It’s hardly a surprise that the focus of this year’s Anti Bullying Week is cyberbullying. It’s a word that has only entered the lexicon in recent years, but it has become such a huge problem that it’s understand why organisations such as the Anti-Bullying Alliance are doing all they can to stamp it out.
As someone who has just turned 31, age is on my mind. I am not someone who fears or worries about getting older, but I sometimes look back on my teenage years and think how life was a lot simpler then. But I have often said that I am glad that my formative years happened before the explosion of technology that teenagers have access to these days. I didn’t have a mobile phone until I was eighteen, and even then, of course, it was a pretty standard handset that could make and receive calls and text messages.
These days teenagers have the latest handsets and can communicate with each other at the touch of a button. With this comes the potential for people to use the relative anonymity of sites like Twitter to bully and abuse. We’ve all read enough news stories recently to know that it is not just teenagers who are affected; famous women have had death and rape threats, other celebrities are abused on a daily basis, and sadly, every couple of months seems to bring news of a teenager taking their own life because they have been the victim of bullying, cyber or otherwise.
I consider myself lucky that the instances in my life where I have felt bullied or victimised have been few and far between. But I also know that on the few occasions when it has happened to me, it has made me feel wretched. I can’t imagine having to live with it on a regular basis. Technology has moved on in such a huge way in recent years, one can only hope that attitudes will begin to catch up, and people will begin to realise that bullying someone is not acceptable. And hopefully, the victims will realise that help is available in many, many forms.