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A Report on Bullying by a 12 Year Old


Chloe is a 12 year old (nearly 13 now) 7th grader from Central Illinois. She wrote this amazing piece on bullying. It’s such a powerful and insightful paper and it’s written by a tweenager.

Have you ever been bullied?

In this paper, I will tell you about the effects of bullying. Being bullied is terrible. There are a lot of different forms of bullying. Some forms include physical, emotional, cyber, and sexting. Sexting can be a form of bullying. It is one that is common but no one really talks about, but can still have the same effect as cyber bullying.

There is a lot of bullying in schools. School is where a lot of bullying starts. One effect is not being able to learn what you need in life because you stop going to school because you were being bullied. Another effect is depression, anxiety, drug use, and even suicide (Effects of Bullying, 2017). Usually if you are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender), you get bullied more. If you are LGBT, people treat you like you don’t exist. Usually they will try to hurt you if you are LGBT. You could also not be able to sleep because you are worried about being bullied at school the next day. Being bullied could lead on to drinking and taking drugs, and then you could die from an drug overdose.

Cyber bullying is where people get bullied the most today. People who get bullied on social media will be more likely to have depression (Effect of Bullying, 2017).  Sexting is also a form of bullying. Sexting affects how you look at yourself and could lead to bad self esteem. Poor self esteem is when you think you are ugly, dumb and you say bad thing about yourself. Sexting is when you send a nude of yourself and then the person you sent it to sent to all his/ her friend and then they kept sending it on and on then they would begin to tell stories about you, your body, or your behavior. And then you would have bad self esteem because of what people said about your body type. Sexting could also lead to anxiety because you try to starve yourself because of how you look at yourself or how you think others look at you. Some people even take pills that say it will make them skinnier but actually can’t. You can still die from a drug overdose if you take a lot of those.

The biggest effect of bullying is suicide. There are 4,400 death per year because of bullying. One of the most common suicide death are cutting him/herself, and taking drugs to die from a drug overdose. Another effect that leads to suicide is depression. When  someone suffers from depression, they tend to think everything is sad and you feel lonely. 10-14 year old girls will be at a higher risk of committing suicide study have shown (Bullying and Suicide, 2017).  Also, people who get bullied or have depression may take drugs because they think it will make them happier, but that can and will lead to a drug overdose if you keep taking them.

Bullying is a real problem. We need to put a stop to it. The suicide numbers will go up each year if we do not put a stop to it. People who are LGBT, an outcast, or people with disabilities should be treated equally. No one should be bullied because of who they are, they are all human beings, then they should be treated the same way as everyone else. And not just them, NO ONE should be treated like that. How as a nation or school or anyone, can we put a stop to bullying?

 

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Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why Has The Teen World Buzzing


If you haven’t heard about the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why you’ve been living under a rock. It’s all anyone is talking about right now. This series is based on the Jay Asher novel of the same name. This story centers on Hanna, a teenager who takes her own life due to a series of events. She leaves behind a series of cassette tapes to explain what led to her suicide and the role others played in driving her to that point. Here’s the goodreads.com summary:

The #1 New York Times bestseller and modern classic that’s been changing lives for a decade.

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

The series is not for tweens. It’s definitely for a more mature audience and should be discussed to help the students process what they’re seeing. This is a realistic expression of the rawness of teen life so there’s quite of bit of language, mature content, implied sex, rape, self-injury, and suicide. The book and the series aims to address the difficult issues adolescents face daily and it will be hard for parents and adults to watch or to believe life can be like this.

The topics addressed in the series have long been the focus of Conversations on the Fringe. Here’s a list of links to the topics explored on the show that we’ve written about:

Suicide

Depression

Bullying

Self-Injury

Dating Violence

Sexting

Look for more resources in the next couple weeks on 13 Reasons Why. We’ll be interviewing students, releasing a discussion guide, and will continue to explore themes addressed in the book/series. If your kids aren’t watching this already, they are talking about it daily with their friends that have seen it. Use this opportunity to lean into the difficult issues your teens might be facing but are often so hard to talk about.

Sex (There’s An App For That)


3xgalleryiphonepicIf you’re a youth worker then you already know about the abundance of pornography due to modern technology. If you don’t, you should pay attention. Due to new technology porn has never been more accessible, affordable, or anonymous than it is today. At the same time, sale of Smart phones to adolescents is driving the mobile phone industry. Add these two factors together and you have a new way to engage in an old struggle.

Young people are historically impulsive and vulnerable to addictive behaviors. This is not a revelation to anyone but the temptations and opportunities to act on those impulses have increased significantly in recent years. Viewing pornography almost seems like a rite of passage and current research tells us that first exposure to pornography is occurring at an average age of 11-years-old. The natural but curious nature of sex often makes it hard for even the most convicted teenager to resist the compulsion to revisit these sites again and again.

Accessible – Youth have unlimited means of accessing outlets to pornographic material today; smart phones, apps, tablets, gaming systems, the internet, television, pay-per-view, and peer-to-peer sexting. There are a myriad of ways that kids can intentionally or unintentionally view material that captivate their bodies and brains in a powerful way.

Affordable – Access to porn has typically come with a price tag that served as a barrier for most young people accessing such material. Today, much like a drug dealer that fronts you a sample to “hook” you, porn website offer free samples in short increments with the same intention.

Anonymous – Because much of this is done of personal i-Devices the stigma typically associated with these behaviors is diminished. One can privately browse content for hours and easily delete any browsing record of such indiscretions. Instead of going to the seedy gas station to buy a magazine, or to the backroom of the video store to find the adult movie selection, technology allows those outlets to come directly to the consumer.

I do not want to demonize the adolescent’s desire for sexual expression. God gave us a sexual desire and it is good. It is important to distinguish between normal sexual curiosity and unhealthy/unsafe sexual practices. Nevertheless, we know that when anyone engages in a behaviors repeatedly neurological changes can occur, rewiring our brains to a “new” norm. Compulsive pornography consumption will fundamentally change the way we, especially our youth, will experience sex. Everything from expectations about sex to the physical experience of sex to our ability to attach to others in an intimate fashion will be impacted.

All is not hopeless. In this blog series we will continue to unpack to the problems associated with sex, as experienced as the norm today, and how we might have better conversations with our youth, their parents, and ourselves about sex and sexual behaviors.

Bullying (part 3): Text-Bullying And Mobile Technology


Adults are becoming more and more savvy about protecting kids from cyber bullying—harassment using technology, such as email, instant messaging, or social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. But during the upcoming spring break, when kids have more unstructured time than usual, they are also at risk of exposure to bullying through text messaging (“text bullying”), or even being “sexted,” using the text-messaging feature on cell phones, which a reported 87 percent of teens own (National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2008).

Sexting” is sending nude or sexually suggestive pictures and accompanying text via cell phone. Although the original “sexter” may only send the suggestive message to one person—a girlfriend or boyfriend, for example—that message can be forwarded to anyone in the recipient’s address book, and from there, all across a school or community. Once it’s out there, there’s no way to take back the message or the accompanying embarrassment or humiliation.

There are possible long-term consequences, too. Since school admissions officers and potential employers often look at online profiles, the repercussions of sending an inappropriate message could be endless. And one newspaper reports that sexters can “face felony charges for child pornography” (Borgman, 2009), landing them on the registry for sexual predators, a label they’ll bear for the rest of their lives.

What Kids Can Do About It

According to the Anti-Defamation League, critical thinking is “the best tool against hate” (Tiven, 2003). You can coach kids to use the same problem-solving skills for text bullying that they would use in any other situation. The more they think before pressing the “send” key, the less likely they will be to disseminate a photo or message that will get them in trouble and ruin their reputation.

When kids receive harassing or inappropriate text messages, there are several things they can do:

  • Never, ever respond to the message sender.
  • Report it as soon as possible to a trusted adult (and if that person doesn’t help, tell others until someone does).
  • Save or print the message to keep a record, then delete it from the phone.
  • Only keep contact information of close friends and family in their address book.
  • Talk to their wireless provider about how they can help (such as blocking the messages or changing their number).

What Parents Can Do About It

If critical thinking is a kid’s best defense against text bullying, communication is yours. Just as you talk to your kids about sex, relationships, and drugs, it’s also important to talk to them about how they use their phones, and with whom.  “Supervising and monitoring your kids’ whereabouts in real life and in cyberspace doesn’t make you a nag; it’s just part of your job as a parent” (NCPTUP, 2008).

It’s best not to take away kids’ phone privileges when they come to you with a text bullying problem. That might make them feel as if they’re being punished for someone else’s transgression. Here are some things you can do instead:

  • Talk to your kids about text bullying and sexting, especially the short- and long-term consequences.
  • Monitor their cell phone use: Who are they texting? Who is texting them?
  • Suggest that everyone’s cell phone stay on the kitchen counter or another centralized place while they’re home.
  • Set rules about the kind of behavior that is and is not acceptable—on a cell phone, or anywhere else. Remind kids of the rules periodically.
  • Many cell phone provider’s website allow for varying degrees of parental control available from their website.  This allows for parents to control the hours of which a child may receive or send text/pix messages, block callers/numbers from any activity on that specific phone line, and keep record of your child’s mobile activities.

References

Borgman, L. (2009, February 24). Safe sexting? There’s no such thing. Lexington Herald-Leader.

Brock, K. (2008, May 6). Text bullying. WLS-TV Chicago, IL. Retrieved February 24, 2009 from http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/national_world&id=6124134.

National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. (2008). Sex and tech: Results from a survey of teens and young adults. Washington, DC: Author.

NCH: The Children’s Charity. (2005). Stoptextbully top 10 tips. Retrieved February 24, 2009 from http://www.pkc.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/F1ABA3FA-C050-4913-BD29-0AC7A531F110/0/StoptextBullyingTop10Tips.pdf.

Tiven, L. (2003). Hate on the Internet: A response guide for educators and families. Albany, NY: Anti-Defamation League.

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