Physical and Verbal Harassment: Cyber Bullying in Modern Schools
The Changing Dynamics of School Environment
In the last few years, the school has changed a lot regarding kids. Kids used to go to school with good self-esteem and good behavior. Nowadays, students are going to school scared, and a lot of them skip classes because of the bullying that is recently happening. Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. There are three different types of bullying, which are: verbal, social, and physical bullying. It has brought a lot of controversy mainly due to tragic events. Another issue that is happening in schools regarding bullying is that students are using their cell phones to record fights between students to spread the violence that some of the bullies put them through. It got to the point that police officers had to get involved. They have to go to schools and confiscate student’s cellphones to delete the videos and pictures that they have uploaded to the Internet.
The Grave Impact of Bullying
It is hard to accept that kids are rude and mean to their classmates. Bullying could be equal to committing murder because it pushes people even to commit Suicide: “Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under 14. In most cases, young people die from hanging; since 2002, at least 15 schoolchildren ages 11 to 14 have committed Suicide in Massachusetts” (Valencia). As days pass, schools are paying more attention and are making more support programs. Manners start at home. Kids need to be taught not to bully and how to handle a situation if they are being bullied. Parents need to be more proactive; it’s not only up to the school.
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Carlos’s Tale: An Insider View of Bullying
Kids have come up with different kinds of bullying, such as verbal bullying, which include name-calling, sexual comments, taunting, and threatening to cause harm. For instance, I interviewed Carlos Cruz, a friend of mine, about bullying. I asked Carlos if he had ever been a bully or been a victim of bullying. He answered, “When I was in my first year in high school, the senior guys used to bully me by threatening me.” I asked him, “How did they use to threaten you?” “They used to say they were going to beat me up when I got out of school if I didn’t give them my lunch money.” “Can you tell me everything about your freshman year getting bullying by seniors?” Carlos answered, “I remember that I was getting bullying because I was new in high school.
Also, I guess it was because I was short and skinny, and I couldn’t defend myself from them. They used to call me names like Palillo or Enano, but they never touched me. Almost all the time, there were a lot of people around me watching what those guys used to do to me, but nobody did anything about it. Finally, I became a sophomore, and those seniors graduated. After all of that, the ones that were getting bullied were the new freshmen by the new seniors. Just as everyone stood and watched me get bullied, I stood and watched the freshmen get bullied.”
At the end of the interview, I realized that Carlos was part of the bullying the seniors were committing without him knowing it. The reason why he was part of the bullying was because Carlos never did anything to prevent the freshmen from getting bullied. Kids will continue to get bullied if other kids who can do something about it don’t get informed on how to deal with the situation.
Social Acceptance and Hidden Truths
Over time people have started to hide things to be accepted in society and not be rejected. In the book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, one of the characters, Patrick, is a homosexual. Patrick had this special bond with a football player named Brad. Brad is much known throughout the school, especially since he is a quarterback. The only thing is that he is a hidden homosexual. His father would not forgive him if he ever found out.
When his father did find out about Brad and Patrick, Brad’s father left him a black and blue on his eye. Brad abused drugs and alcohol as an excuse to do things sexually with Patrick. Even when he stops abusing drugs and alcohol, he still wants to keep his relationship with Patrick a secret. Brad doesn’t want to get bullied, so he keeps Patrick a secret. Brad is also dating a cheerleader named Nancy, using her as a cover to hide that Brad is gay. Eventually, Brad and Patrick break up and get into a fight. The fight initially started because Brad called Patrick a ‘Faggot.’
‘That was the night he threw rocks at Patrick’s window and told Patrick nobody could know, and Patrick understood. They only see each other at night on golf courses and at parties like Bob’s, where the people are quiet and understand these things. I asked Patrick if he felt sad that he had to keep it a secret, and Patrick just said that he wasn’t sad because at least now, Brad doesn’t have to get drunk or stoned to make love’. This is a clear example of how people hide their sexual preferences or tastes because they do not want to be rejected, humiliated, or harassed by the other people around them, who do not accept and do not respect that a person could have a different sexual orientation.
The second type is social bullying, which involves hurting someone’s relationships or reputation. This can be shown by making someone feel left out, spreading rumors, embarrassing someone, and telling other children not to be friends with someone. A new way of bullying is cyberbullying, which is being verbally abused, recorded being abused, and taunted through the Internet. Before, kids used to be picked on the playground, but only those who were there were witnesses. Now, people record other people being bullied and continue the bullying through the Internet.
An example of social bullying is the case of Amanda Todd. She started to be bullied in seventh grade. It all started with her using a webcam with a stranger who asked her to flash in front of the camera. She was just trying to make friends and meet new people. A year later, the stranger started to blackmail by using Amanda’s picture when she flashed her chest. He wanted her to make a private show for him; she refused, and that’s when Amanda’s nightmare began. Terrifyingly, the stranger knew everything about her: her address, school, friends, relatives, and the names of her family members. Soon, her naked photo had been forwarded ‘to everyone.’ Amanda tried to leave everything behind by changing schools, friends, and cities. It was a hard moment for her because her past didn’t stop following her. Todd tried to restart her life several times, but the 32-year-old man did not stop all the humiliation in her new life every time. Amanda got to the point that she tried to kill herself, and so she did.
The third and last bullying type is physical bullying, which occurs when a person hits another person. For instance, spitting, tripping, pushing, taking, or breaking someone’s things, and making mean or rude hand gestures. Most parents are not aware when their children are being bullied or don’t know how to deal with that situation. Bullying depends on what grade the kids are in. Parents react differently when kids get bullied. Some parents tell kids to fight the bully back or tell a teacher. Kids get even more bullied when they tell a teacher. “Most kids know what bullying is. It’s being mean and hurtful toward someone else, often when that person has trouble defending him or herself”.
Instead of parents encouraging their kids to fight back, they should find ways to parent a kid who is being bullied or who bullies. There are different ways that a parent can get involved: “Make clear family rules about what bullying is and that any form of bullying is not acceptable. Explain what the consequences will be if anyone bullies, and make sure that you follow through on the consequences every time the rule is broken. Rules and consequences should not be too lax or too harsh”. By doing that, kids are going to be scared of committing any type of bullying. This can also help children how to prevent other kids from being bullied. In a case where a kid learns about the subject, if he or she has a friend who bullies could teach him right from wrong.
There is no separation of kids who bully and who are being bullied. Bullies can bully other bullies. One way bully starts is when some have experienced getting bullied or treated unfairly by others or family members. No kid is saved from being bullied if they find a reason to or if the kid is different from everyone else. That’s sad, but it’s no excuse. Everyone can choose to act in new and better ways. It’s never too late.
Another way for parents to prevent bullying is “Help children and teens learn to empathize with others by asking them to think about how someone else might feel about being bullied. It also may help to encourage them to do kind things for others, including those they don’t know well” (“Bullying Statistics”). This helps kids understand how other kids think and how they feel. When parents teach empathy at home, it makes teachers’ jobs at school much easier. Nowadays teachers have to teach kids at school what parents don’t teach at home, such as being polite or respecting others.
Bullying can become a circle that, if it does not break on time, can bring unfortunate consequences. If parents were more proactive at home and wouldn’t leave everything to the school, less bullying would take place. Also, if parents take more care in monitoring their kid’s technology usage, cyberbullying would decrease. The programs that schools are developing would never be enough if the parents were not doing anything to support the anti-bullying program. Actions need to take place in order to prevent what happened to Amanda Todd.
- Chbosky, S. (1999). The Perks of Being a Wallflower.