Technology is a great advantage to society, yet when people use technology to bring others down it is the biggest disadvantage to the population. Many technological advancements have allowed for Americans to maliciously attack one another; in order to mitigate tension be closely monitoring communications involving threats and bullying. Bullying lowers the self-esteem of the victim and makes them question if it's worth living. Suicide is the third leading cause of deaths amongst the generation and bully victims are two to nine times more likely to commit suicide than non victims ("Bullying and Suicide"). It is heartbreaking to hear about the deaths of teenagers through suicide because sometimes it is preventable as long as someone around them cares. Growing up, I was bullied for my weight, as I was fatter than the girls in school and magazines. I remember being called a whale, an elephant and a hippo. I was lucky to find a sport that made me ignore the comments about my weight and eventually accept myself, which is a daily struggle. But those words will stay with me for the rest of my life. The only reason I pushed through it was the fact I had an escape: home and swimming, I did not have a phone. However, if the victim is bullied online, there is no escape; as technology and internet is everywhere in their life. On average, 92 percent of teens go online on a daily basis (Lenhart). So where can they escape to?
Society can say that cyber-bullying is wrong and that they are tackling it, but how can they truly grasp the situation when sometimes the victims don’t come forward out of fear or feel undeserving of help. The government and schools can set up as many hotlines and counselors as they like, it doesn't give people the courage to reach out. Sometimes people running the schools and hotlines don’t even care. They just want the day to end so they can forget the situation and for it to blow over like a storm.
In Cincinnati, a eight year old boy named Gabriel Taye took his life January of this year. It would be easy to assume that the school tried to help and failed or that now they are going to take action, but those assumptions would be incorrect. There is another boy named John Cook, now 17, who had tried to kill himself at the age of 13. He was being bullied for his appearance and what he wore. He went to counseling, learned coping mechanisms and had family support. He had returned to school and his family met with district representatives. It did not change anything and the bullying continued. His mother spoke to the school administrators again with no change. The representative of Cincinnati Public Schools, Janet Walsh, “confirmed the Cook family had met several times with officials over the years, and she praised John for speaking publicly about his experience at a recent school board meeting” (Zilka). All the school offered is praise for his bravery in speaking out. There are no other resources being provided and they are not doing anything to help John. The bullying is still continuing to this day and as a result he is moving to another high school for his senior year.
We cannot afford to look the other way as the bullies in their life bring their self-esteem to such a low point that they honestly believe and accept that they're not worth living. Victims will draw in on themselves out of shame and isolate themselves from everyone in their lives. Their attitudes will change and possibly make poor decisions, but the people in their lives could perceive this as moodiness. The reality is much worse; it's a person giving up, giving in and giving their everything to disappearing and ending their lives.
To honestly and full-heartedly attack cyber-bullying, texts should be monitored in order to look for trigger words, threats or promises to kill themselves. It’s understandable that many people don't want their privacy invaded in such way, but to bring society back to reality it is what is necessary. The internet and technology give the aggressors the feeling of being on to of the world. It gives them the courage to say such destructive things to another human being. They don't care about the feelings of the person across the screen. The screen makes people forget that they are speaking to human beings, human beings who don't deserve this, and human beings who are just targets for hatred. Is this a kind of society that we want to be? News outlets constantly report about cyber-bullying and suicides. By monitoring text messages we are taking the first step in protecting our nation, our children and our future.
"Bullying and Suicide." Bullying Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2017.
Lenhart, Amanda. "Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015." Internet & Technology. Pew Research Center, n.d. Web. 24 May 2017.
Zilka, Ashley. "After His Suicide Attempt, the Bullying Didn't Stop." WCPO. N.p., 24 May 2017. Web. 29 May 2017.