Screams for help - the silent bullying epidemic
The silent epidemic - bullying - is being confronted with screams for help. Incidents of cyber bullying, workplace bullying and violence are being reported like never before.
The emerging pattern of teenage suicides, evidently linked to cyber bullying, marks a new-age epidemic that must be stopped.
In 2003, Melbourne medical experts described bullying as the silent epidemic. But now, it’s loud and clear how bullying is impacting on our generation living in cyberspace. And it’s not just in cyberspace where bullying is rife. It’s in the playground, the workplace and on the streets.
Technology is always changing the shape of our world, but with overuse and abuse, it is proving to be harmful to relationships.
Melbourne psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack has reported that some of her teenage clients are living in cyberspace for more than 16 hours a day and about 50 per cent of her teenage clients suffer from computer addiction.
So there are plenty of zombie-like teenagers, desperately trying to stay awake at school and tune in to their education. They are suffering - a result of a destructive cultural shift.
Our busy world has meant relationships are being compromised. People chat in cyberspace in favour of spending real time together. Emails are sent from colleagues sitting two metres from you. There are many modern-day behaviours that appear to be socially destructive.
When people miss out on the security and comfort of a happy family, behavioural disorders can develop and the effects spill into real world - and cyberspace.
There are too many bad feelings floating around cyberspace. These insecurities manifest as bullying and threats.
The reality is bullies are afraid. They are angry. They are driven by ill feelings.
The chances are bullies are exposed to an unstable home environment, where name-calling and appalling behaviour is commonplace.
Bullies try to take what they don’t have - confidence, ability and positive feelings.
You have to fight their strong grasp. Fight it - they grip hard. And yes, they can be clever.
Bullies try to undermine you and leave you feeling exposed. They try to invade your soul and to tear it apart.
Bullies are clever at manipulating one’s feelings. They seek out to make you feel terrible about yourself. In sensitive souls, it is a recipe for disaster.
We’ve seen what can happen. People feel so helpless they want to die.
So let’s take ownership.
What most bullies don’t realise is nothing is stronger than the human spirit.
The mind has to resist these negative forces. You have to repel those forces. Take a stand. Be assertive.
Bullying issues are appearing in headlines globally, and cyberspace is a huge part of that. What will kill this alarming epidemic?
Quite simply, people need home security, love, happiness and time to invest in relationships in the real world.
- Julie Tullberg is a Herald Sun journalist with expertise in educational psychology.
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