Cruel Environments Threaten Youth

by Daija Stepney


Life is very tough for young people, especially those with a diagnosed disability, or anything that affects you, your health, and well-being. In this society, it’s hard to find the right people to associate yourself with because you don’t know if they’re good people or they’re just trying to take advantage of you or worse.

What I’m trying to say is that not everyone is nice. With everything that happens in the news every few months, it would seem that bullying is not taken seriously, but bullying is considered a crime. There are laws and policies in the U.S to prohibit, deter, and punish bullying.

On Jan. 14, 2010, a high school freshman from South Hadley, Massachusetts named Phoebe Prince committed suicide because of people attacking her on social media. According to an article by Nancy Gibbs in TIME Magazine, it was because she dated a popular football player.

As a result of her tragic death, six students were charged with this crime. However, they received a punishment of one hundred hours of community service and probation. How is that okay? When it comes to bullying, those are not the right repercussions. Because of their actions, Prince, who was only 15 years old, committed suicide.

According to stopbullying.gov, studies have shown that 28 percent of students grades 6-8 have been bullied in school. Meanwhile, 20 percent of students grades 9-12 have been bullied. The studies also reported that 30 percent of people admit they’ve bullied others–this is a very low number because there are still people out there attacking others, and they don’t want to admit that what they’re doing is wrong.

When it comes to notifying an adult, only 20 to 30 percent of students seek an adult for help. According to “The World’s Authority on Bullying,” 15 percent of college students reported bullying and 22 percent of cyberbullying incidents have been reported by this demographic. Cyber-bullying can be defined as people using text messages, DM’s, social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), and other sites on the internet with the intent on harming others.

With the same study, 42 percent of college students witnessed someone getting bullied by another student. Unfortunately, it’s not just student on student bullying. 15 percent of the college students in the study witnessed a professor bully another student and 4 percent of the students were bullied by a professor.

Overall, over 70 percent of young people have seen bullying. In schools, the same percentage of staff members have seen bullying. However, in spite of witnessing these serious offenses, these incidents continue to happen on a daily basis.

“The means that bullies have had to access their victims have changed rapidly in recent years,” says WCC sociology professor, Elizabeth Miller. There are many types of bullying that people do to attack others but cyber-bullying is considered the deadly weapon.”

“In the past, bullies would have to harass their targets face-to-face or call a home phone,” Miller said. “But technology has changed, allowing bullies more options, such as text messages, social media, email, and other new means of communication to pursue others.”

Only nine percent of students grades 6 through 8 have reported being cyber-bullied on the internet, of high school students reported at rates of 15 percent were cyber-bullied.

Over 50 percent of young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer have been cyber-bullied because they were expressing their own sexuality in this society.

Albert Einstein once stated that “life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” The real world will hit you real hard. It is not an “alternative fact” that young people are committing suicide because of cruelty. This has to stop. Be nice to someone, help them if they’re in trouble. Just don’t be a jerk.

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