This morning the Daily Mail ran another deeply distressing article about yet another teenager who had taken her life over bullying. It is devastating in this day and age that no one seems to be policing these children and this bullying is allowed to continue. Beautiful Izzy Dix was bullied online and in school. Online she was bullied or trolled on Facebook and other social networking sites including Ask.Fm. This particular website has been implicated in the deaths of other teenagers who have committed suicide and yet its owners still will not show the surely appropriate compassionate response and close it down.
It beggars belief that they still think it is ok to continue. It may only be a small percentage of children trolling and bullying but that is not the point. The point is they are responsible to police their own site. My children have been visited by Police in both High School and Primary school sessions to explain the dangers they may encounter online. This is a good initiative but no good if children’s online sessions at home aren’t moderated and watched over to a certain extent.
Why do children bully other children? It went on in my own childhood and is worse now. At least then there wasn’t mobile phones and social networking to aid their campaigns. It has been said that children who bully or anyone who bullies are cowards. That may be true to a degree but it is more accurate to say that some people including some children are just cruel. They get off on hurting other people. Children in High School bully either out of jealousy of someone, or because the victim is seen as vulnerable and not able to stand up for themselves or because they join a bullying pack so the said bullying won’t turn on themselves.
There are some great initiatives in schools these days that are set up to combat bullying and there are pastoral counsellors children can talk to in school if necessary but what if the teachers and headmasters do not back these for whatever reason? Then they are a complete waste of time.
My eldest daughter is almost 15. She is in a good school with a good bunch of friends and has a good head on her shoulders but I still worry about her. I do look over her interactions online, with her permission, not because I don’t trust her but because other people can be unscrupulous and manipulative. She is not on Ask.fm website and she is not allowed to be. Thankfully she shows no interest in that website anyway. It’s not because I want to spoil her fun, it’s because I want to parent her.
We try to teach our children to stand up to bullies but the tough thing is there is no set way that works. When I was bullied showing kindness to my bully was the thing that worked. How can we expect our young children to stand up to a whole gang of bullies?
It does not help that we are living in an immoral age. In the town where we live I frequently see the same children out at all hours. Where are their parents? Don’t they care? Or do they have an easier life because their children are out of the house? If that’s the case, why have kids?
It has really gotten to the point in this world where people do not seem to care about each other. The majority only seem to care for themselves. We have become like the characters in the Good Samaritan who pass by on the other side because we are scared of the possible repercussions. When it has come to the point that Fathers and strangers coming to someones aid are attacked themselves you know you are living in a moral vacuum.
As a Christian my trite answer would be that people need God and that’s what I believe. Some of these young children who go on to become bullies to others are shown no love or guidance by their parents. They are set no boundaries or given no discipline so what can we expect really when they go astray?.
That is not a justification by any means of their behaviour but it may be a factor. As parents we need to be showing our children how to behave and interact with other children. They need to learn right from wrong, they need to be taught to have respect and compassion for other people.
If this sounds like pie in the sky to you or a flight of fancy fair enough but I honestly believe if we could catch some of these children in time this bullying would be prevented. Going back to my earlier point some kids just seem to have an evil streak running through them so it would not perhaps prevent their bullying, but a handful of cases resolved is surely better than none.
The government needs to be seen to be behind an anti bullying campaign that actually works, Ask.fm needs to be shut down, schools and parents need to work together to combat bullying, and children need to be trained up in the way we want them to go.
Ask yourself and I make no apology for this, how would you feel if you came home and found your child had committed suicide? You would be devastated naturally. I’m not making light of Izzy Dix or her fellow sufferers. I’m saying it’s not too late to be a good parent. It’s not too late to show them right from wrong. You should know what your children are doing online, not in a big brother kind of way, but to nip potential problems in the bud.
Till next time.
This is my 2nd post for NaBloPoMo.