The Undeniable Truth about “Bullycide”
by: Olivia Clayton
As teenagers grow up, they experience changes like weight, hormonal imbalance, voice pitch, acne and more. With these types of changes, insecurities may grow but just think of the added stress caused if a bully points out these changes. Many parents still consider bullying as a harmless part of growing up. True enough, people may not like how you dress, who you like, or even where you are from but bullying does not have to be a part of the maturing process. Awareness and prevention has become more effective as the world becomes more aware of the consequences of bullying.
Before the World Wide Web, texting and Facebook, bullying was only a student spreading rumors, name-calling, stealing lunch money, or just picking fights. Sadly, all those things continue to happen but now technology has aided the way a bully emotionally abuses their victims. Now the term “cyber bullying”, one of the more common types of bully, refers to teens being bullied via social media websites like Facebook or Twitter by the posting of photos or rumors that can be seen by anyone who has access to a computer.
The ways to bully someone may have changed but the signs of a bullied teen still correlate to signs of depression or withdrawal. Signs of a bullied or troubled teen can be emotional or physical coupled with behavioral changes. Emotional signs are most common with sudden feelings of hopelessness or decreased self-esteem. Some troubled teens use these signs as a last cry for help from anyone who cares by talking about death or express how much better things would be without them. Physical signs are easier to detect first because they are visible. Signs like unexplained bruises or changes in eating patterns. Behavioral changes will always confirm whether a child is considering suicide or becoming depressed. As a child slips into a state of depression they may show lack of interest in favorite activities, avoid any social situation, or begin to act out with drugs or alcohol (stopbullying.gov). The victims of bullying need help but so do the bullies victimizing them. There are several ways to determine whether your child has become a bully: an increase in aggressiveness, worry of reputation and popularity, and unwillingness to accept responsibility for their own actions (stopbullying.gov). Awareness of your child’s behavior and emotional state is the first step in preventing “bullycide”.
No matter what age, one can help prevent bullying. Students who witness bullying and do not report it are just as guilty as the bullies. The best thing is not to engage into the bullying because giving the bully an audience will give them the false sense that what they are doing is right. As an individual it is your decision to set a good example or befriend the victim showing them that someone cares and notices. As a teacher, one is should be available to the student if they are having troubles because open communication can save a student from “bullycide”. With a sense that an adult is willing to help, a victim may come sooner rather than later to report bullying. This also gives peers who may not be victims the option to alert a teacher if something is happened to another student. Parents, just as teachers, should have an open line of communication with their teens. Providing confidence that the bullying is not their fault will reassure a teen that the problem is not with them but with the bully. If the bullying is occurring at school, a parent should contact the administrators to let them know to keep an eye on their student and the bully. As peers, teachers and parents we have the power to save a victim of bullying as well as their bully if we are aware and proactive with bully prevention.
With the media displaying how commonly bullying affects teens, awareness increases. Watching for the signs and openly communicating with teens about the changes that will begin to occur will help. Providing teens with the confidence that they weight change, hormonal urges or acne are all normal stages of growing up, you take away the power of the bully. If they are also aware that there are programs and help for them, the statistics of “bullycide” will begin to fall. “Bullycide” has begun to make its mark on the world but with the prevention programs and treatments set forth we can make it history.