National Breast Cancer Awareness, Domestic Violence Awareness, Stop Cyber-Bullying are just a few of the issues that October stands for. Out of these two of them stick out to me. I thought I would pick one today to touch on since it has been in the news quite a bit these past couple of days, which is this cyber-bullying.
A friend from high school blogged about this a couple months ago and it really got me thinking. Then this week with all of these news stories of these young kids committing suicide due to being bullied, I have thought about this issue even more.
I do agree that today kids are being bullied more than ever. These days there are more outlets to bully someone using email, text messaging, instant messaging, blogs and various social network sites. I started to think about my life and thought that I am glad that I am not a kid in today's times with all this technology. I remember back when I was in I believe third grade it was a big thing to have 6 small Apple computers in the classroom at school, which were used to play games such as Oregon Trail on our lunch breaks. Now days schools have large computer labs for students to use for typing out papers and anything else.
I like probably any other child who grows up in the world, had my share of being bullied or teased. I was pretty chunky for my age, didn't have a whole lot of money, extremely pale skin, not athletic, and had a speech impediment. With all of these issues I was a prone target for being teased. I would come home on a daily basis in grade school in tears because some girl had called me fat or asked me if I was stupid because I couldn't form one sentence with out stumbling over easy words like dog or garden. I didn't want to go to school in times and prayed on the first day of school that some of these kids who picked on me were not going to be in my class.
I look back now and still have one saving grace and that was my mom. She put me in speech therapy from Kindergarten through fifth grade to help with my stuttering, she gave me the support I needed when I came home in tears from being picked on, and she even had me look up words in the dictionary to use when others called me names. One of the words that I learned was "rhesus" which we all know is a monkey. Well when I started to call the mean kids these wierd names...they stopped because they realized that their picking on wasn't going to phase me.
Over the years of being out of school I have come to deal with what went on in school. At one my high school class reunion, the girl who picked on me in grade school came up to me and apologized for everything that she called me and did to me. I was just shocked and blown away, but I smiled and felt like it was good. She told me that her children are starting to pick on kids at school and she is trying to correct them.
As Dr. Phil stated this week, "If you are even an innocent bystander you are still part of the problem." I am sure all of us have been on the end where we have been in the group that has teased someone else. I know that when I was in high school a classmate of mine didn't bathe on daily basis and my group of friends one day had placed bars of soap under her chair in choir. Now as a kid this is innocent, but now looking back I feel awful that I would do such a thing.
But really, if I had to go through school today with all this technology I can see why kids are attempting or commiting suicide. This has to stop. The social work side of me comes out when I hear about these stories. There needs to be groups in the schools where it is a safe haven for these children who are being teased. There needs to be some coping skills taught rather than the "don't listen to it, don't respond, and tell a trusted adult". The three steps are good starting points, but in the mean time while the teasing and what-have you is still going on...these children need to know how to deal with it. I don't know what the answer is on this, but it is something worth looking into.
If you have kids...talk with them and lets help try and stop this issue.