Bullying, once thought only to be a spot of bother is now an endemic; the problem believed to be ‘western’ has, in a matter of years, gone global. Statistics from the Megan Meier Foundation (http://www.meganmeierfoundation.org/statistics.html) indicate that about 64.5% of students surveyed in the National Crime Victimization Survey 2013 were bullied at least once in a school year, an astonishing three in five. The vice in severe cases has escalated up to the point of being a ‘cause of death’. Below, I’d like to briefly outline some causes and probable solutions to wipe out this occurrence.
“Home is where your story begins” – Annie Danielson
Jessica Laney, 16, Pasco County, FL; Joshua Unsworth, 15, Lancanshire, England; Erin Gallagher, 13. Unfortunately, these names are linked by more than just their deceased state. All were taken by the same vice – bullying, more specifically, cyberbullying. The internet is arguably the fastest method of communication. In a second, you can wish your brother in Kano, ‘Happy Birthday’, while sending wedding greetings to a relative in Northampton. Communication however can be as edifying as it is detrimental. While the internet prevails in disseminating useful information, enhancing knowledge, it also succeeds in spreading words that can degrade a being to a ‘thing’, unworthy of life. I believe parents, especially mothers should be more actively involved in the lives of their children. The idea of the ‘career woman’ should not overshadow the ideals meant to be instilled in the next generation. If we want to eradicate the immoral values which culminate in cyber-bullying, it must start from the home.
“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” – Fredrick Nietzsche
Society has stratified people based on several features- weight, popularity, attractiveness and in my side of the world, ‘the extent to which they have blown’. People often buy in to the lie that if someone is different, they are worthless. A typical coming of age movie features a ‘jock’ and a nerd. For years I’ve wondered why the nerd is always the one in glasses, the one who never has friends and ‘coincidentally’, the one being bullied. What many don’t know however is that a child does whatever he sees or hears around it; how else do you think a baby learns to speak. If a child sees the smartest person in class being bullied by the ‘cool’ kids, I honestly don’t see why he would not want to follow suit. After all, within a day of watching Cartoon Network, my little brother wanted to be Ben 10. With shows or movies put out for children, I believe censoring bodies should not just censor explicit content but also content deemed to influence younger viewers negatively. We say the family is the first point of interaction for a child, in a matter of years, I can assure you statistics will read mass media. If we don’t check what is being produced for the grassroots, who will?
“Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children.” – Albert Camus
Many blame bullying solely on the bully. However, sometimes unless you check the flip side of a coin you may never really know its value. In the U.S.A, according to Department of Health and Human Services, about 2 in 5 children in the country received a Child Protective Service response as of 2012. Those were the lucky few. In my country, we don’t have a recognizable body protecting children. As a result, our little brothers and sisters endure unnecessary hardships in the name of ‘tradition’. The abused become abusers, taking their anger out on the few they can overpower, trying to attain the flinting feeling of superiority. Though taking a child away from its parents may be painful, if nothing is done, innocent school goers may end up becoming victims.
In conclusion, bullying, especially at the secondary school level, has already taken the lives of many and is bound to take the lives of many more if some measures are not taken immediately. All parties must be actively involved in order to effectively curb this impropriety, make the students happier and in turn make the society a better place for all. Bill Maher once said, “It’s not that we don’t care–it’s just that that we’d prefer not to get involved.” Let us right that wrong.