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Media Messages About Bullying and Harassment

This was written by Irene and is being reposted from the Kidpower Fullpower Teenpower Blog, with their permission.

I’ll never forget when my son, many years before Gavin de Becker pointed this out in The Gift of Fear, watched the movie The Graduate and said in a horrified voice, “You told me this was a funny movie, but he’s stalking her, Mom!”

The good news is that social perceptions, understanding, and laws about what kinds of behavior are acceptable or not are changing. However, bullying and harassment are often shown in film and books as being entertaining or even humorous.

Both kids and adults need to remember that there is a big difference between pretend and real. No matter how interesting or funny something might seem on the screen or in print, in real life, it is not okay to behave unsafely. You have the right to stop people who say or do mean or unsafe things to you – and the responsibility not to be hurtful or unsafe with others. And, if you are the adult in charge, your job is to make sure that everyone understands the rules and has the skills to speak up for themselves – as well as the job of enforcing the rules when you need to.

This is one of the chapter intros in our new Kidpower Bullying e-book that will be available by November 15th:

Bugs Bunny. Bart Simpson. Harry Potter. Garfield and Odie. Daffy Duck. Huck Finn. Pinnocchio. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Charlie Brown and Lucy. Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Wicked Witch. The Ugly Duckling. Edward Scissorhands. Tweety Bird and Sylvester the Cat. Spiderman. Scrooge. Popeye and Brutus. Little Orphan Annie. Oliver Twist. Tom and Jerry. The Roadrunner and Wiley E. Coyote. Cinderella & her stepsisters. Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. Caliban from The Tempest. Asterix and Obelix. Calvin and Hobbes. The Karate Kid.

Some of the best-loved characters in books and film were bullied, bullied others, or both. Bullying used to be taken for granted as a normal part of childhood. Now, we know differently.

For more information about our new e-book Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do To Keep Kids Safe, visit:

And here’s more information about our other Bullying Prevention Resources:

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