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In Theory: What about bullying?

October 14, 2010

Cyber bullying has become more and more commonplace in schools, seemingly replacing or becoming part of common playground bullying. This issue has been brought into the forefront on the heels of the suicide of 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide after his roommate allegedly broadcast a Web video of him having a same-sex sexual encounter. Why do kids bully, do you think? What can parents and school officials do to put an end to it?

Cyber bullying seems to appear to some teens as an acceptable way to harass or bully their victims. After all, they are not physically beating up their victim, right? Cyber bullying is a cowardly act because the one who is perpetrating the crime is sitting at their computer keyboard.

However, the intent to harm or inflict emotional pain upon their victim carries the same responsibility as if they had actually caused bodily injury.

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The Oct. 18, 2010, issue of People magazine has a cover article, titled Teen Suicide Tragedies: Deadly Bullying. The article is well worth everyone's time to read and think about how adults can turn this negative and destructive energy of "bullying" around.

From a spiritual level, I would suggest that parents, educators, religious educators, volunteers, mentors and the court system encourage the important qualities of respect and tolerance for others.

At the same time that we are putting forth the message of respect and tolerance, I would suggest that we all adopt a "No Tolerance" attitude toward all forms of bullying, cyber or otherwise.

We all must take a stand to encourage respect and tolerance and an equal stand toward refusing to accept or tolerate bullying. If the "bullies" realize their actions will carry serious consequences, I believe that we will reduce the incidents of bullying.

The Rev. Jeri Linn

Unity Church of the Valley,

Montrose

They (not all kids of, course) do it because they can, it is technologically feasible and no one is stopping them. Bullying has gone cyber because that is where kids live much of their social lives today. The cyber world is a coarser version of reality, amplifying hateful speech and making bad behavior easier. Factor in that the human brain is still developing into the 20s , especially in the areas governing higher-order thinking. Impulse control comes slower than impulsive thoughts in young people.

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