So do you have ten friends? Did you pick which two will kill themselves this year? Is that too harsh? Sadly, it’s reality and one I hope we can change. Last week I shared the devastating statistics of suicide. Today I’m going to discuss what I believe is an epidemic threatening the lives of our children and our future. Bullying.
When I was in second grade I had a friend, a best friend, who I thought the world of. She was pretty, popular, and had lots of friends and I wanted to be just like her. So when she included me in her circle of friends I was elated. I was the scrawny girl with wavy brown hair and thick glasses. I was not the first choice in the friend department. This was a huge deal.
However, my friend, my best friend, wasn’t nice. She was cold and calculated in her words and was unkind to me but because I was desperate for friendship, I took it. But I couldn’t take it for long. Without fail after the lunch bell rang I would make my way to the nurse’s office with a stomach ache. It was real. My stomach hurt and the nurse would call my mom or grandma to come and get me because it hurt bad enough I couldn’t return to class…and face my best friend.
Looking back it’s clear I was bullied. Back then bullying happened but not to the extent it does now. Back then I was able to go home and hide in safety from the taunts and teasing. That is not the case for kids these days. Nowadays there is nowhere our children can go to get away from the bullies. With the age of technology we have given bullies the lifeline to continue their harassment until the lifeline is ended…permanently.
According to NOBullying.com “Bullied victims are 7 to 9% more likely to consider suicide according to a study by Yale University.” “According to a study by ABC News over 30,000 children stay home every day due to the fear of being bullied.” “According to the Center for Disease Control, cyber bullying suicide rates accounts for 4,400 deaths in teens and younger children each and every year. The suicide rate due to bullying is the third highest cause of death in young people throughout the country.”
Our children, mine, yours, this generation is facing an epidemic of self-destruction. We need not worry about our children dying in war-they’re killing themselves. Did you hear me? They are killing themselves. Unlike my experience, kids cannot escape the torment coming from the “mean kids” when they leave school. Comments like:
“Nobody likes you.”
“You should go drink bleach and die.”*
Follow them through text messages, the Internet, and social media sites and the result is devastating. Sticks and stones may break bones but words…they’re capable of killing.
As adults we should be afraid of a generation of “mean kids” saying whatever they want without understanding the effect of their words. As parents we should consider these statistics a call to arms. If you don’t think your child has experienced being bullied you might want to think again. “83 percent of all girls claim to have some sort of harassment growing up, while 79 percent of boys experience the same harassment.” Those numbers show it is very likely your child may have been a victim at some point. Even more disturbing is the fact that those rates are climbing, which ensures your child WILL be bullied at some point.
These children are our future. They are the next generation of CEO’s, inventors, government leaders and they are killing themselves. We need to protect our greatest asset-the lives of our children-our future depends on it.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide please clink this link and talk to someone who can help.