, he elaborates “They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.”. Ms. Jones posted the video to Facebook on Friday with an appeal to parents to talk to their children about bullying.
This is Keaton Jones, he lives in Knoxville and he has a little something to say about bullying.https://t.co/coyQxFp33V
— OutKick Bets (@OutKickBets) December 9, 2017
“Why do they bully? What’s the point of it?” Keaton tearfully asks. “Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and find a way to be mean to them?”.
Childhood bullying is a problem that has been around as long as there have been children. While internet bullying is on the rise, Keaton’s video shows that the age-old type of bullying — taunting, and physical violence — is still very much alive.
Since the video was posted on Friday, the outpouring of support on social media has been enormous. By Sunday, the video had been viewed over 20 million times on Facebook. Thousands of people have responded, including many celebrities.
So I got the chance to spend the day with my new best bud Keaton. It was unbelievable to get to know him and realize that we have a lot in common. This dude is very special and has changed my life forever. Now I have the little brother I always wanted! God bless you my man pic.twitter.com/vMHVtnf2rC
— Jarrett Guarantano✞ (@JayGuarantano) December 11, 2017
Jarret Guarantano is a quarterback at the University of Tennessee — he posted a photo of himself with Keaton and called him his “new best bud”. Even Stanger Things Actress, Millie Bobby Brown, tweeted out “I wanna be your friend.”
Tight end for the Tennessee Titans, Delanie Walker, read a poem in a short video, and told Keaton that he “could be whoever he wanted to be”. He also offered him tickets to the New Year’s Eve game of the Tennessee Titans Vs. The Jacksonville Jaguars. LeVar Burton — an actor — showed his support and told Keaton that he is “not alone”. Even Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, chimed in. “Don’t let them make you turn cold.” He advised. He also offered Keaton tickets to the Los Angeles premiere of “Avengers” next year.
Stay strong, Keaton. Don’t let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better. While those punks at your school are deciding what kind of people they want to be in this world, how would you and your mom like to come to the Avengers premiere in LA next year? https://t.co/s1QwCQ3toi
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) December 10, 2017
Since the video surfaced questions have been raised about the motives of Keaton’s mother for posting the video. An Instagram account with the username kimberlyjones_38 was shown to have made racist remarks, however, there is no proof the account actually belonged to Keaton’s mom. Additionally, a GoFundMe account was set up for the family. By Monday afternoon both the Instagram account and GoFundMe had been deleted.
Another GoFundMe was set up by a Joseph Lam, who came across the family’s video and “felt compelled to help”. This account raised over $58,000, and GoFundMe is working with Joseph Lam to ensure the money goes to the Jones family.
Public awareness towards bullying comes and goes. There have been several publicized cases in the past where the bullying was so vicious the bullied individuals killed themselves. In fact, multiple studies show a connection between bullying and suicide.
Keaton’s poignant question of “Why?” is a very difficult one to answer — as there are many factors that contribute to why a bully behaves the way he or she does. However, the question of “What can you do?” is a bit easier.
What you can do to stop bullying:
1: Stand up for others.
If you witness bullying, stand up for the victim! You can bring it to the attention of an adult or someone in authority if you don’t feel safe stepping in yourself.
2: Be kind.
Especially to the victim of bullying. Try to include them, talk to them, or invite them to hang out. Making an effort to help them feel included goes a long way towards them knowing that they’re not alone.
3: Get involved.
Be vocal in your cause to end bullying. Write about it or talk about it. Find out where bullying happens in your school, and think about what you could do to help. Then share your ideas with someone in authority who can help you implement them.
His video ends with a tearful message “if you are made fun of, just don’t let it bother you. Stay strong, I guess.” He sounds unconvinced and defeated. “It’ll probably get better one day.”
What Keaton, and others who are suffering just like him need to know is that it will get better one day; but only if this issue is constantly addressed and pushed back upon. So speak up, be kind, and get involved. Don’t let bullying victims suffer alone.