Bullying is an issue that is very close to my heart. Beginning at age 12, I was verbally and physically bullied by the other kids in my school. This led to constant feelings of fear and worthlessness, which really messed up my life until I decided, at age 15, that enough was enough. After a girl accused me of purposefully running into her, I decided to stand up for myself and fight back. I yelled at the girl, and she actually apologized to me.
Unfortunately, some kids aren’t strong enough to fight back. After many years of depleted self-esteem, many feel that they no longer have a voice, and thanks to the Internet, the issue of bullying has become more serious than ever before. Many states now have anti-bullying laws, and parents and teachers everywhere are beginning to see that this isn’t something we can tolerate.
Modern-Day Bullies: A Crueler Breed
It used to be that bullying simply involved pushing someone down in the hallway or laughing at them for wearing the wrong shirt, but today’s bullies seem to have a greater lust for cruelty. Cyber-bullies will use many tactics to take down their victims, from setting up mock social-media profiles to using the web to spread nasty rumors. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the anonymity that is possible on the Internet makes it much harder to catch these bullies in the act. Some tech-savvy bullies will even go so far as to use IP blockers to conceal their location and identity.
The Horrific Consequences of Bullying
Bullying is not something that we can or should ignore. Not only does it have the potential to bring devastation to a teen’s current social life, but it can also ruin his or her future as well. Many bullied teens fall into depression, refuse to go to school, or if they do go, they have difficulty focusing on their assignments. This can ruin the chance of getting into a good college, let alone any chance of having a positive high-school experience. The life of a bullied teen often becomes nothing more than an attempt to survive, and many of them become so drained that they no longer have the motivation to even bother.
Deciding What Should Be Done
If your teen is being bullied or you suspect that he or she is bullying others, it’s very important to take the issue seriously. Communication is the first and most important step. Each situation is unique, and it’s important that you, your teen’s teachers and the school administration all work together to get past the problem. Bullying is an issue that our society faces as a whole, and until we get to the root of why our children feel the need to use cruelty as a means of making themselves feel better, we are going to have to actively work to put a stop to it.