Bullying is ascendingly becoming an alarming problem in the U.S. With social media at the fingertips of virtually every pre-teen and teen, these problems have taken a different direction. Maybe before social media a student or child could have a break from bullying at school when they finally made it home, but now bullied students have no escape.
According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, 90% of students who report being cyber bullied have been bullied at school. In 2014 14.8 % of high school students stated they were bullied online. These statistics are no surprise when LGBTQ students, students who struggle with weight issues, disabilities and even minorities are affected offline at high rates. The National School Climate Survey says that 63.5 % of students who identify as LQBTQ felt unsafe due to their sexual orientation and 43.9% felt the same because of the gender they identify with.
The American School Health Association reports that 64% of students enrolled in a weight loss program are teased or bullied about their weight. They also stated that 84% of students have witnessed someone being bullied because of their weight. Unfortunately, it seems these bullied students are left to wander their school halls and deal with their bullies all alone.
This “bully culture” that schools across America have become accustom to is not only downright mean, it can turn deadly. Alyssa Morgan, described by her mother to be a joyful young girl who loved makeup, video games and drawing would become withdrawn and depressed. Tragically she would take her own life; no longer able to handle the pressure of being maliciously bullied every single day at school. Before he death, Alyssa eventually was taken out of school to attend daily therapy sessions but that didn’t stop the cyber bullying. Investigators believe the distraught student received a message or notification that would be the last straw, unfortunately parents and police could not unlock her phone to see this message. This student is one of many who have been bullied to the point of feeling so hopeless; they commit suicide. Like for Alyssa this is a massive problem for LQBTQ students.
The CDC released information stating there is a connection to bullying and teen suicide but only due to the symptoms victims of bullying exhibit. Center for Disease Control says that bullied students often show symptoms of anxiety, depression, and have greater risk of mental health issues.
Do you know if your child is being bullied? Or worse, could your child be the bully? As more social media outlets come out each year, and as the phones get smarter; parents and educators alike must take control of their children and schools. Summer is finally coming to an end and with that is the start of a new school year. Parents should require themselves to remind their children to be respectful and understanding of everyone despite their race, weight, sexual orientation or gender preference.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children and adults ages 10-24. Although these suicides are not all from being bullied, it is from lack of caring for one another. This problem is no longer a dirty secret swept under the rug and it is clear that an issue is present; it is time to act.