The tragedy of bullying

Teen and cyber bullying

Teen and cyber bullying

Sometimes it is not so easy being a kid. After all teenage kids are experiencing many changes in their life and are prone to act out or to feel depressed. Kids are supposed to be kids and should be enjoying their life and establishing friendships and developing as individuals with hopes and dreams. The sad reality however is that some kids are vulnerable for various reasons and they are prone to a growing phenomenon that is becoming all too familiar and can result in tragic outcomes.

We all have experienced being teased at some point in our youth and for most of us it was just a part of growing up and we dealt with it and handled it. Usually it is not that bad and is usually just name calling. Although for sensitive kids it can be a bit intimidating and if we are not prepared to stand up for ourselves it can get a little out of control and go beyond just innocent name calling. The ones who usually instigate the trouble are referred to as bullies and they can be a real threat to a kid who is not able to defend themselves. Usually the best way to handle someone who is a bully is to try not to react to their name calling. It is always best to be mature and level headed and just walk away. If they are just name calling then it is easy to just tune them out. The real concern though is if they become persistent and eventually threaten violence.

No one knows for sure why a kid would resort to bullying. They may not be a bad kid at all but they feel the need for attention because they are not feeling loved at home or they are the subject of abuse and they take out their frustrations on kids they feel they can intimidate. We just can not always know what causes this type of behavior but we need to address it and help all affected by this growing and alarming phenomenon.

Lets face it, there are all types of kids out there and they are all different in so many ways. When you add to this the fact that they are experiencing puberty and are going through the physical changes it can exacerbate the problem. Troubled kids tend to be loners and have few friends. They usually just keep to themselves and pretty much fall below the radar. Not many people can reach these kids and they tend to get into trouble and are disrespectful and act out. When they are still young there is a fighting chance that someone can help to get through to them and help them turn their life around. If they are not able to get the proper help they need and they stay on the path of self destruction then they are looking at the possibility of living a troubled life which would be a societal problem.

It is very important to impress upon our kids that they should always be respectful, be responsible, be mature and always think before they act. The kids of today are exposed to too much too soon and the result is they are forced to grow up far too soon. It is the world we live in today and the explosion of the internet and the household use of the computer that has brought us virtually anything we wish to our fingertips. We are able to view just about anything today and without the proper controls put in place it can be very damaging. Parents must constantly find ways to monitor their children without offending them. It is a real tight wire we walk today.

With the advent of social networks like facebook, myspace and twitter it is so easy to spread news or rumors that may not even be true that can have devastating effects on sensitive and shy kids. This act of initiating threats and "name calling" in cyber space is a new form of bullying which is far more severe and has contributed to a growing number of tragic outcomes that have made the headlines. Cyber bullying is a very real problem today because it is far reaching and the bullying can be constant and endless and if taken too far can result in a child who falls victim to it a sense of hopelessness and and a feeling of entrapment where they feel their only escape is suicide.

One such case where suicide was the tragic outcome was the cyber bullying of Phoebe Prince, an Irish girl who moved to the states from her native Ireland with her family. They moved to Massachusetts where she attended school and was initially teased because she was a very attractive young girl. The teasing eventually went too far and when it went cyber it became relentless and ultimately led to her untimely death. It is so hard to grasp why kids can be so cruel in their actions and their words and to do it with such persistence to really hurt someone. It would be assumed that they did not intend for such a tragic outcome but if they knew how much this was hurting the poor girl why could they just stop doing it. The problem is that when something gets spread on the internet there is no undoing it and that is a major problem I see with these social networks. They are contributing to the loss of privacy as eveyone's life is becoming an open book and anything can be said whether it is true or not.

It is a very real problem for vulnerable kids who are attacked in this way and they must not feel alone. They need to know that they can talk to someone and can disconnect their computer. They must be able to communicate their feelings and not get trapped by these cyber bullies and predators. Parents really must step up and find out everything that is going on with their kids and they must learn to know how to cue in on the potential warning signs of bullying.

The list of tragedies attributed to teen bullying and cyber bullying are endless and if you went on youtube and searched for this subject you would see the growing and very disturbing trend that is claiming more young kids each and every day. We all have to take responsibility and find ways to prevent this and if we have young kids we must make sure they are not pushing the boundaries with their internet experiences. These social networks also must be stricter in their policies and enforcement with respect to cyber bullying. We all must take a stand to avoid these senseless and very tragic deaths. These kids who are the victims must be heard and given the proper care they need and they must be reassured that things will be ok.

We must educate our children on the dangers of the internet and teach them how to be smart about it and to always use proper judgement in using the social network which is becoming a way of life for all of us.

I am sad for all these young kids who died because they felt trapped and their only way to escape their pain and conflict was suicide. This was not how it was supposed to be! I can't help but cry as I watch these videos of these beautiful kids who were innocently living their lives and were picked on and eventually pushed over the edge by those who did not think or care about the pain they inflicted. It is devastating and should teach us all a very important lesson. God Bless these precious angels for they are now in a better place free of the torment.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Phoebe Prince - Cyber Bullying

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