Monday, August 5, 2013

Bully For You


The rise of the video age has given us some astonishing glimpses into areas of the world more typically kept in the shadows, especially when it comes to the lives of our youth.  I am thinking here specifically about the increasingly frequent release of videos of bullying and outright violence between school children, sometimes very young children, like the one of the school bus incident in Florida. There is a part of me that is unsure if, as talking heads claim, there really has been a rise in violence and bullying among our youth over the past thirty years or if like many other things, we have simply grown more aware and less tolerant of it.  What does seem clear is that depression and anxiety disorders are on the rise, as is suicide, which is one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of 14.  Kids also have far more power to engage in public humiliation, and to a broader audience, than ever before via social media.  Bullying has become such a problem that a documentary film was made about it which spurred a nation-wide movement (see T
he Bully Project below). This makes me question the role of violence in general in our culture.  While I am not ready to claim that violent media content has a causal relationship to violence in youth, our culture does seem to be steeped in violence and aggression, which cannot possibly help.  Ultimately, we are all responsible for providing a safe and productive world for our children to enter, perhaps it is time to take inventory of the role of violence and aggression in our lives and rededicate ourselves to mindfulness, compromise, and reconciliation.


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