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Family and Child Development > FCD Blog > Posts > ​What do movies teach us about bullying?

Issues of bullying are portrayed and discussed in all types of media today, including music, movies, television shows, and literature. However, the biggest entertainment industry that brings to light the issues of bullying is movies. Movies have been used to show how bullying can effect children emotionally and socially, ways children can take a stand against bullying, and the struggles of both bullies and victims. Below are some examples of movies that highlight these issues of bullying.

Mean Girls (2004) shows how easy it can be for children to move roles from being the victim to becoming the bully and vice versa. Cady is the new girl at school who plays a joke on the popular girl at school, Regina. She is sucked into the idea of popularity and tries to bring Regina down by turning the other girls against her. Regina goes from being the bully to becoming the victim of bullying in a matter of weeks. Mean Girls shows the spectrum of the relationship between victim and bully, showing that roles in the relationship can shift.

Toy Story 3 (2010) shows how even a bully can be experiencing struggles of his or her own. Though Lotso is initially an unsympathetic character, the movie reveals that his owner abandoned him. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Lotso now believes that love doesn't exist, and wants to ensure that everyone around him is also miserable. However, the toys join together in standing up to Lotso and eventually become his friend. Toy Story 3 also shows that genuine connection with others can be an effective coping technique when dealing with bullied ... be they stuffed animals, or humans.

Cyberbully (2011) shows us the negative effects cyber bullying can have on teenagers, when Taylor is subjected to bullying through a social network website. We can see how the bullying affects Taylor at school and at home, making her unable to function, ultimately bringing her to consider suicide. Taylor’s family and friends come to her rescue by supporting her and by helping her stop the bullying from continuing. The movie also shows us how a good support system of friends and family can help teenagers overcome the negative effects of bullying.

Written by: Kelcie Silvia


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