When I was growing up in the late 80’s and all of the 90’s, bullying was merely a way of life and a right of passage in becoming a strong man. You’d come home and profess that you had a “bully” and your parents would respond with “Well, that tends to happen, kiddo.”
However, back in those day, the bullying ended in the afternoon when it was time to leave school for the day and get on with your social life. Nowadays though, bullying is an unending episode of the twilight zone that can follow you home and take over your online life as well.
Cyberbullying has become an epidemic in the 21st century and caused numerous innocent children to take their life and you really can’t blame them because even the strongest of us can’t deal with mental torture all the time.
In Texas, the schools are warning parents about a new “game” on Snapchat in which one child will send the letter “X” to a friend, then said friend will choose someone at random (or someone they particularly despise) for everyone in their inner circle to ridicule and torment. This is now happening across America, but Texas is the first to warn against it.
You’re probably asking yourself why Snapchat and why not Twitter or Facebook. First of all, Snapchat is the most popular social media outlet with school kids today because it’s new and exciting. The biggest reason is evidence, because with Snapchat you don’t have to delete your posts as they automatically disappear after 24 hours.
The most obvious solution to a cyberbullying problem on the video sharing service would be to simply stop using the service altogether, but that is not an option for teenagers. Being a part of something that is detrimental to your social life is better than having no social life at all.
This Snapchat “game” is scary to me as a parent because I already have to grill my daughter for information at age ten and I can’t imagine when she becomes a teenager. The majority of teenage suicides are a complete shock to the parents and they always state they had no idea of the bullying.
Texas is ahead of the curve for good reason
Unlike most other states, Texas has laws in place that require each and every school to have anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies in place. This law was put into effect in 2011 and has included cyber-bullying since its conception.
This year, the lone star state instituted a law that deems any cyberbullying resulting in suicide a crime. I think this should be implemented in every state because kids are fragile and driving them to taking their own life is a form of personal terrorism.
The law is titled “David’s Law” after David Molak who sadly took his own life in January of 2016 after months of online bullying that continued even after he switched schools. It was deemed a case of harassment and not a single person was held accountable or charged.
There is no solution, but perhaps some prevention
Just like we can’t cure cancer but we can try to prevent it, there is a potential precaution to cyber-bullying. We all teach our kids about “stranger danger” so perhaps now we need to prepare them for the dangers of bullying too.
We need to do this to not only prepare them for being the victim, but maybe to stop bullies before they are created. Also, the dangers of social media should be discussed because it is no secret that some of the vilest people on Earth thrive online so it’s a good idea to let our children know.
If you know anyone that may be a potential victim of bullying, click here for some help.
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