Bullying is an age-old trend that is still prevalent in our current society. In fact, the types of bullying have evolved to become more complex nowadays.
With the accessibility of technology and social media, bullying became more widespread and possibly more vicious with cyberbullying. It has been the increasing cause of many disciplinary cases in schools because of how serious it is.
Why is bullying still omnipresent among youths and how did technology, supposedly a beneficial tool, become misused?
In the past, bullying usually involved only physical and verbal abuse which could be witnessed by others and reported to teachers or higher authorities.
However, technology has allowed users of the internet to be completely anonymous in spreading hate to others, which makes things less straightforward.
To add, the consequences of cyberbullying can also be more disastrous because ‘what goes on the internet, stays on the internet’. It is easy for a bully to publish a photo or video to shame the victim and it is out there for anyone in the world to see, forever.
The shocking fact is that even teachers, who are supposed to hold authority over students, get bullied by students. Students bullying teachers is not uncommon, but of course, with cyberbullying, it has been taken to be much worse.
Many students rant about their teachers online and post photos that are out to shame their teachers. In most cases, the teachers do not know anything about these and have just become a laughing stock behind their backs.
Some of the allegations or rumours could have been fabricated or exaggerated, and there is hardly any way for the victim to defend themselves.
Cyberbullying is dangerously treacherous.
Why do students hurt others at such a young age?
Bullying is more common amongst children because they may not have the maturity to understand what bullying really does, think before they act, and comprehend right from wrong.
Many times, bullies try to put others down because they may face a lack of attention or neglect from their caregivers at home so they seek validation by imposing power on others.
Some children also see it as the easy way out to settle their displeasure with their peers — by taking it out on them.
Many young bullies grow up to regret their actions and try hard to make it up to their victims, but it might be too late.
Bullying can come from a place of insecurity. Most bullies have been victims of bullying themselves, and are seeking the power over others that they think they lack.
Ironically, social media is also the reason for the increase in insecurity amongst youths these days.
With picture-perfect lifestyles, youths are often envious of the lives of others and never satisfied with their own.
They find the need to constantly prove their worth, which is why they may resort to bullying in order to seem like they are better than others.
What can parents do?
Parents of the victims would definitely be very concerned for their child, but what about parents of the bully?
They would go through a rollercoaster of emotions: from being defensive, to disbelief that their child would be a bully, and confusion as to why. They may feel so much guilt, wondering what went wrong, and being disappointment in their child.
That is why it’s important for parents to pay close attention to their children and prevent them from becoming bullies.
1. Pay attention to how they talk about or treat others
How your child talks about other people in front of you is a telltale sign of how they will treat other people too.
This is because most of the time, children are most comfortable with their parents and let down their guard. They tend to let their parents see their innermost feelings and thoughts.
When you sense that they’re harbouring ill thoughts about others or being unkind, it is crucial that you step in to correct them.
2. Teach them to be kind
Always encourage your children to make kind gestures such as offering food and drinks to their friends or giving up their seats to people who need them more.
Children need to learn from experience and actually practice the acts of kindness before it sinks in with them.
Explain to them the importance of being kind to others and teach them to be empathetic. Probe them to always put themselves in others’ shoes and treat others how they want to be treated.
Over time, it will become second nature to them as they experience the positive feelings of being nice to others.
Bullying is becoming a common problem and made more complicated and dangerous due to the onset of social media.
If you find out that your child has been a bully, you need to have a serious talk with your child but don’t jump to conclusions. Listen to what your child has to say and understand their line of thoughts.
Figure out what needs to be done for your child to expel their negative emotions in a healthy way. You may consider working hand in hand together with school teachers as well as engaging a counsellor to help your child when it comes to dealing with their negative emotions.
We hope that this article has been helpful for you!
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