Bullying must stop

IT was a story that caught the attention of the world.

A recent viral video of an 11-year-old in tears because he was bullied at school. It was a heartfelt message which grabbed the attention of millions, including celebrities who quickly denounced bullying and sent him countless personal messages and invitations.

On that day persons came together and many persons shared their own experiences of being bullied. Just about 24 hours later this all came crashing down when a photo of his mother holding a Confederate flag was discovered. As she put it, one day they were heroes, the next day they were hated.
While the outcome was not favourable, we can only hope that persons remember the feeling of outrage when they saw the vulnerability of this boy expressing his pain on that video.

The reality is, many children are in turmoil and are hiding it even better than some adults.

We have heard of persons taking their lives, but outside of that, this writer would argue that young people are engaging in other harmful practices to escape bullying or to raise their self-esteem by trying to impress others.

Social media is an amazing tool which keeps us connected, but it can come with a very heavy price tag. There is a need to be perfect, even though those from the other older generation have all been told and accept that nobody’s perfect.

They see photoshopped images, persons looking like they have the perfect life and those looking on don’t feel like they can reach this unrealistic standard of beauty.

Additionally, there is a group of very unhappy persons on the social media, aptly referred to as trolls.

In fact a recent documentary showed one man admitting that he went into body building chatrooms and viciously criticised the persons in the group until they asked him to sow his face. It was later revealed that the man sitting behind the computer was 500 lbs, with a low self-esteem who was trying to bring others down. Instead of laughing and pointing, as he thought they would, the group took it upon themselves to help him on his weight loss journey, which he accomplished.

The reality is that the majority of the time, persons who are bullies are unhappy with themselves. The question is how do we get persons being bullied to understand that fact and act accordingly?

Firstly we need to start in the homes. Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children that it is not right to make fun of another person’s differences or perceived weaknesses?

Do we ask our children how was their day at school and actually listen to what they have to say, and as weird as it sounds, listen to what they don’t say?

Additionally, we have to get the children where they spend most of their waking hours during the day.

Our schools, though carrying the pressure of so much already, will be tasked to keep anti-bullying programmes running. Additionally, we must ensure that children are not afraid to come to the teachers when they have a problem. Children who are caught bullying, also ought to be dealt with swiftly. Afterall, they may have some underlying problems which they are acting out at school.

It’s horrific when an adult takes their life, but a child committing suicide is simply heart wrenching. Let’s seek to tackle this cancer before it truly hits home.

Barbados Advocate

Mailing Address:
Advocate Publishers (2000) Inc
Fontabelle, St. Michael, Barbados

Phone: (246) 467-2000
Fax: (246) 434-2020 / (246) 434-1000