Rebecca Sedwick, 12, took her life last month after relentless bullying from as many as 15 other girls over three years. Her mom tried to put a stop to the bullying, even moving Rebecca to another school, but her tormenters followed her on social media, where the bullying continued.
It turns out this girl’s suicide was not unique. The public is becoming more aware of the problem of bullying and cyber bullying with each high-profile case.
Cyberbullying Research Center tells us: “Despite the potential damage of cyber bullying, it is alarmingly common among adolescents and teens. According to Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation: Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying. More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber-threats online. Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.”
In other words, bully has kept up with modern technology. Adults will often say it’s just a part of growing up, and kids should be tough enough to ignore it or laugh it off. Maybe as schools begin to teach kids why bullying is wrong, they should also try to teach them some coping skills. But if kids do report being harassed, adults should listen.
Parents and teens (and younger kids, as the Rebecca Sedwick case shows), need to learn that juveniles aren’t exempt from the law. Young people also need to know that no matter how hopeless a situation seems, it won’t go on forever. That suicide is permanent. That if they do choose die, there’s no magic that will bring them back – not even long enough to watch their former tormenters suffer.