Facts about Bullying

Bullying is defined as to “Seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce someone who is perceived to be vulnerable.” In the United States, 1 in 3 students say that they have been bullied during school. People have begun to take it less seriously, with children and teens who are being bullied often ignored or brushed off. There seems to be a stigma surrounding bullying that if a student cannot handle things on their own, they are weak, sensitive, etc. While schools have been cracking down on bullying situations, students simply don’t care enough. When they get to a certain age, kids become more closed off and insecure, talking behind each others’ back instead of being direct which ultimately leads to bullying. Teens don’t seem to recognize when a joke has gone too far and it gets out of hand when they don’t know when to stop. At this age, all many students want is to be likable and they are willing to gain the favor of the majority at the expense of someone else. Even though teasing is appropriate in the right situation, it seems like teens have become uninterested in normal jokes and so, progressively, things become more intense, trying to top the last thing that was said, spiraling into something entirely different and cruel.

In many schools, there is some type of bullying, whether it be direct or indirect, physical or emotional. Since technology has advanced, bullying now occurs everywhere and it becomes harder to ignore. Cyberbullying is glossed over nowadays as the internet has become a place of debate and insults, a free platform for harassment. At least when people pick on you at school, you get to go home and take a break from all the stress, even for a little while. But with things that go online, anywhere you go, your phone follows and you are constantly being reminded as to what people think of you and the mean comments they may make. Although people do get in trouble on occasion for the things they say online, teens usually feel freer to say whatever they want. It is so much harder to stare someone in the face and say awful things unless you have very low empathy, but when you don’t have to watch the way it affects them, it becomes a lot easier.

We live in a country where there is freedom of speech, but when you’re in an environment where people are supposed to feel safe and welcome, like a school, it is just unacceptable to act this way. Everyone is allowed to joke around and such, but there needs to be some sort of boundaries, and this can get really difficult when setting them. Everyone says things they don’t really mean, everyone gets caught up in the moment, and everyone does things that they regret. The key is to recognize these things and be able to admit you’re wrong. Of course, it can be difficult or embarrassing, but the things we say and do can have a serious effect on other people. People are so much more likely to hold onto something rude or awful that you said or did than make fun of you for apologizing for those actions. All of your actions and decisions build up your character and you have the free will to make whatever choices you please, but take into consideration the person you will become and the effect it will have on the world and people around you.