Bullying has been around since the beginning of time. Michael Phelps was bullied because of his ears, Tyra Banks because of her head and Eva Mendes because of her teeth. Even Jesus Christ was bullied before He was crucified. My dad tells me stories about the kids in his neighborhood getting bullied because they had less than what other kids had (and that was back in the day), and I remember seeing other children getting bullied when I was in elementary school because they were smaller than everyone else. Back in my day (the nineties) when kids bullied you, you stood up to them by either fighting back or going to tell the teachers. Sure, there were some kids that retaliated in much harsher ways, like gathering up their “posse” or jumping you afterschool but for the most part no real damage was done & our parents never found out about it. Kids certainly didn’t lose much sleep over it all and I don’t remember any kids skipping classes, changing schools, or committing suicide because they were being taunted.
But times have changed. Children are being bullied left & right and unfortunately it’s causing some children to commit suicide. Children bully for many reasons, but the result is the same – it can be very hurtful & cause irreversible emotional damage. So when children take their own life because of someone else’s influence, I think it’s time that the government step in and make the parents responsible.
Think about it – If a child kills someone while operating their parent’s car, the parents can be held responsible. If a child kills someone while using their parent’s gun, the parents can be held responsible? A few years ago many states passed legislation that holds parents responsible for their children’s truancy. If a child engages in bullying (or cyberbullying), why shouldn’t the parents be held responsible? Parents need to watch their children – know the signs of bullying & know the signs of one who is being bullied.
Plenty of parents would probably contend that they can’t control their child’s actions, nor are they able to keep up with what their child is doing 24 hours a day/7 days a week. While that may be true, it doesn’t make you any less culpable. I think it is every parent’s responsibility to know where their children are & what their children are doing every moment of the day. Parents are usually all over this when their children are younger and more defenseless but as children get older parents tend to loosen the reigns a lot more, and in some cases, too much.
As a parent, you have the duty to guard your children’s against negative actions & poor behavioral choices. It is up to YOU to watch what they put in their body, as well as what they put in their minds. This includes parental locks on the television, restricted use on their cell phone and getting to know each & every one of their friends (and their parents too). I remember when I was younger I was not allowed to visit anyone’s house unless my mother had visited there first. My mother wanted to make sure that I was not hanging out in a home where someone was doing drugs or chain smoking cigarettes all day long. My mother wanted to meet any men in the house to be sure that I wouldn’t get molested and check for any household pets that may cause me harm. My mother reviewed my cell phone records to make sure I wasn’t talking on the phone too late or too long (actually my dad did that but my mom told him do it). My parents would periodically check in with my teachers to make sure I was showing up to class on time, not getting along with my classmates or talking too much during class. And that was in high school ya’ll! Yes, I was close to being grown and yes I was able to make decisions for myself, but they were under heavy scrutiny and supervision from my parents. Why can’t parents these days do the same thing? Parents, you are responsible for your child until they are 18 – not until junior high school, not until they get their drivers license, and not until they become a senior – but 18. Therefore, you are responsible for what they say, what they do, what they wear and even what they eat.
As you may have seen on the news, twelve year old Rebecca Sedwick from Florida recently committed suicide because of the bullying she encountered in school. Two girls were, aged 12 and 14, were arrested in connection with this suicide. The mother and father of the older girl went on national TV and defended their daughter — and themselves. They said they often checked their daughter’s social networking activity and don’t believe their daughter bullied Rebecca Sedwick to suicide, as authorities have charged. The 14-year-old’s parents said their daughter would never write something like that and the girl’s Facebook account had been hacked.
Now in Rebecca’s case, she did talk to her mother about the bullying and even changed schools yet the tormenting continued online, authorities said. Rebecca decided she couldn’t take it anymore and jumped to her death at an abandoned concrete plant.
Authorities said about a year ago, the bullying began after the 14-year-old girl started dating Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend. The older girl threatened to fight Rebecca while they were sixth-graders at Crystal Lake Middle School and told her “to drink bleach and die,” the sheriff said. She also convinced the younger girl to bully Rebecca, even though they had been best friends. The two girls were charged as juveniles with third-degree felony aggravated stalking. The sheriff said even if they are convicted, they probably won’t spend time in juvenile detention because they don’t have a criminal history.
Right now, it would be considered controversial to hold parents liable for all of their children’s electronic communications, even if it means saving a child’s life. Even the most careful of parents who think they are monitoring their children’s use of cellphones and social media can miss some of what their kids are doing, but that doesn’t excuse them from doing so.
- Over half, about 56%, of all students have witnesses a bullying crime take place while at school.
- A reported 15% of all students who don’t show up for school report it to being out of fear of being bullied while at school.
- There are about 71% of students that report bullying as an on-going problem.
- Along that same vein, about one out of every 10 students drops out or changes schools because of repeated bullying.
- Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
- Currently, there are no federal laws that specifically apply to bullying. In some cases, when bullying is based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion, bullying overlaps with harassment and schools are legally obligated to address it
If you know of any young person who is been victimized by bullying, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help: