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MARY MEAUX: Are we creating a nation of bullies?

We’ve read painful results of cyberbullying in chilling news stories that makes you want to take action, to do something, to do anything to stop the keyboard warriors who preyed on the innocent victim.

We’ve heard the ugly details; how the victim was made fun of endlessly, they were taunted, called names, reputations smeared and as adults we want to call out to the bully, wondering why someone could stoop so low as to harass another person so viciously.

Have we, as a nation, become so desensitized that we no longer relate to the Dorothy Law Nolte poem “Children Learn What They Live.”

“If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn,” is the first line in the famous poem, but what of children who see their parents or other adults becoming keyboard warriors as well?

How often have we read comments on an Internet post verbally abuse, name call or even threaten someone? There may be a story where people are ready to condemn or even do violence to another person for their opinion. I don’t talk politics but I have seen ugliness on both sides of the aisle and I will leave that statement as is.

Look at what gets posted when a Hollywood actor or a sports star makes a controversial, or even not controversial comment. It’s your prerogative to voice your opinion but what about the name calling and demeaning words? Can’t we just agree to disagree?

Are we creating a nation of mean spirited bullies? How can we expect our children not to bully others if we as adults do?

I’m not saying there is an actual correlation to cyberbullying by youth to adults being just plain rude and bullying online but I believe it is something to consider.

In 2016, Brandy Vela of Texas killed herself after being bullied and cyberstalked. Then in 2017 there was Rosalie Avila, 13, of California and Mallory Grossman, 12, of New Jersey, who both committed suicide due to this form of torture.

These were once happy youth with bright futures ahead of them with loved ones at home but the pain from being picked on cut to their very soul.

Stopbullying.gov is a government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The site provides information about state and federal anti-bullying laws and a bullying prevention-training course to help lead efforts in your local community. It also provides tips on how to lead those types of events, ways to prevent bullying at school and talking points, information for children on what to do if they’re bullied and tips on treating others with respect and protecting yourself from cyberbullying.

Notice that part about “treating others with respect?” That applies to adults as well as kids.

Mary Meaux is a reporter with The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com

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