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Apr 4, 2012
Bullying is sometimes trivialized in social conversation and entertainment as "boys being boys" or "kids being kids." Too often, the emotional toll that bullying can have on children or teenagers is glossed over. Children argue. They name call. They fight. It's a part of growing up. But what happens when seemingly isolated incidents become indicative of something more serious? Bullied children and teens become afraid to discuss the issues because they fear judgment by their peers, teachers, and even their parents. The consequences can be lethal.
Within the last few months alone, documentaries such as USA Network's NFL Characters Unite and the recently released Bully, from the Weinstein Company, have helped to encourage discussion on this very serious topic. Although Bully received an "R" rating from the MPAA, the subject matter is relative and centered on children ages 8 to 18. It's the reality of their lives, and the Weinstein Company chose to release this Character Approved project unrated.
When watching Bully, you won't just hear stories, you'll be immersed in very tense situations. In one instance, a child is being punched and stabbed with a pencil repeatedly while riding the bus. In another situation, a young girl's family is ostracized by their community and mocked by her school's administration because of her sexuality.
This is a critical documentary for parents, teachers, and teenagers to watch. Bully serves as a great starting point to open up communication between adults and children so that preventative measures can be taken to stop bullying. It also reinforces the importance of establishing safe support networks, where children and teenagers can freely discuss their issues without fear of being judged.
Bully notes that an estimated 13 million children will be bullied this year. It has catalyzed the awareness movement and has garnered support from celebrities like Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Anderson Cooper, Jimmy Fallon, Russell Simmons, Kevin McHale, and Zooey Deschanel.
Bully opened Friday in select theaters.
[Image: The Bully Project]