The relatively new issue of cyber bullying has taken the teenage world by storm. With youth spending more time on the computer, internet and cell phones than ever before, bullying has now gone virtual. During the previous generation, bullying was known as humiliation or harassment that was done to a student usually by other kids at their school. Whether it was from being teased, physically attacked, or having a rumor spread about one, bullying was one of the minor realities of school back then that most people got used to.
Now bullying is done both inside and outside the school building, and one of many things that students cannot avoid. Cyber bullying can arise anywhere from tweets or Facebook statuses made about one person, to a private and inappropriate picture of someone floating the internet. Over the years, thousands of young lives have been traumatized or even lost due to the cruel nature of cyber bullying. Not only is cyber bullying worse than regular bullying, but it is permanently documented and accessible to anyone. How many more deaths is it going to take to realize the harms and danger of cyber bullying? There have been movies, commercials, school meetings, and even days of silence letting the teen community know something has got to be done about this form on bullying. Teens are getting meaner and meaner and do not realize the harm they cause one person just from a tweet, status, text, picture or post. Cyber bullying is a ridiculous new form of bullying that deserves to be stopped for the sake of all teenagers in this country, because no one deserves to be humiliated, embarrassed or attacked whether it is in person or in cyber space.
The issue of cyber bullying has hit close to home on the internet sensation of Twitter. In our own school district of Montgomery County, many infamous “truths” pages on twitter have come about tweeting various information about Montgomery County schools and even specifically people at the schools (@MOCOTruths). Some schools even have truth pages of their own that display even more detailed tweets about the school, students, and events; one of these schools is St. John’s College High School (@SJCTruths). Fortunately, no students have reported being seriously offended or attacked by these twitter pages, but just because no one has addressed the issue of these “truths” pages doesn’t make it right. These pages display very disturbing and vulgar information. Not only is this a terrible form of cyber bullying, but the person behind all of the tweets is anonymous. What solutions can be set in place if no one knows who is saying all these things about their schools and classmates? Students should take action to stand up to these pages and demand them to be stopped. A “truth” can very easily hurt one’s feelings, destroy their self-esteem, reveal a secret and cause one to be very offended, all just for followers and a laugh on Twitter. Montgomery County students are better than this, and instead of tearing each other and each other’s schools down, students should be doing the opposite.
The Bullis community does a great job of keeping its students aware of how harmful cyber bullying can be to their peers. While I have been at Bullis, the school has been a very accepting and open community that accepts new ideas and gives off a family atmosphere. Even with this great atmosphere around us, Bullis still does its job to make us aware. Two prime examples of keeping this issue out of Bullis was through the day of silence and beyond the books day. During the day of silence, many Upper School students participated by taking on the tough task of not speaking a word the whole academic day and succeeded. This was an act to stop the negative talk throughout the world. The day of silence depicted a movement of improving society to eliminate the negative and promote the positive.
Also, on students’ highly anticipated beyond the books day, they opened the day with an amazing one man act, which took students through his challenging high school experience. In one of his scenes, he would depict himself in a lunchroom where the more popular teens were singling one girl out in particular. He showed the Upper School how harmful and hurtful this can be. The girl was devastated while the other girls found it amusing. Students see acts like this every day in society until students are the one being singled out and realize how belittling it can make one feel.
Also, the Bullis dance team dedicated a whole dance show to the common issue of cyber bullying. Students see the care and enthusiasm in the Bullis community to stop this issue before it starts due to several student choreographed performances and the student motivated idea for the show. While speaking with junior dance member Taylor Burris (‘14), she explained that “the students came up with the idea because we can see the spread of cyber bullying. This was an issue we all felt strongly about and we made it happen.”
Cyber bullying can be buried right here and now. As students, we need to have respect for ourselves, our peers, and our schools by being appropriate and cordial to everyone while on the internet. Teens need to know that it is not expectable to bash, expose, or embarrass someone over the internet where everyone can see it. Consequences for cyber bullying can even now amount to expulsion or even prosecution for child pornography in some cases. The internet and phones are supposed to be used to connect and communicate. As we use the internet, phones, and social networking sites we must remember the golden rule; treat others how you want to be treated. No one deserves to be cyber bullied no matter who they are or what they’ve done.