How many times have you seen bullying happening online?
I see it most days on the internet. Talk of bullying from so many angles! And I repeatedly ask myself “how is this still a thing? So after some thought, and some carefully worded questions to people who have mentioned being bullied, I’ve come to some conclusions.
Let me give this comment some explaining. I was bullied at school, I think most people are right? I grew up in a small’ish village in England, was fairly thin growing up and my parents separated when I was young – this apparently gave my peers the right to mock and bully me during my school years.
Adult Tracy doesn’t really mind (years of moving on..) But the reality of it is, it is still very much a school thing. The rate of teenage suicides shows this, what is even more shocking is how high New Zealand’s rates are!! New Zealand sees twice as many teenage suicides than the USA and a shocking 5 times more than Britain. WOW!!
Before I started researching bullying for this blog I had absolutely no idea how bad this topic still was.
Now I know, I am shocked!! Horrified! Left feeling WTF! (Excuse my language). And most importantly – WHY!!!
I always thought of bullying as a sort of right of passage – high school – bullying, French, homework – part of growing up. How wrong I was!!
As I mentioned earlier, it seems to be everywhere. Within school, workplaces, shops, all over the internet, within networking groups, the list goes on…
Which is what eventually led me to contact some people who had mentioned it and ask some careful questions. I just wanted to get my head around how they identified they were getting bullied, how it made them feel and how they dealt with it.
I’ll give a vague outline into what I’ve learnt because privacy is important to me and I respect that in others.
The biggest common factor I noticed with every single person I spoke to was the group mentality. I spoke to over 10 people in total and every single one mentioned it coming from a group. Even as far as to say that the group recruited others! My jaw literally dropped when I first read this!
Over half of the people I spoke to were figures of power or deemed to be figures of power.
I’m not joking when I say they got personal! So personal!!! Shocking, absolutely shocking! Some of the things these people told me.
When I started thinking about this blog, I started with an ‘internet/lack of tone/lost context’ angle. And while there may be some of the behaviours in there, at the end of the day, bullying is bullying. Whether the tone is lost or taken out of context, if it’s repeated and/or is personal – that’s crossing a line.
I grew up being told, “if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say it”. And I stand by that today. If you hear me say something that sounds mean I can guarantee you it has been taken out of context.
I believe everyone has a right to an opinion, and the freedom to speak it. At what point does that become ok if the person you are opposing is feeling bullied? I love that we live in a world full of diversity and differences. What I don’t like it this whole bullying mentality.
One final thing
This is a really sensitive subject, and I could honestly type for hours with the information I’ve learned on this journey. But my daughter is about to finish her ballet class and I must close.
So here are my final thoughts. Every single thing we do, our children are watching us. The next generation of people on this planet is watching our every single move. Let’s show them that its ok to be different. Let’s celebrate our diversity and let us stand up to the people who can’t find it in themselves to keep mean thoughts to themselves.
If you are feeling bullied, or have dealt with bullies – please comment or message me!
We are a team and must stand together!