Cyber-Bullying and Bullying Prevention

The following is a guest post by Brittney Knight, StS intern and GMU undergraduate student.

With the age of the internet, bullying has risen. Many teens are now faced with hate, anonymous or not. Amanda Todd was one of those teens until she took her life. Amanda was  in 7th grade when she was convinced by a random guy on the internet to show her breasts to him. She was too young to understand the severity for her actions and the person kept the picture. This would come to haunt her in the coming year. For this small mistake her classmates, to the point she was told to kill herself because no one wanted her around, bullied Amanda.  This year she made a video with flashcards that explained her story. In October 2012, Amanda Todd took her life at 15.

This sad story does not end here. Even after her death, people are still bullying Amanda. There are words of hatred saying she deserved the hate and deserved to die. They are saying her story doesn’t deserve media attention, because she is a Caucasian girl and she made a “bad decision.” Regardless of her situation, her race or what she did in the past, nothing warrants the tragedy of suicide or malicious words. It is the words people are still saying that drove this girl to low self-esteem and to the point where she could no longer live with herself.

So how do we fix this? Who do we hold responsible for the suicides that occur from bullying? It’s not an easy answer. In my honest opinion, the children who bullied are responsible. Many times children and teens say things that are harsh and cause others to question their worth and they do this without thinking of the repercussions. Most of the time there are no real repercussions which allow teens to continue to bully with no fear. If we (responsible adults, compassionate people) don’t hold bullies for partial fault, when will they learn the repercussions of their words on others? We need to work on implementing more anti-bullying activities and events in school because these issues in hand with the growth of internet has increased the suicide rate.

Teens already have it hard enough growing up through puberty, we do not need to add bullying into the mix. Programs like No Bully, provide schools with the training to take on bullying in the schools. The program has four levels for teachers to learn how to handle bullying including Prevent & Interrupt, Refer to a Solution Coach, Hold a Solution Team and Support with Solution Coach, and finally Implement an Empathy-Building Action Plan. The program targets human’s innate habit of coming together as a group and showing the impact peer bullying has. They work toward the source of bullying by understanding most teens bully not because they lack empathy but rather have issues they are dealing with. This wonderful program works to better the lives of all students involved, not just the bullied.

In conjugation with anti-bullying techniques, we all need to open our hearts and keep our own harsh judgments in our heads instead of projecting them onto somebody else. Maybe this way we could live in this world with more peace and less suicide. No matter how you feel about a person, whether you think them a “whore” or not, there is no reason Amanda Todd should have took her life in October. She did not deserve to die for any reason and as soon as people grow up and realize that words have an impact, then the suicide rate will drop. People will want to live! Let’s raise our children in a world where peace is a real possibility.

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Note from our Blog Editor, Sheila M:

If you or anyone you know is having a difficult time coping with any situation do not hesitate to reach out for help. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) to talk with a friend. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and SuicideHotlines.com are easy and helpful online resources for help in your area.  If you are a George Mason University student, remember our on-campus counselling services, CAPS. You can drop in and it is free. There are many wonderful resources dedicated to your quality of life and happiness.

Comments

4 Comments on Cyber-Bullying and Bullying Prevention

  1. Maggie on Tue, 27th Nov 2012 10:35 am
  2. Hi, I am a high school student. I am doing a health project and my topic is cyberbullying. I was wondering if you could give me any tips or information on small things I could do to prevent cyberbullying as an individual.

  3. Amber on Tue, 27th Nov 2012 8:25 pm
  4. Cyber bullying is a growing problem for everyone, it can create a lasting effect on a person’s life, and others will lead to suicide. We should educate our children about this before its too late. My daughters are becoming more adept when it comes to social networking websites. So I reminded them to secure their personal information and never do anything that could be use against them. And as a parent, we should be vigilant with their activities and we should be the first one to ensure their safety. Thanks to this application that I recently signed up I can make sure that my family is fully protected. Please do check this out to also protect your family form all types of harms. Just simply type in the word safekidzone to your desired browser and add .com to know more about their service.

  5. Brittney on Thu, 29th Nov 2012 7:54 am
  6. Maggie, thank you very much for your question. It’s a good one! As an individual, you can stand up against bullying by not encouraging or laughing at the bully. A lot of the times, a bully will continue to be harmful because it makes them feel cool because people are reacting positively. Let the bully know that harming someone else is cruel and not cool. If we don’t encourage the behavior, it is likely to stop. Another way with cyberbullying and you as the victim, is to not respond. If someone leaves you hate on a website, do not retaliate, do not answer. Bullies bully because they get a raise out of you. If they continue to bully you, block them. Remove yourself from the site if you have to.

    One of the best ways to help stop bullying is to not bully yourself. Sometimes we get caught up in everyday life and we don’t like someone so we’ll say mean things without even thinking about it. Even if someone is being mean to you or a friend, you should not return fire. A lot of the times, a person bullies because they are having struggles of their own. So maybe instead of getting offended and possibly returning insults, try to talk to the person. Tell them you don’t appreciate the mean words they say to others or yourself and they should think before they talk next time. Always let a teacher/parent/an adult know what is going on, so they can work with the bully to reach the root of the problem. Instead of hating the bully, we must work to fix the situations for everyone involved.

  7. Sheila M on Thu, 29th Nov 2012 1:09 pm
  8. I definitely agree with Brittney when she says we need to take personal responsibility to not become bullies ourselves, and try to understand our actions of why we might feel inclined to be rude, mean, hurtful toward someone–even in the smallest of occasions. It is important to take situations slowly to remember empathy, and the more times we do this, the easier being empathetic becomes. Here’s a link from PBS.org providing solutions for parents if their child has been caught bullying:

    http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/going-to-school/social/what-to-do-when-your-child-is-a-bully/






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