Couldn’t wait to watch the Dateline show ‘My Kid Would Never..’ tonight as the topic was on bullying. They put together a series of compelling real life hidden camera situations using boys and girls up to age 15. The point was to see how young bystanders, kids witnessing the bullying, would react to occurrences. How the kids responded to these hidden camera tests were mighty interesting especially when a youth coach was involved.
The premise of the test was simple- a mock athletic competition where kids were encouraged to work as a team. The youth coach (actor) entered, explained the rules then exited. The test began. The bullies (actors) overpowered the weaker child (actor as well) in a classic bully scenario. Three unsuspecting kids (the bystanders and test subjects) watched. What would they do?
As the coach exited the gym, the kids were monitored. The first set of bystanders quietly observed the bullying. Watching the weaker kid get picked on eventually stirred one kid to deflect the situation by laying on the court. His deflection caused another to change the topic. It took just one action to start a chain of events that eventually defused the bullying.
During the next test, we see the importance of the role of a youth coach. This time, the coach (an actor) was present during the mock bullying and subtly allowed it to occur. As the bullies acted, the bystanders did nothing. Then in a sudden surprising twist, a young bystander sided with the bullies. Youth football coaches have great influence and it was apparent in this situation. The Coach’s actions, albeit subtle, were picked up by the kids and were mirrored. If the coach allows it, it must be ok.
In this third test, the coach was present during the bullying but this time he sternly spoke against it. Coach exited. The results were convincing. Once again, one kid’s voice sparked fire in the other bystanders to end the bullying. But it was surely more of an aggressive attempt to stop the disgraceful action while supporting the boy being bullied.
Coaches, let’s lead by example, always set an excellent example because your kids will always be observant.
We’ve discussed the many benefits of playing youth football, we believe these reasons mold our kids into into outstanding human beings. Youth football comprises a special community of disciplined young athletes. Our kids are generally stronger physically and mentally than other kids in their age group. Parents- if your kid is a bystander, teach him to speak up against bullying by either diffusing a situation or reporting it. Support is key. Have your kid befriend the child being bullied- he’ll appreciate it the rest of his life. Read about our Youth Football Online All Star Harrison Bailey who befriended a child being bullied.
Standing up means manning up- let’s eradicate bullying. Visit http://www.stopbullying.gov for more information.