BULLYING – LET’S SEARCH THE TIPPING POINT TO STOP IT!

“Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others. The behaviour is often repeated and habitual”.

Bullying”  term often passed off as “just kidding” is a fatal catalyst that could trigger something as catastrophic as “Suicide ” and I am not “kidding” about it.

Let us see a few statistics (source: hail google)

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC.
  • For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 per cent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 per cent have attempted it.

For the past few days, I have been reading some horrific incidents about how kids mostly in their teens took their lives when cornered by bullies.  That really shook me. I was wondering can it be so strong to push someone to take such a harsh step?  I have too experienced bullying (though it was very short-lived, and at a  very, very young age) I was six at that time, got admission in a new school and my seniors (not in age or class but they were in that school since kindergarten 😁) started bullying me, well sort of! pulling my hair, teasing me, grouping against me and so on.  I told my father about it, he laughed it off (probably because of our age and the age we lived in, that was only innocence) and said make friends with them, everything will be fine.  Though they were never on my friend list things were better and the bullying stopped.

But unfortunately, that’s not the case with many.  And the severity of the issue has also increased by leaps and bounds.  There are a plethora of examples where bullying led victims to take the extreme step. But can bullying be directly proportionate to the suicides we witness?  Can it be so oversimplified?  NO! As I said earlier bullying is a catalyst, when coupled with issues like depression, mental health problems, hopelessness etc. the results are as fatal as Suicides.

So when talking about bullying the aforesaid issues must be touched upon, but who is going to do that?  Awareness is the tool that could hit the nail on the head.

Role Of Parents –   Kids learn from their parents (a lot). The simplest form of bullying – teasing someone based on their physical appearance (body shaming) or calling names, this is something kids many times learn from their parents.  And the sad thing is such things are often dusted off as “for fun”, “was kidding”, “wasn’t serious”, to begin with, and when unchecked that could possibly acquire a monstrous face.  I am just giving an example, just a tip of an iceberg.  Considering this, parents have to be really watchful about their behaviour and words in front of their kids.  Their outlook towards things and people affect and shape the psyche of their kids to a greater extent, if not fully. Rest is all about evolving.  One thing to be remembered: Making fun of others isn’t funny.

Notice, Talk and Listen: This is the Tipping Point that could make all the awareness campaigns work. Reading the silence or unusual symptoms like social withdrawal is the first and foremost step that needs to be taken by family members (read well-wishers, could be beyond family ties).  For instance, if a person who is normally a happy soul, a social person chooses solitude and prefers staying silent, that’s a clue big enough to initiate “Talk“. Many times victims are unable to decide whom to confide to and the pain starts building up and inability to crack their silence leads to the disaster. So reading signs at the right time is of utmost importance.  When the Talk is initiated, compassion and patience is a must.  The victim might not be able to give in at the first attempt, may try to conceal but persistence is the key here. Counselling from professionals is also helpful because they have their own tricks up their sleeve to let the victim release the flow of emotions bound for long.  And when they Talk, it’s important to Listen, to believe them and to respect their vulnerability. There is an ample number of cases when complaints are dismissed with statements like “it happens everywhere “, “don’t be a crybaby”, ” take it as fun” and so on.  Isn’t it enough proof that if a person is getting affected by something, which is “harmless” as per your perception then there is much to look out for or unearth?  Motto may be to instil some courage but rather their words are doing more harm than help.  Words have to be put together with utmost care so as to boost up the confidence of the person getting affected by this bullying business.  And again if someone thinks it’s beyond their capability take the help of a professional.

The “HELP” is meant for both the parties, this is my strong belief.  For the bullies, it is about the right kind of education (not just literacy). Any attempt or sign of being rude to a fellow human being shall be nipped in bud.  For the victims – it is about counselling and emphasizing on the fact “that people who laugh at you are either jealous of you or don’t have a better business. And that already makes you strong, go ahead with this strength “.

SOCIAL OR ANTI-SOCIAL?

Facebook Death ! Twitter Suicide ! MySpace Murder ! YouTube Killing ! Sounds bizarre I know. What have such negative words got to do with social media platforms ? They are made for entertainment, for communication, for connecting, for interaction. They are definitely supposed to enrich our lives making us more social and more popular.

Unfortunately, this is just a myth, the truth is somewhat different. Can you believe that a crime is reported on FB every 40 minutes ? Facebook was referred in investigations of murder, rape, child sex, offenses, assault, kidnap, death threats, witness intimidation, and fraud.

  1. A normal teenager of 15 murdered his dad when the father banned the kid from using MySpace, the reason being the kid was posting suicidal notes. After the murder, he removed his father from his Top 8.
  2. A guy was frustrated from his x wife and her attacking Facebook posts, made out of anger about his child support payments. He became aggressive and beat her up using a hammer, doing every painful act to his x wife and left her body which was discovered the next day.
  3. Two childhood friends, both aged 22 were best mates before the arrival of one girl who made these two buddies fall for her. They exchanged heated arguments on Twitter for some days because of this girl and due to the impact one of the friends shot down his best friend and Tweeting immediately after that “RIP MY FRIEND”.

These are merely several instances, there are so various crimes taking place that prove teenagers and youngsters are driven by social media in a morbid way. I read such stories and wonder why status on FB and Tweets have become an ego issue for us. They are just done for fun, what is there to take them so seriously that you decide to end a life, be it yours or theirs ?

Not just deaths by murder but bullying that leads to self-destruction is an equally worrisome issue. Today all kids have PC and a good bandwidth internet connection. But dounnamed-1 we identify how and for what they are using them ? They could easily be using to harass that best friend who visits your home often from a fake ID they made just to stroke ego.

Ever heard the term “Death by Selfie” ? No ? Well, let me tell you it is something that is plaguing social media today. We all like to change DP, we wanna use the one where we look cutest, sweetest, sexiest, and what not. But has it ever come to you that it could lead you to Death? We all know about the Pakistani girl, Qandeel Baloch famous as “Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian”. She is famous for posting provocative selfie’s and videos of herself on social networks. That is how she reached the heights of fame. But she also reached gates of destruction when her brother killed her, after repeatedly warning her to stop posting embarrassing stuff on FB. She was killed by him in rage, in the name of Honour Killing.

Cyberbullicide is the term used to define suicide due to having indirect or direct experiences with online aggression.  Cyber bullying and cyber harassment are two prevalent ways to lead to pro-suicide behavior. Phoebe Prince, a recent Irish immigrant, hanged herself after nearly three months of routine torment by students at Her High School, via text message, and through the social networking site, Facebook.

Social media platforms, such as chat rooms, blogging Web sites (e.g., Tumblr, Reddit), video sites (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo), social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Google+), picture sharing sites (e.g., Pinterest, Instagram) as well as e-mail, text messaging, and video chat, have transformed traditional methods of communication by allowing the instantaneous and interactive sharing of information created and controlled by individuals, groups, organizations, and governments. But that does not mean we will use them as a source to spy on family and friends. Relationship status is not meant to hurt other by changing them back to being single. Our Display Pictures don’t need to make us look like Katrina Kaif or Scarlett Johansson. Friends and Ex’s whom you aren’t comfortable with mustn’t be bullied but Unfriended and blocked. Troublemakers should be dealt with prudence, report them. Last but not the least, never spread rumors on social platforms.

Be Social, not Anti-Social !