Beneath the surface


Mornings begin with dread, and the day continues with a constant fear. You continuously beg your parents to stay home, not wanting to return to a place where you seem to be criticized for every action. As you walk through the halls, you hear your name under your peers’ breaths, directing slurs of insults your way. Returning home brings relief and safety, untilĀ  you log into your computer to find they have followed you home, too. Your name accompanied with slander now resides across all social media platforms for millions to see.

This is bullying. The constant intention to hurt one mentally or physically. A majority of people dismiss this type of behavior as gossiping, cat fights, or teens being teens and simply not getting along. In reality, even the most harmless mental or physical tormenting can cause students emotional trauma that may be detrimental to their well being.

At the root of the issue are the bullies themselves. Bullies don’t just push people’s buttons for the fun of it, and the common misconception that bullies put others down to feel better about themselves is often times simply untrue. Many may be acting upon a bad home life or negative past experiences, while others seek acceptance in groups or a sense of power and entitlement.

Bullying often falls into one of four categories: verbal, physical, indirect and cyber. Verbal bullying is commonly associated with name calling and insults. Physical is associated with the typical conception of the “bully” seen in movies such as shoving in the hallways and sticking heads in toilets. While those are the two most recognizable, indirect and cyber bullying seem to be surfacing more and more as the internet and social media become more prevalent in our society.

Those subject to indirect bullying find themselves as the center of gossip and harsh rumors which often deteriorate their reputations, although they may not be directly confronted by those spreading these slanderous fallacies.

Cyber bullying is most prevalent within todays social media obsessed culture. With countless websites, blogs and chat rooms, it’s easy for bullies to access and monitor every aspect of a victim’s life. They can easily display false or exaggerated information with negative intent to hundreds if not thousands of the victims acquaintances. Furthermore, once these harassing comments surface they remain within the inter webs and cannot be removed. Therefore, they may follow the victim for the rest of their life — destructing their mentality along the way.

Bullying can cause serious issues to the victims, whether physical or mental. Those targeted may become depressed, experience loneliness or anxiety and could even retaliate (sometimes violently). Achievements or success in school can be compromised and some students may drop out all together to avoid the tormentors. Constant harassment can lead even lead to suicide or self-harm.

One comment, one rumor, one rude glare can send a person over the edge. Bullying can damage a victim permanately, so think before you do. The seemingly harmless teasing you may see or do, could possibly not be so harmless.