One simple word, with huge impact-BULLYING.

Bullying. It's been around since the old times. There's the school bully that gives you wedgies and takes your lunch money, there's that jerk with their group of friends, there's that catty girl that spreads gossip about him or or her doing this with him or her. But really, how far does the problem go? To what extent does it go to?

If you live in North America, specifically Canada like I do, I reckon that you've heard of Amanda Todd-a 15 year old girl that made the mistake of showing intimate parts of herself online. I won't go into detail, but she did make more mistakes after that, all not very pretty mistakes. But the shocking part was the bullying. She explains it in detail in her video. Being called a slut. Being called a whore. Being physically bullied-being beaten and battered until she was just laying on the ground, sobbing. Yes, what she did was not the right thing, and she could've done better-but the bullying these people did to her ended up in suicide as a way out of her pain.

As a teenager, I see bullying going on EVERY DAY in my school. There's a particularly large kid in our school-no names being told-and he's bullied everyday. There was this one, sick joke that someone told me- (What's red, white, and has more calories than a McFlurry? (Blank) in a blender!" I now realize that I should have stood up for him. I should have punched that kid and made him regret everything he ever said. But I just stood there, unsure of what to do. I am ashamed of this. I am very, very ashamed. The bullied kid later committed suicide. And I could have prevented it. Anybody could have. But nobody wanted to. And this is in honor of him.

People never realize how much their actions hurt other people. Even if it's just a snicker from afar or pointing. Even if it's just tripping them consistently, even if it's just calling them names, even if they're not doing anything physical to you-it really does hurt. Words hurt. In fact, sometimes they kill. I was called 'Pus Face' in grade four for my acne. That sticks with me everywhere I go, even today. In schools, kids don't realize because they are immature. But that's not an excuse. We NEED to instill it in our minds that bullying DOES happen, that it DOES lead to depression, that it DOES lead to addiction, that it DOES lead to cutting, that it can even eventually lead to suicide. Don't underestimate the power of bullying.

There's a song I dedicate to the kid I could have saved once-Nothing To Lose, by Billy Talent. Because we all have something to lose. Please spread the awareness on bullying.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYAWtJXU1To

-Kirsten

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4 Comments

  • Maybe the teachers are not doing enough about it when informed. Stricter penalties for bullies. How about three trikes and you're out!

  • The problem is the word "bullying" has a passive tone; it's not taken seriously. It is harassment (juvenile harassment) and at that magnitude it changes the perception and it means something else while the problem is the same. Stricter penalties for juvenile harassment should be enforced and it also depends on the authority figures, they need to be more attentive to a child seeking help.

  • Like you wrote at the beginning, the idea that most people have when they hear the word "bully" is the big mean kid who takes your lunch money. What's wrong here is the attitude that the kids have. It's important for the schools not only to punish the, in search for a better word, "bullies", but to also encourage the kids to stick up for each other. If a child who is being bullied has close friends, it won't affect him or her as much as it would if that child was alone. If kids realize how much they could change a life, maybe even save a life, just by reaching out, they probably would.

  • Although people do not believe this is a big enough concern, it is merely because they are lacking perspective. Perspective into how it affects the person receiving the words, and the one releasing them. Bullying hurts both parties. Often times, in fact, the individual bullying is deeply hurt internally themselves, and are only finding a way to project their anger. No one is winning when bullying is concerned.
    Bullying in grade school, during the time when people seriously develop their social skills, and other moral and ethical codes, can be extremely detrimental.
    Bullying undeniably contributes to depression and suicide, and when one idly assuming the position as a bystander and passive onlooker, they immediately place themselves as an perpetrator to the problem.

    These "harmless bullies" are only harmless when you or someone you love is not in their cross-hairs. This is a problem.

    Take into account the perspective of how these children and young adults act when they bully another person. They are making another person feel inferior or insecure about an aspect of themselves, or their lives over which they do not often have much control. For instance, socioeconomic status and all things attributed, family-related issues, sexual orientation, and even subjects as archaic as race, are all things used as bullets to pierce to others' core and ignite self-hatred.
    These are all topics adults use to sling at one another in everyday life. Bullies never went anywhere after school. Some chose a different path, while other seem determined to steer clear to the end on their predestined journey.
    These are the same people that are publicly ridiculed, protested in the streets, and forced to sell their companies-- but only when they are in the public eye.
    Now, when bullying occurs on playgrounds and school yards, it is understandably unrealistic to publicly ridicule a child, and impose over-arching punishments.

    However, when a public figure makes such statements we respond with utter shock to their vile behavior, but not so when younger children do it. This apathy towards the negative behavior only breeds more racism, sexism, slurs, and over-all subjugation in the future.

    Bullying is a bigger problem than realized. We need to start extending empathy, not apathy, towards others.

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