Let’s Talk About It
December 24, 2013
By Noela Lu
Bullying: Do we even know what it is?
A threatening note placed in a locker, a taunting remark in the hallway, a misguided rumor. Bullying has become a pressing issue in schools nationwide, affecting kids as young as 6 years old, and often has played the role of catalyst in teenage suicides and self-harm.
If bullying is such an important concern, why are 50 percent of bullying incidents not reported? The first step to lowering this statistic is to understand what bullying truly means. To put it simply, bullying occurs when one person or group uses superiority or aggression to exploit the weaknesses and flaws of another. This exploitation of others is seen everywhere, from elementary schools through high schools.
According to www.america.edu, 15 percent of elementary school students (including bullies and their victims) are involved in bullying at their respective schools. In these primary schools, bullies take the form of playground kings and queens. They’re the people who don’t let you get on a swing, the people who exclude you from every tetherball game, the people who tell you that you have to jump-rope somewhere else because that spot is “taken.” Elementary school bullying capitalizes around the idea of exclusion, most commonly displayed in sports-related activities.
During middle school and high school, the tactics of bullying changes as social media becomes a bigger part of our lives; we eat and drink gossip. It’s this dependency that allows bullying to rear its ugly head in the form of cyberbullying and rumors. As we get older, the repercussions of bullying become more immediate and have the potential to lead to fatal events. An alarming 7.4 percent of students ages 12-18 who were cyberbullied — approximately 521,000 students — reported bringing weapons to school as retaliation.
Bullying doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. We don’t want to ponder the idea that the age of innocence might not be so pure after all, or that maybe we, sometime in our lives, have tried to expose another person’s flaws for our own personal gain. Bullying has a wide spectrum of repercussions, but the overarching conclusion is that this exploitation of others leads to a manifold of insecurities and decreases people’s self-assurance.
It’s not easy to spot bullying, but when you do, you should do something about the situation, because everyone deserves the right to be confident in himself or herself.
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