Growing up in a small town, I started kindergarten with most of the same kids I graduated high school with. I was very lucky in that there was little bullying going on. Sure, there was some, but it wasn't nearly as common back then as it is now, and friends usually picked up for other friends so it wasn't so bad. I only had to deal with the regular teenage angst of not feeling as though I belong and that no one understood me. And that's hard enough without adding bullying to the mix.
That was long before cell phones and social media were even a thought. Okay, Star Trek had communicators, but that's the closest thing there was to a cell phone unless you count walkie talkies. Nor could you take a photo and upload it in seconds so hundreds of others could see it.
Society was different back then too. I don't know exactly when it became "cool" to be mean. I see it all the time on reality shows, and even on entertainment shows, if you can call them that. Used to be entertainment news was just that--news on upcoming movies, tv shows and music. Now it's a nasty mix of gossip and criticism. Is it any wonder the kids of today think it's okay to be mean. It's what they see every day.
Please, thank you, and basic manners seem to be a thing of the past. And having respect for others seems to have become a lost art. I've never understood why everyone can't just get along. Call me naive, but I'd rather be that than jaded.
The last few years have been filled with news stories about people, especially teens, who have commited suicide because they can't deal with the pressure of bullying any longer. That is so sad it makes my heart weep. This bullying is no longer limited to school, but spills over into all aspects of life thanks to social media. This can not go on. There needs to be a dialogue between parents and children, between all members of society, that teaches tolerance.
We need to celebrate our uniqueness and differences. I don't want to live in a society where everyone looks and acts the same or has the same set of beliefs. How boring would that be. As long as a person isn't hurting another, there is nothing wrong with being different.
As for the ones doing the bulling...I feel sorry for them. You only feel the need to bully others when you have no self-confidence or sense of self worth. Those kids need help too. They're only acting as they've been taught.
This is not a school problem, but a society problem. And, unfortunately, I fear more kids will die before we figure out how to fix it.
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*Each authors’ opinions on bullying are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of all participating.