I think in a way everyone has experienced some form of bullying, whether you were a victim or the one dishing it out. When I was in grade school I was a victim of a vicious bully who made me feel terrible about myself and pushed me to a point of not wanting to go to school. All I can say is that I am so glad that social media didn’t exist back then. Social media has brought on a whole new level of bullying often referred to as cyber bullying. Personally I think that cyber bullying is such a scary idea, especially because a lot of websites don’t take responsibility for the bullying that takes place in their spaces.
Last week a 14 year old high school freshman, Jamey Rodemeyer, committed suicide because of cyber bullying about his sexuality. Jamey posted videos on Youtube, one in specific he called "It gets better", where he talks about his experiences with bullying. He was a blogger on Formspring, where he was able to openly discuss his sexual orientation and able to ask questions and get feedback from kids who were in the same position as him. Unfortunately, this social media device, like many others, was used as a tool for cyber bullying. Anonymous users left cruel comments and continually told Jamey to kill himself; sadly these bullies were successful in their message.
Jamey was one of Lady Gaga’s biggest fans and when he posted a farewell message on her Twitter, Lady Gaga was devastated and wanted to make a contribution to Jamey’s cause. She decided to tribute her song "Hair" to Jamey at the iheartradio festival in Vegas. Lady Gaga has taken to Twitter to get the message out that Jamey’s death will not be in vain! She plans to meet with President Obama to discuss ways to prevent bullying and build awareness around it.
I decided to do some research on bullying prevention, since I was a victim of bullying. I work at a school and I decided to ask some of the kids how their school helps inform them about bullying. They told me about We Day which happens tomorrow and is sponsored by Free The Children. This concert is designed to educate youth about bullying and building confidence. There are many other organizations out there to help inform youth about bullying, it is our job to help spread the message and stop the suffering of kids like Jamey!
What do you think we could do to help raise awareness and stop bullying?