This post may contain triggers and adult subject matter.
I can’t remember the first time I hurt myself or the last. I do remember the overwhelming need to feel pain anywhere else than on the inside. The inside I could do nothing about.
There was no “Cyberbullying” when I was in school. I know I sound old but I have had the lucky fortune to experience it as an adult. I have to say that even as an adult I didn’t handle it well. I’m not sure anyone would. Who really wants to hear or read negative things about themselves? In my case I think them about myself most of the time with short windows of manic activity so I suffer enough. For some people (I use that term loosely) it isn’t enough. They can’t tolerate anyone different form them or anyone whose afflictions or differences they can’t comprehend.
If anyone thought when I was younger that I didn’t own a scale or a mirror they were bigger idiots than I thought. BUT as a kind woman once told me at the jewelry factory I worked at when I was 12, “You can still lose weight. They’ll still be ugly.” She meant inside. And even if she didn’t that’s what I took from it. I forgot it at times and was ugly on the inside and always regretted sinking to that level. Most of the time the person doing the bullying is craving attention mostly because they never received it themselves when needed most. It still does not excuse the behavior or make the statistics go down any smoother.
STUDIES AND STATISTICS
The University of Alberta’s Researcher Michele Hamm and her colleagues sifted through recent studies on Cyberbullying and Social Media. Thirty six of the studies specifically researched the link between Health and Cyberbullying in children ages 12-18.
ONE THING FOR CERTAIN, EXPOSURE TO CYBERBULLYING INCREASES THE CHANCES OF DEPRESSION. THE MORE CYBERBULLYING A PERSON SUFFERS THE MORE SEVERE HIS/HER DEPRESSION WILL BECOME.
- Bullied students tend to grow up more socially anxious, have less self-esteem, and require more mental health services throughout life.
- Over 160,000 miss school everyday due to bullying.
- 38% of online girls report being bullied compared to 26% of boys.
- Girls 15-17 are bullied more than any other age group.
Where does the responsibility lie? Parents? Social Media? The School System?
All of the above.
We know that in the time we live in most parents work. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you still manage to make the time needed to talk to your children. If you are just going to work, coming home and putting them to bed, it isn’t enough. Before anyone says it I will. I do not have children, I have nieces and nephews. What I am qualified in is years of torment and suffering at the hands of all kinds of bullies.
Monitor Your Children’s Social Media for Warning Signs
Sites like Tumblr and Instagram have a difficult time controlling the content on their sites. They have tried up to a point. The biggest problem they are up against are self harm, suicide, and pro anorexia sites or content.
The only thing Tumblr and Instagram are able to do is have a message pop up with information on where you can go to learn more or get support for anorexia, self harm, or suicidal thoughts.
But these people are not stupid. They carefully hide their agenda with hashtags and what they think are clever names. I’m only going to give ONE EXAMPLE. I DO NOT WANT TO GIVE ANY OF THESE GROUPS MORE ATTENTION THAN THEY ALREADY RECEIVE.
Instagram has a site/group #sue with 800,000 tagged posts. It serves as a “how to”, “fantasy”, “successful tips”, you name it. There are darker sites for anorexia that have not been monitored.
Everyone has choices in life. Some of the people visiting these sites are not fully formed people yet. Scientists now know that our brains do not reach full maturity until our early 20’s. Except for me because I started drinking heavily at 16/17 and that delays maturity. If a depressed, anxious, teenager with low self esteem visits one of these sites chances are it won’t end well. Their brains are not fully formed, they think what they are going through will never end, that they will forever be the fat/nerdy kid who was picked on. They do not see an alternative to their situation. They don’t know that 10 to 15 years from now most of the same people that picked on them are going to be fat, bald, divorced, have too many kids that they resent, look like they’re happy but are secretly miserable, and were probably miserable back then too. That’s what Reunions are for.
There is another side I feel I have to talk about. If someone has taken their own life, it was their choice. No one has a right to pass judgement on them or their families. Walk a mile. More than half of you wouldn’t make it.
If you need help it is out there. There are people of all ages that have gone through something similar.