What do you do when witnessing someone really obnoxious to another person? Do you help him or her, or do you look the other way? I’ve been asking people this question based on different scenarios. The consensus is that people typically mind their own business. They don’t get involved simply because they don’t have time or may be fearful or don’t see a situation as harmful, etc. This was the theme of a recent Dateline NBC show (6/28) that my daughter and I were on. Can watch highlights featured on the Today Show >HERE and other parts on TV commercial >HERE. While there were conversations not shown on TV that made me proud, I thought the episode overall was amazing and provided valuable lessons.
To sum up a long story, my daughter thought she was going to be interviewed on TV about the subject of teenagers and social media. I was asked to visit the studio too and was unsure why at the time. I thought maybe I was going to be on a panel with other Moms discussing a similar topic from a parent’s perspective. That was not the case! We were each set up with hidden cameras to monitor how we would each handle a “mean girl” situation. Rosalind Wiseman, best-selling author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” which the hit movie Mean Girls is based on, had a valuable role in the episode. Rosalind has devoted many years to her passion of teaching people “the responsibility to treat themselves and others with dignity.” During the Dateline episode, Rosalind shared strategies to deal with bullying situations both online and offline. Natalie Morales, who is truly admirable and just as beautiful off camera as she is on, was a key lead too. While the TV program was only an hour long, the story leaves an everlasting impact, especially for my daughter and I. Since filming, we continue to reflect on our experience. I have so many thoughts to share. Time is limited, so I’ll condense some of my realizations below, in random order:
- There is A FINE LINE between rudeness and bullying.
- The younger generation quickly identifies with the term “bullying” more than parents / older generation.
- Time and place affects decision making.
- People respond differently if they know the mean person involved vs a stranger, and if they’re with a friend vs alone.
- It’s harder to identify mental pain vs physical. If unsure how someone else feels, pay attention to body language. You’ll get lots of insights!
- Social media complicates matters. Stop hurtful conversations when you see them. If you choose not to, certainly don’t contribute to them.
In sum, my goal is to help increase awareness and drive productive conversations about this important topic. I look forward to your feedback.
Special thanks to my dear friend Allison and her daughter. I’m grateful that we shared such a memorable experience together.