How It Affects Us and What Can We Do About It

I do believe that bullying should be considered a hate crime. While a ten year old may think it’s all in fun, they may not realize the irreparable damage they are causing. If the behavior is allowed to continue, they may carry it with them up in to adulthood. By bullying I don’t mean simple picking and playing. The world has changed so much since people my age were children.

We now have ten-year-olds committing suicide due to bullying and irresponsible actions directed at them. We have children in elementary schools telling other children that they should kill themselves. While the responsible adults of the school can’t be everywhere at once, this is a problem that should be dealt with swiftly. I know that some children and teens are afraid or ashamed to speak out or seek help. This doesn’t just happen in schools, it happens on the internet and on the streets as well.

The internet can be a wonderful place with countless sources of information; it is also filled with pedophiles, egotistical males, and trolls. (For those that don’t know, a troll is someone who harasses people online.) With celebrity leaks and snapchats and anonymous chatrooms out there, it can be a dangerous place for impressionable minds. I’m not trying to talk down on the internet, but simply stating facts. I’m not going to victim shame here, so please understand that, but we all have to be responsible enough that we understand anything we send out over the internet can be leaked and shared online.

Everything we do and say, good or bad, has repercussions to it. What you may think is funny may be deadly to the victim. Bullying which leads to suicide is ranked 2nd in the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15-24 which is above homicide (3rd). Some groups such as the LGBTQ community have a higher risk of being bullied than others. This is incredibly tragic for all those involved especially knowing that most of the time, the bully will walk away without a slap on the wrist. While 49 out of 50 states have anti-bullying legislation, bullying itself is not a crime and usually not enforced.

Why do people choose to bully others? Is there a specific reason? I really don’t think so. I think there are multiple factors that play into bullying. Some of these include low self-esteem, ignorance, and fear. If the bully can show how big and bad he is, he doesn’t have to worry about being picked on himself. Sometimes he chooses targets who are different from him based out of ignorance. It can be based on race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

There are some things you can do to stop and prevent bullying. Tell the bully stop in a calm, loud voice, or find a teacher. Walk or ride with a friend. Tell someone that you feel comfortable talking to. Try to joke about it, to throw the bully off. If you see someone getting bullied, intervene. You don’t have to throw a punch, but you can say something to the bully and if that doesn’t work, try going to a teacher or a guardian. Invite the person being bullied to sit with you. If you are being cyber bullied, report it immediately.

While there is no clear way to completely wipe out bullying, hopefully by writing this, I can help you either stop bullying someone, or help you understand that it’s not your fault your being bullied. You are worth more than you will ever know, and more than likely, you will be a lot more successful in future endeavors than the bully ever thought about being. You are a human being just like me, and you have your faults, but it doesn’t make you less of a person. There’s always someone willing to listen (including myself if needed.) 

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