By Margarita Williamson, Trending Writer
What it means to bully and be bullied has vastly changed over the last two decades. Bullying in schools has become a big problem across the nation. Advancements in technology have led to the cyberbullying epidemic. A bully is no longer just that kid who steals your lunch money and shoves you into a locker but a person that is able to torment others from behind a computer screen. Bullying affects everyone from the victim to their families. When people are bullied, all aspects of their life are negatively affected. Being tormented has led people to depression, self-harm, substance abuse, and in the most extreme case, suicide. Adolescence is a time when children are coming into their own and being bullied only makes this time more difficult. Being antagonized can have a lifelong impact on people. Often, communities and schools turn a blind eye to the epidemic of bullying. Since recent tragic outcomes of bullying have come to light, ignoring the issue is clearly not the best response.
High Schools and colleges are no strangers to the vicious cycle of rumor spreading. However, when cruel words were exchanged and passed on, in the past, they were easily forgotten. Once something is posted to the worldwide web, it is there forever. The controversial Burnbook app allows users to post gossip and cyberbully anonymously. The Burnbook app has ensued as many as twelve police investigations involving high school students. According to Newser, the police investigations have centered around alleged gun threats, bomb threats, posted nude photos, and bullying that led to a suicide attempt. The app is branded as a free speech platform, but in actuality it serves as a tool for users to degrade and traumatize others.
Bullying has always been a serious issue, but it has not always been taken seriously. Bullying issues were once left for only the victims to sort out. There are now preventive programs for bullying and government intervention. October is bullying prevention awareness month. The goal of bullying prevention is to increase awareness of the impact that bullying has on people of all ages. Schools and government initiatives have been set up in order to address and negate the spread of bullying. Great strides have been made to combat bullying but there is still more that can be done on a community and even at a federal level.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 3rd print edition.
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