We cannot accept as a society that bullying is normal, OK, or acceptable. With bullying on the national radar for quite some time, people are living in a world that seems to be dealing with an epidemic. Children in elementary through high school are interacting in often malicious ways; there also appears to be a huge increase in bullying crossing into adulthood. A big question at this time is how can something like this be so out of control? When exactly did inhabitants of the planet decide to rage a war on one another and what needs to be done from here? Parents and families have to step up and really be aware of how their child may be interacting, getting treated, and experiencing bullying. CNN contributor William J. Bennett talks about the digital age aspects of bullying in his article, “Keep kids safe from cyberbullies.” In it, Bennett explains a rather intriguing concept and that is that “the digital age just may be the new “Wild West” and parents must forge ahead to not settle for defeat.”
Buckfirelaw.com. Student Bullying in the United States Statistics and Facts by Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C.
In a US News article from February 2013, writer Jason Koebler discusses new discoveries that elaborate on the increase in the possibility that a bullied child may grow up to develop mental problems as an adult, more than a child who is not bullied. According to the article, Koebler references a co-author of one study in particular, William Copeland, who says, “Bullying could have as much of a formative impact on a person’s mental health as other traumatic experiences such as child abuse and maltreatment.” Copeland goes further in stating, “I think we need to start viewing the effects of a child’s interactions with their peers the same way we view the family effect on childhood.”
This makes for an interesting revelation. Of course families should know whom their child is hanging around outside of the home but now it may be necessary to fully dissect every interaction with a child and their peers. Inquiring about who their friends are may take a different turn altogether. If this is a necessary step to ensure a well-treated child becomes a functioning adult, then it may just be a solution to explore.
Yes, bullying has been an issue for a long time. Previous generations have treated it as a normal phenomenon, a part of adolescence, or a even rite of passage. At some point however, what once was referred to, “as schoolyard taunts” do not appear to have an age restriction. In a Time.com article, author Allison Berry provides one example of this seen in the 2004 hit movie, Mean Girls. The story illustrates four high school aged girls known as the “Plastics,” and they are portrayed as the “cool girls” of their high school. Throughout the film, they bully everyone around them, even one another. Really, the film features an over the top cast who are ultimately driving home the point that you can’t go through life bullying or harassing people who may be different from the “traditional” ideal of popular. The style of humor in the movie points out the simple ways you can be picking on your own supposed friends and how slight mistreatment can morph into bigger catastrophes. Of course a movie tends to resolve the plot’s issue over the hump of the climax but really the world needs to take a stand in finding our resolution with a quick cinematic pace. Children deserve a chance to love and be loved, and adults are no different either. Childhood should not be a training camp for an unsettled, adulthood.