Every year over “13 million students are bullied” (Maughan). Every day over 160,000 children stay home from school in an attempt to avoid bullying (Maughan). Bullying is a very serious problem that affects millions of youths in modern America. Since it is such a serious problem, there needs to be an extreme effort in prevention on bullying.
One major group affected by bullying is minorities. Such as LGBT community and ethnic minorities. “In recent years we’ve seen a tragic number of gay teens, ending their own lives after enduring anti-gay bullying” (Koplewicz) says Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz. “Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents, and gay teens are 4 times more likely than straight teens to attempt suicide” (Koplewicz).
It is very obvious that gay teens experience far more bullying for their sexual orientation than straight people would receive for something as trivial as weight, acne, glasses, or any of the other things people are teased about. As of 2009, 90 percent of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans middle and high schoolers reported that they were physically or verbally harassed by other students (Koplewicz). “Teens who feel uncomfortable with their sexuality often suffer from low self-esteem” (Koplewicz) this feeling of low self esteem (along “with sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, anxiety, irritability, rejection, and anger” (Koplewicz)) all lead to depression, which nearly all teens who commit suicide suffer from (Koplewicz).
Another place where a great deal of bullying occurs is over the internet, especially on social media. “With more kids than ever using cell phones and other digital devices to text, post, and chat, cyberbullying is a growing concern” (Moreno). Cyber bullying is as easy as sending mean messages to someone, sharing embarrassing pictures of them, making up stories about them, or telling other people not to invite someone to a social event (Moreno).
Cyber bullying has become so appealing to children because it is far easier not to get caught. With social media, it is all to easy to give a fake name for your account, then it is impossible to tell who is actually messaging the bullied individual. This term is called “catfishing” (Gordon). Catfishing is primarily when a person creates a fake account in order to try and lure someone online into a romantic relationship (Gordon). If the person who is being catfished falls for the trick, and believes the person with whom they are chatting online is real, it could put them in a number of difficult situations.
Arguably the worst case scenario is that the person being catfished will end up sending private photos to the person lying about their identity. Once these photos have been shared, there is absolutely no way of returning them. “In July 2008, Jessica Logan, 18, committed suicide in her closet after months of alleged abuse from her Ohio classmates” (Victims). Jessica Longan’s ex-boyfriend forwarded naked pictures of her to her female class mates after they broke up (Victims). After this, these girls began to bully her calling her bad names, and harassing her (Victims). This just shows how serious what everyone dose online is. This girl ended up ending her life because of a very serious mistake that she made.
Even more importantly, it was the fact that a very cruel person shared er private pictures with so many people after the ending of their relationship that shows how careful one must be while online.
Body image is another major contributor to bullying. Because while “bullying can occur among individuals of any weight, overweight and underweight children tend to be at higher risk for bullying” (Perugini). A study “found that adolescents teased about weight tended to have a body image that was more negative than those not teased because of weight” (Perugini), and that people who have “negative body image may be at a higher risk for developing unhealthy eating and exercising habits” (Perugini). This shows that individuals who do not have positive body weight are subject to bullying, and bullying can lead to depression, which is the leading cause of suicide in America.
Needless to say, bullying is a very serious problem that effects millions of American children every year. The most bullied group being the LGBT community, as over 90 percent of lesbian, gay, bi, and trans teenagers feel either physically or verbally harassed.
The most common place for bullying to occur is on the internet. In the new age of social media, it is all too easy to send a simple message of ill will, or commenting something mean about an individual. It is also extremely easy to create a fake account in order to harass people, or to try to get private information or images from them in order to bully them with those images. Last but not least or the people who are body shames. Body shaming among children is not uncommon because not all children hit their growth spurt at the same time. Shaming kids, especially teenagers, about their bodies can lead to negative body image, and might even make the problem worse.
- CBS News. “Victims of Bullying.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 10 Mar. 2011, www.cbsnews.com/pictures/victims-of-bullying/11/.
- Gordon, Sherri. “Learn the Warning Signs of Catfishing to Prevent Being Cyberbullied.” Verywell Family, Verywellfamily, www.verywellfamily.com/what-is- catfishing-460588.
- Maughan, Shannon. “A CALL TO ACTION: BULLYING AND BOOKS.” Ebscohost, 22 Oct. 2012, web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=2ca208ad- b52e-4b29-abb5-5becba96c96c%40sdcvsessmgr02&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=lkh&AN=82723926.
- Moreno, Megan. “Cyberbullying.” HealthyChildren.org, 27 Jan. 2018, www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Cyberbullying.aspx.
- Perugini, Chelsea. “Bullying and Body Image.” StopBullying.gov, Department of Health and Human Services, 1 Jan. 2013, www.stopbullying.gov/blog/2013/07/01/ bullying-and-body-image.html.
- Pietro, Sal. “LGBT Teens, Bullying, and Suicide.” Child Mind Institute, Child Mind Institute, 5 Dec. 2017, childmind.org/article/lgbt-teens-bullying-and-suicide/.