Social Media Fuels Cyber and Real Life Bullying

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

October is traditionally National Bullying Prevention Month.? During this month, students are urged to stand up, make friends outside their circles, become more aware of others differences and create a surrounding culture that stamps out bullying and promotes unification.

Bullying takes on many faces and attacks many populations.? Unfortunately, one month of awareness is not enough to mend the hole that has been created by the global epidemic of social media interaction.? It is a black hole that increases in size and scope daily and sucks the souls out of people around the world.

Bullying can be seen in:

  • Athletes against nerds
  • Cheerleaders against Emo
  • Strong against weak
  • Straight against gay
  • Whites against black

And the list goes on.? Kids Against Bullying is an organization that was created by PACER Center to bring information and awareness to this issue.? Their mission to bring togetherness, acceptance and kindness is one with an important message we should all follow.

At the grade school level, students fight to find identity.? This struggle leads to difficult life choices and paths.? It is in this pressure driven culture that schools have created where bullying has become one of many pronounced effects.

As we grow, mature and evaluate our lives, the natural progression is toward awareness, acceptance and a new level of compassion.? Unfortunately, as adults, the bullying issue is as impacting as it is with the younger generation.? We just don’t seem to be acknowledging it.

steve1During the recent Miss Universe pageant, Steve Harvey made a mistake crowning the wrong Miss Universe contestant.? I did not see the event, but the pulsating social media buzz came to my attention early this morning.? Like so many of us, Steve Harvey made a mistake.

Like:

  • A grammatical or erroneous message on the internet
  • In the heat of passion, calling your lover the wrong name
  • Releasing a product with a defect
  • Playing the wrong first song at a wedding
  • Sending a package to the wrong person

In Mr. Harvey’s case, it was witnessed by millions around the world.? He was ridiculed and defended over the course of the next few hours.? Was there harm?? Yes, emotional, but one he apologized for over and over.

If you look closely at the wave of comments made on social media, not just last evening but everyday, you will see something very eye-opening:? Bullying is all around, even in adults.

Donald Trump supporters and Trump himself are some of the most visible supporters of bullying with bumper stickers that say “Hillary Clinton for Prison” and comments demeaning other candidates and former political figures.

Anti-Obama supporters make blanket accusations and insults on a daily basis.? Many are based on personal frustration; not fact.? Ask Rush Limbaugh, he leads the brigade.

Folly Beach
Folly Beach

In a recent posting on the I Love Folly Community Site on Facebook, this image of colored hammocks under the pier stirred up over 100 comments, many were negative attacks at one another about entitlement and safety.? This was only a symbolic look at the many colors of Folly Beach, the coastal lifestyle and the feeling of taking a step back from life and relaxing to watch a magical sunset.? This image turned a quiet coast city into a verbal battlefield.

bully1Are most of these comments made at public figures, yes, because that is the life path they chose, but once you peel the layers, you will see it is going on at all levels.

There are many factors contributing to the hatred and suffering leading to these cowardly attacks.? The economy, limited career opportunities, cost of living issues, over-population and cultural differences all play a role in the anguish that leads to these actions.

Awareness is nice and necessary, but it isn’t changing human behavior.? We still have a tremendous amount of work and it will take many more generations to get it right.? Through generations of neglect, limited family nurturing and lower standards of accepted behavior, we have dug a deep hole.? Now we must look to ourselves, family and friends to find the answers to correct our wayward direction and more us toward a better place.