Bullying. It’s everywhere. You can scarcely turn on your television or computer without seeing something about it. It’s been happening for as long as anyone can remember. However, the way it manifests itself has changed entirely.
Years ago, before the internet, bullying usually meant a face-to-face altercation. It was much harder to get away with, and the number of bullies was far less. As the times have changed, so have the people. Acceptance and love – no matter what color, gender, or sexual orientation you are – is now a widespread ideal. However, the changing times have also brought about a new enemy: the internet.
Of course, there is no doubt that the internet is an invaluable tool. It makes communication a thousand times simpler, and information is readily available at the touch of a fingertip. Unfortunately, the advances we have made in technology have also made much easier to get away with inhumane treatment of our fellow man.
Over the past few years, the headlines have been littered with the stories of teens and even young children taking their lives. Why is this happening? Who is responsible? The culprit may not be someone you know, but the tool they used is something very close to home.
In the age of the internet, no one is responsible for their actions. No one is held accountable. You can say whatever you want to whomever you want because you can hide behind a screen. “They’re just words,” they tell themselves, “It’s not a big deal.”
It is a big deal. The issue is that children grow up with the bare minimum of human interaction. It is for this reason that a disconnect has formed – a disconnect between reality and what is on the computer screen. People are nothing more than the words they type on their status updates. There is no respect for the fact that they are living, breathing beings with people who love them and lives of their own.
So, what can we do to tackle a problem like this? The answer is simple: talk to your children. Don’t be selfish and hand your child a phone because you want more time for yourself. Teach them the inherent dangers of the technology they are using. Tell them to respect people, no matter what walk of life they choose. Teach them the consequences of their actions. Educate them about the beauty of life outside of their smartphones. Help them appreciate the real world so that the digital world is no longer a weapon.