Enough is enough: Say no to bullying
March 8, 2013 -- Updated 2112 GMT (0512 HKT)
- Anderson Cooper: Bullying today seems worse than in previous generations
- Cooper: When bullied children commit suicide, it's not just tragic, it's unacceptable
- Through reporting we can increase empathy and help reduce bullying, he says
- Cooper: Learn more from "The Bully Effect," which will air on CNN tonight at 8 p.m. ET
Watch a special edition of AC360° "The Bully Effect" tonight on CNN at 8 p.m. ET
(CNN) -- In the last few years, awareness about bullying has increased dramatically. Some adults may still think bullying is just a youthful rite of passage, but it seems worse than in previous generations for many parents, educators and kids.
It doesn't stop at the schoolyard or even a child's front door. Access to the Internet and social media websites mean kids can be bullied and tormented around the clock, even in the supposed safety of their own homes. The cruelty that can come with the strike of a button on a keyboard can hurt just as much as any punch or push in a playground.
We've produced a documentary called "The Bully Effect" which follows the stories of a number of people filmmaker Lee Hirsch introduced audiences to in his remarkable 2012 film "Bully." These are kids and parents who have taken their pain, their suffering, their grief and turned it into action. They are truly inspiring.
Our unhealthy love of reality TV bullying
I first started reporting on the problem of bullying a few years ago when a rash of suicides of children propelled the issue into the national spotlight. Since then, I've interviewed far too many parents whose children took their own lives because they felt like it was the only way out of the pain. It's not just tragic, it's unacceptable.
Through our reporting, we've repeatedly tried to understand the complex issues surrounding bullying. There are not just bullies and victims. Sometimes a child who is bullied may bully someone else. We've tried to understand how bullying can be a form of what researchers call "social combat," and we've looked at what programs work to prevent it, and why some schools fail to adequately address the problem.
Most bullying incidents are witnessed by bystanders: other students, teachers, and adults. All too often those bystanders fail to intervene, fail to stand up and say "enough is enough." As a teenager I saw other kids being bullied. Sometimes I tried to stop it, often times, I remained silent. It still pains me to this day.
Share your story about child bullying with CNN iReport
Increasing empathy and understanding is one of the greatest weapons we have to reduce bullying. That's why I believe in the power of reporting. And why I hope you will watch "The Bully Effect" on CNN tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Change is happening, and you can be part of it.
Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.
Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Anderson Cooper.
Watch Anderson Cooper
360° weeknights 8pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.
Part of complete coverage on
October 24, 2013 -- Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT)
At the end of first grade, 7-year-old Cameron Hale, an easy-going, cheerful little boy from a tiny rural town in western Washington, suddenly didn't want to go to school anymore.
October 20, 2013 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
Two girls in Florida, 14 and 12, have been arrested and charged with aggravated stalking -- cyberbullying.
With the growth of the Internet, bullying is now front and center online (cyberbullying), and affects users of all ages.
October 16, 2013 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
"Why aren't you dead?"
October 8, 2013 -- Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT)
In the last few months, the word rippled through news reports of tragic teen suicides in Connecticut, New York, Nova Scotia and Britain.
September 19, 2013 -- Updated 1545 GMT (2345 HKT)
For many families, the school year just started, but for Karen Suffern, it's not too early to start planning for Christmas.
September 5, 2013 -- Updated 1528 GMT (2328 HKT)
Can cruel words really kill?
February 28, 2013 -- Updated 1926 GMT (0326 HKT)
A red-faced Gordon Ramsay gets nose-to-nose with an older man and shouts, "Wake up!" He calls another chef's food "rotten." To us, it's entertainment.
March 8, 2013 -- Updated 2112 GMT (0512 HKT)
Some adults may still think bullying is just a youthful rite of passage, but it seems worse than in previous generations for many parents, educators and kids.
February 26, 2013 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
Bullies can be almost anyone, at any time. And the most likely targets of bullies? The bullies themselves.
Kirk Smalley and his wife, Laura, endured every parent's worst nightmare -- burying their child. Their 11-year-old son, Ty, was a victim of bullying.
April 15, 2013 -- Updated 1812 GMT (0212 HKT)
Brandon Turley didn't have friends in sixth grade. He would often eat alone at lunch, having recently switched to his school without knowing anyone.
These snapshots illustrate what children and parents profiled in Lee Hirsch's eye-opening documentary have overcome.
March 3, 2013 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Lawmakers have a responsibility to ensure that our schools are safe, which is why I have made addressing the problem of bullying a priority in the United States Senate.
The bullying Jackie Libby's son, Alex, faced every day was so severe that she worried the emotional toll would drive him to suicide.
October 31, 2012 -- Updated 1635 GMT (0035 HKT)
Many schools are implementing programs that teach empathy and respect for others. But not everyone agrees with this approach to managing bullying.
The answer to that question depends on how you look at it, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.
October 23, 2012 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
Amanda Todd, a Canadian teen whose suicide provoked a flood of sympathetic outrage, endured one torment after another in the years leading up to her death.
Today's five most popular stories