by Rebecca Olexson
Archilochus of Paros is an ancient Greek writer who was known for his satire and “ferocious invective.” He was so talented with his words to mock and torment, he actually drove an entire family to commit suicide, just because their daughter, Neobule, would not marry him. Paros received no punishment for his actions (“Archilochus” par. 5). Today we would deem Archilochus a bully. Isn’t it funny how the bullies survive, but the innocent die?
Bullying continues to haunt our society. While Archilochus was limited to pen and paper for his bullying technique, today advanced technology gives bullies the internet, which allows bullies the opportunity to constantly harass and mock their victims. Cyber bullying is widespread, and causes hundreds of children to mutilate themselves, develop psychological problems, and even commit suicide. In fact, about forty-three percent of children bullied in school have reported they have been bullied online. Approximately five thousand kids commit suicide each year due to bullying, fourteen percent of students have considered suicide, and almost seven percent attempt it (“Suicide Facts”). These statistics are frightening and they continue to increase every year. Why do the bullies continue to win?
One would think we would start trying to change these statistics to make people more aware of the problem. There are anti-bullying programs and seminars for teachers, parents, and students about the subject, but nothing can be accomplished without the full support of the whole society to enforce good values. Especially support from the adults. For example, Megan Meier killed herself when she was only thirteen. She was a victim of cyber bullying. It all started when Megan had a falling out with a girl whose parents invented a fake boy to mess with Megan’s emotions. The parents posted intimate messages all over MySpace, which led Megan’s peers to make fun of her. They even told her the world would be a better place if she was not around (Pokin). Not only children sent this girl to her breaking point, but the adults were the true catalysts of the conflict. Adults are supposed to be good role models for children, which means adults must know how to act properly and responsibly. Society is doomed if adults cannot act appropriately.
On June 20, 2012, a 10-minute video went viral on YouTube. The video was entitled “Making the Bus Monitor Cry.” I watched the video, and it made me feel disgusted, upset, and horrified. In the video a group of young boys tormented and tortured a sixty-eight year old bus monitor in upstate New York. The boys mocked her, saying if they cut her, the knife would go through her like butter (Blow par. 5). I saw tears streak down the old woman’s face but she never yelled or lifted a hand to those children. After watching the video, I wondered, “Why are these children so cruel?” and “Who taught these children to disrespect their elders like that?” As the saying goes, “Like father, like son.” The children learn from their parents.
Some parents and adults feel nothing needs to be done about bullying because it is a normal school experience that everyone eventually has. Supposedly, bullying makes their kids stronger and more prepared for society. I argue that bullying only damages its victims, doing nothing to make them stronger. Overall, bullying is a serious conflict that inflicts emotional and physical abuse upon its victims. Psychologically, bullying has major consequences. It leads the bullied individual into severe depression, causes them to inflict harm on themselves and others, and permanently damages them for the rest of their lives, sometimes with the individual tragically ending their own life.
Furthermore, parents are key when it comes to bullying. They need to first realize that their actions affect their children. If the parents act right, then the children will act properly. Parents also must be more aware about bullying by attending bullying awareness programs or anti-bullying conferences. The schools should hold informational sessions for all parents to attend. Finally, the parents must talk to their children about bullying, and understand how to monitor their children’s behaviors. Equally, children must talk if they are being bullied, but the parents must be willing to listen. Adults are here to help guide children through their adolescence, and to protect them from harm. Teachers are also instrumental in the lives of children, and must recognize bullying too. They need to know what to do to prevent bullying and how to appropriately manage it. Ultimately, the lives of society’s youth are of the utmost importance. Adults must start acting like adults, and change the bullying trend. Bullying has gone on long enough, and it only leads to devastation. If we all do our part, hopefully, the statistics will change.
“Archilochus.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. 2012. Web. 04 Dec. 2012.
Blow, Charles M. “Bullies on the Bus.” The New York Times 23 June 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.
Pokin, Steve. “Megan Meier’s Story.” St. Charles Journal 13 Nov. 2007. Rpt. on Megan Meier Foundation. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.
“Suicide Facts.” SAVE. Suicidal Awareness Voices of Education. SAVE, 2004. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.