By Abigail Allen
For decades, bullying has haunted the halls of middle schools and high schools across the world. Whether it’s a beat down in the locker room, or a false rumor spread by notes in class, bullying has hurt many students throughout the years. And it’s still carrying on today, only now it can be in the digital world.
Cyberbullying, according to stopbullying.gov, is “bullying that takes place using electronic technology,” such as social media, chat rooms, instant messaging and more.
As social media’s popularity and diversity grows, so does the amount of cyberbullying cases. According to stopbullying.gov, once those hurtful comments, videos, or posts are online, it’ll never be able to truly be deleted, from the internet or the victim’s head.
With all of those hateful comments and photos swirling around their heads, cyberbullying victims tend to struggle in school, or just stay home altogether. According to cyberbullyinghotline.com, “3 million kids per month are absent from school due to bullying.” Three million students skip out on their educations to avoid being hurt by bullying. Around two thousand students attend our school.
“20 percent of kids cyberbullied think about suicide, and one in 10 attempt it,” according to cyberbullyinghotline.com.
Guidance Counselor Shannon Fritz explained the severe long-term effects of bullying.
“There can be long lasting mental health consequences, which can include depression, social anxiety, general anxiety, suicide ideation,” Fritz said.
These can be long term effects of bullying, and victims of any bullying in general, can’t just “suck it up” and get over it, because, according to Fritz, “effects can last an undetermined amount of time.”
As many can guess, bullying, especially cyberbullying, can incite a spectrum of emotions.
“They can feel embarrassed, angry, isolated, untrusting,” Fritz said.
Though most victims feel these and other emotions, not many have the courage to show it and get help.
One victim of cyberbullying, who will remain anonymous to respect their privacy, fits this description fairly well.
The victim reported feeling “less confident, dirty, like everyone believed what they had said,” and a desire to “hide it from [their] parents,” to “paint on a happy face, but it didn’t work, they saw right through it.”
“There’s no point in bringing people down because karma will come back around and it will bite you,” the victim said. Sometimes, in the mess of emotions victims feel, they don’t know how to react to the problem, and can feel like they need to strike back or get revenge.
This is where much of bullying comes from; victims become victimizers, because they feel alone and scared. There’s no benefit in making someone else hurt; it won’t make it better. If the situation is properly addressed and handed over to the school, the bully will be handled properly.
Many people get bullied daily, and many never say anything.
If you, or someone you know, is trying to take it on alone, tell someone, and if it’s not you, stand by them, stand up for them, help them tell who needs to be told to eliminate the problem.
Telling a teacher, counselor, or principal via email or asking for a pass from class or during passing period can make the biggest difference.
You can also go onto the school website and click the “report an incident” link to send an anonymous tip to the principals on the incident.
If you tell them everything you know, they will do everything in their power to eliminate the problem, making your learning environment and even your home life a safer place.
But the best thing you can do, is simply saying hi, or asking how their day is going, because little do you know, just by doing a simple act such as being someone’s friend, you can save and change their life for the better.