There's an active virus in our society, in need of a cure, heavy-handed if need be. This chronic ailment is called bullying, a repugnant act, whether in its traditional, physical-intimidation form, or more recently, the trendy, emotionally-destructive, cyber-kind. Either way, there is hurt for both victims and families; in too many cases, tragically-so. Although generational, this problem has escalated in both use and consequence, by today's voracious-appetite among young people for social-media connection. In times past, bullying was largely an at-school issue , with home, as comforting-sanctuary. Internet, mobile and social sites have now removed that protective barrier, allowing badgering, bullying, meanness, and humiliation to be on the prowl, at home or away, 24/7. As the problem has increased, so, too, the research. Recent findings include the reality that over 50% of middle-school students say they've been bullied; an average of 160,000 students a-day stay home from school, due to bullying; bullying has been a factor in most school shootings; and, more-so than boys, 26% of young girls report being cyber-bullying targets.
It gets worse. According to the CDC, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young people. Victims of bullying are up to 9-times more likely to consider suicide than those not-bullied, with girls,10-to-14, the most at risk. But it's not just young women. One tragic story, of the five, featured in a new documentary titled, "Bully," is that of a 17-year-old male with learning disabilities, the victim of continual bullying, who one day read this message sent to him: "You're worthless. Go hang yourself." He did. Next time, more on the consequences and possible solutions for this hurtful, unacceptable behavior.