TODAY

TODAY   |  April 15, 2013

Dad’s anti-bullying plea goes viral

When Matthew Bent’s son, Shiloh, confided that he was being bullied, Matthew took a unique approach, posting an anti-bullying message on Facebook saying “I stand behind my son.” He and Shiloh talk about the message, which has since been liked or shared at least 900,000 times.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> what would you do if your child became a target of bullies? "i stand behind my son in the fight against bullying. fight and send a message that bullying needs to stop now." more than 900,000 people have seen it, liked and forwarded and matthew bent is here along with his son, shiloh . i have three kids under the age of 12. i always thought what would i do if i found out one of those kids was being bullied. had you worried about it?

>> i had worried about it. i never knew that the day was going to come that he was going to come home to the dinner table and tell me that but very proud of him for standing up and saying something.

>> was it hard to tell your dad that, shiloh , saying i'm having a problem with bullies.

>> it was a really hard thing for me to tell my dad because it was like on one side is it really bullying or is it not and i worry about that question and i worry how is it going to end.

>> and do you worry if you go out there and your dad does something about it, it's going to make you more of a target for bullying, kids are going to make fun of you. when he came to you and said dad, i know you thought back when i was a kid, meaning you, i got bullied.

>> um-hum.

>> the advice was turn around and walk away and ignore it. you were determined not to have that happen.

>> exactly. exactly. i wanted him to remember that i was always standing behind him and that i had his back at all times and i was going to make sure if things weren't going to happen the way i thought they would with the administration and police, that we stood up and did something.

>> so you posted this picture and it's symbolic. it is not only are you saying it, you are standing right behind your son, and you started to get response pretty quickly, didn't you?

>> amazing response. the facebook page has been unbelievable. i've heard from people around the world some amazing stories on the good with people from all around the country, teachers in florida and businesspeople in massachusetts to coaches in oregon and you hear the heartbreaking stories, tens of thousands of e-mails that have poured in, of it happening to their kids, that it's going on everywhere, and as we sit here today there's kids that are in school right this minute that are dealing with this.

>> shiloh what was the response at school? what did your friends say when they heard you and your dad had taken the picture?

>> well the first day, what really happened was i went to school, i got into class, people said, "hey, why did your dad put that post up" and some of the people that actually saw it started to explain it and now it's all over my school.

>> so are things better for you now? has it lessened the bullying?

>> it's lessened the bullying in my school. the only two things that i really have to say is, one, it always will get better, no matter how bad it will get better for sure, and i just have to throw a big shout out to my friends and say thank you because they really helped me get through it.

>> i think that's the best way to end it. shiloh , good luck to you all right.

>> and parents, parents please tell your kids that it's okay