Bullying has been in the media a lot lately, with so many teens taking their lives because of it. I was bullied as a child and it hurt and affected me greatly until I was an adult, so I can relate to this kids to a point, but in reality, these children had it much, much worse.
Imagine everytime your phone alerted you to a text, that it was someone wanting to say something mean and nasty to you, going so far as to say they wish you would just die already. Imagine everytime you logged onto your Facebook, or your MySpace, you saw messages from co-workers calling you awful names. Calling you a slut, a whore, a piece of shit that should just die, a faggot, a lesbian. After reading these wall posts or messages, and recieving these texts, you log onto yahoo to talk to your actual friends, and then are bombarded with IM's from people who again wish you would just go away. Then, after ALL this, you have to go and face them at work the next day. Maybe, someone took an embarrassing photo or video of you and had passed it on to all your co-workers on top of all the harrassment. As an adult, this would be hard to handle. I don't know how I would react in this situation. Now, imagine all this happening to you when you were a hormonal teenager.
Today's tweens and teens have to deal with so many different aspects of bullying that we as children never had to experience. A child can be bullied quite literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week between school and internet and cell phone. There has been such a wide jump in technology from when we were children to now, I think sometimes as parents, we don't realize that by blessing our children with fancy cell phones and internet access, we're also opening them up to potentially becoming victims. Sure, we're aware of internet pedophiles and accidental access to porn sites, but how many of us actually stop to see what other children are saying to our children. Better yet, how many of us are checking to see what OUR OWN children are saying to ANOTHER child.
Bullies have parents too, and often times those parents are clueless to what they're children are doing, and in some cases the parents ARE aware, and are helping their child bully another as was the case with Megan Meier. The mother of a girl who picked on Megan, made a fake MySpace account, pretending to be a boy who wooed and then suddenly turned on Megan, who then hung herself. Yes, the MOTHER and the mother's assistant played with this childs heart and emotions. She participated, knowingly and willingly in this abuse and the child DIED.
My heart breaks when I read another story of another child taking their own lives because they feel like they have no other option. It worries me even more when I hear so many dismissive comments from people who think this is all normal.
We all need to realize that today's kids really DO have it much worse than we did as a children when it comes to bullying. This isn't some bleeding heart liberal reteric I'm spewing. If we all just stop and think about how different the lives the kids lead now in general and then apply it to bullying, you can see how it's different.
About a year ago a young boy somehow got my number and harrassed me on my cell phone for a few days. He didn't say anything really bad. Used some curse words and things like that. At first, I thought it was funny, then it became tedious, and then I got angry. The angrier I got, the more gleeful he became. It got to the point where the sound of my phone ringing made me nervous. I became jumpy. I felt helpless because he always hid his number so I couldn't call back. I didn't know who he was and why he was picking on me of all people and I'm an adult. I can't even imagine how much worse I would feel if I was a teen and I KNEW who was harrassing me and then I had to face them at school the next day.
If we all work together, maybe we can change this horrible trend. It's going to take us as adults, parents especially to make this stop.