Part 2: Battle Against Bullying
It’s a type of relentless torture, that’s also a crime.Officer Jason McAmbley of Bangor PD says with the ever evolving world of technology, bullying is now an activity that can take place 24/7,”It’s unsupervised. so many kids are using their cell phones or smart phones or their computers and their parents literally have no idea what going on until police come at their door and say we’re here to speak to your child.”Bullying can lead a person, regardless of their age, to be charged with harrassment or criminal threatening.With social media and smart phones, a new type of bully has emerged….the cyberbully.Officer McAmbley says the mean words can spread like wildfire, “It’s convenient, its anonymous, you can put a message out and a bunch of other people can pick it up and spread it to their 2 friends and so on and so on.”But the Maine Legislature, along with schools around the state, have stepped up to put a stop to the bullying epidemic.Earlier this year, lawmakers signed into action a bill which requires every school to adopt a bullying prevention policy by August 2012. It includes protection against harrassment by electronic means.”The people that are doing the picking on these are the people that its too much work for them to rise to the other persons level so they try to sink them down to theirs.”The teenage years can be difficult, especially if you’re the one being singled out.Doctor Dan Johnson of Acadia Hospital has treated patients who have been bullied, “These are young people who are devastated, who have their core shaken by this kind of attack.”While harsh words may be typical classroom chatter, it’s not just a part of growing up when words and actions can leave a lasting mark.”Because again, they felt already bad about themselves and now they have almost a validation that other people don’t like them as well.”Kids who are the victims of bullying are sometimes on the brink of a breakdown.Dr. Johnson says the effects of bullying can vary, “That means they will be often, they will be trying to avoid contact in anyway with the person who’s perpetuating this, so that means they may skip school, they may not walk home the same way, they may avoid their peer group, they may not eat lunch in the cafeteria.”But bullying can also lead to a victim physically harming themselves, through cutting, or in more drastic cases, suicide.And at an age when peers can have such an influence,according to Dr. Johnson,it’s the parent’s who need to make their presence known.”When you really want to do is, when something happens, your child will come to you as a resource, if they see you as a resource, someone who is not going to be overly reactive or overly judgmental about it, then you’re more likely to have success in working with them.”With internet access literally at a person’s finger-tips, it seems that the battle against cyber-bullying is just beginning.