Word Hurt

November 10, 2011
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42 percent of kids ages 11-17 in America have been cyber bullied. 42 percent, that’s almost half of the countries youth who’s suffering in their homes from what people are texting them or saying online. Out of a group of 1000 kids, 19% have attempted suicide while 20% have seriously considered the idea. Technology is taking over today’s youth faster than ever before. While the improving technology is great it also continues to affect people’s lives in a negative way. Something needs to be done to control this issue, but what can be done when 14 out of 20 teens don’t tell adults or get help with their problems?

We have created a world where bullying is happening everywhere. With 22 out of 23 teens having cell phones which are on all day, there is a much easier access to bullying someone while keeping it anonymous. Since it’s hard for the victim to find out the source, it can be very appealing to the bully. Also since it can remain anonymous it lowers the risk of getting in trouble. The bully doesn’t want to get caught mostly because of the new laws around cyber bullying in some states. Almost every school teaches their students about the consequences that can occur if they are caught cyber bullying, but most students ignore the possibilities of the outcome.

In a survey I conducted 86% of the teens who had been cyber bullied, were bullied by their friends. To me this was a shocking discovery. Whenever I thought of cyber bullying I thought of a bully and a victim that had never gotten along well. It turns out those who you’re closest with can be the ones to hurt you the most. One of the most common scenarios of bullying is two friends getting in a fight and one posting something mean on the others facebook wall or sending a harmful text. When the fight is never resolved that’s when the never ending war begins. "It started eating into my self-confidence, it all started going downhill," said 14-year-old Carney who was on BBC news because of a cyber-bully. When Carneys bullying problem started he didn’t think much of it and said "at first I thought it was a joke. As a teenager you just shrug it off your shoulders and carry on." It took over a year for him to find help, by the time he told someone he had already been cutting his wrists.

Suicide’s a problem when it comes to cyber bullying. When it comes to getting in trouble kids think “I’m just messing around I can’t get in trouble for this”. The hard part is today, 47% of kids have posted or texted something mean. Being educated isn’t stopping them. It’s not until the victim commits suicide or tells an adult that the bully really cares. It’s devastating to think the only thing keeping Americas youth from hurting each other is the fear of getting in trouble.

In my serve I asked 25 kids what they’d do if they knew one of their friends was being cyber bullied, their response didn’t surprise me. I gathered that 18 out of 25 kids would try to take care of it themselves and stand up for their friend, while only 7 kids would notify an adult. Not many teenagers want adults to get involved with their problems. This mostly comes from peer pressure. If someone tells an adult, the kid will be known as a “snitch” or a “tatal tale” that can’t take care of their own problems. Even if help is needed it tends to be the last solution.

Facebook is an easy way for one little post to terribly affect ones day, however for the victim it means there is no escaping the fear, even at home. If bullying is being done over facebook it’s easy to block someone or delete the post, but even with the message gone the harmful words still haunt them. The texts can’t be blocked though, they just keep coming without a way to stop it.

The words people say to hurt others are never forgotten. Getting a hurtful text is scary because you never know what might come next, leaving some kids speechless.

I was too stunned to speak. Now I know how the contestants on American Idol must feel the first time they walk into a store and hear one of the tracks from their own CD. Though they know they made a record and it’s been release It doesn’t feel real until it really happens and they hear the song, then become speechless. (Jodee Blanco page 212)

If it continues to happen a kids self-esteem can shoot down. This can cause a lack of wanting to talk and interact with people.

To solve the cyber bully issue in America schools should have anonymous boxes where someone can write down the name of their bully. Then the victim is safe and the bully can’t find out who turned them in. This is an obvious solution that should be more commonly used to seek help for kids. If a solution isn’t found soon kids’ lives could be ruined from are advancing technology.

“Get me out!”, “please help me!”, “I don’t know what to do”, “I’m sad”, kids feel trapped when their being cyber bullied. Most kids know how to find help but they rely on anonymous websites and friends for help. Once they are trapped the cycle is hard to break. There is no excuse for why cyber bullying can’t be stopped. No kid should have to fight a war they can’t handle.

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