"If I die tonight would anyone cry" Bullying Prevention
“If I die tonight, would anyone cry?”
Amber Cornwell published this post soon before completing suicide in December of 2014.
Bullying….We all know what it means, we have either lived through it, witnessed it happen to a friend or supported your own children through it. But do we ever stop to think about whether we are in fact bullies ourselves and the consequences behind such behaviour. Or how to deal with it when it hits you in the face?
What is bullying?
Bullying is when people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing. These actions are usually done by people who have more influence or power over someone else, or who want to make someone else feel less powerful or helpless.
Bullying is not the same as conflict between people (like having a fight) or disliking someone, even though people might bully each other because of conflict or dislike.
The sort of repeated behaviour that can be considered bullying includes:
- Keeping someone out of a group (online or offline)
- Acting in an unpleasant way near or towards someone
- Giving nasty looks, making rude gestures, calling names, being rude and impolite, and constantly negative teasing.
- Spreading rumours or lies, or misrepresenting someone (i.e. using their Facebook account to post messages as if it were them)
- Mucking about that goes too far
- Harassing someone based on their race, sex, religion, gender or a disability
- Intentionally and repeatedly hurting someone physically
- Intentionally stalking someone
Bullying is a very real, very common, almost epidemic problem. It’s not a problem that is local to any one place but is global. It’s everywhere from schools to sports to church and workplaces. Bullying has changed from when “we were kids”. The bullying stayed at the schoolyard, and home was a haven. It’s different today, there is no way to escape. Cyber-bullying is rampant and even though we might be able to turn off a phone, or a computer, the hate is still there when they power up again.
Social media is the modern-day diary; kids and adults alike are now more likely to vent emotional distress or seek help via online platforms. I know personally my life has been splayed out on social media whether its photos and captions, or the powerful quotes that caught my eye on that day due to my specific circumstances.
However, it is through these same platforms that cyberbullying occurs.
30% of flagged posts are direct forms of cyberbullying. Interestingly, most people have experienced some type of online harassment. Teens exposed to cyberbullying are 2.4 times more likely to entertain suicidal notions.
Social media interactions can provide a look into someone’s life, yet red flags are largely ignored due to the casual nature of online culture. Mean comments and threats are posted online all the time; this problem has proliferated into a cyberbullying epidemic, one that large social media platforms are struggling to fix. Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, admitted, “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years.”
Amber was a victim of bullying and So are many others who decided to take their own life as a result. Then there are the countless numbers of people who are affected daily, some suffer in silence, some suffer from anxiety, depression and PTST.
To reduce suicide and depression, we must eliminate a major root cause: bullying.
This month is National Bullying Prevention Month, a movement to stop bullying and cyberbullying once and for all.
We must make a stand and educate our children on how to cope and what not to do!
And most importantly, remember you are NOT ALONE!! Reach out for help if you or someone you know is struggling