Younger Voices: An Eye For An Eye? - JuniperCivic.com
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Originally published in the June 2011 Juniper Berry Magazine

Younger Voices: An Eye For An Eye?

One of my favorite quotes is when Gandhi once said that, An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. This means when people retaliate bad actions with more bad actions nothing is solved and people are hurt. It is the same with bullying, only most of the time the victim doesn't strike back. Sometimes the victim responds violently toward themselves, for example the student from Rutgers University who committed suicide due to bullying. This case was a result of cyber-bullying, a recent form of bullying where internet use and social networking are taking bullying to another level. Abuse does not always have to be physical; words are hurtful especially on the internet with its wide range and speed of spreading hurtful words. I would like to thank a really cool kid Christopher for giving me this idea for this article and through my research I have found this is a very important problem in our society today.

There are many forms of bullying, including direct bullying with physically harmful attack, or the direct contact with mean words or threats. With the growth of the internet and network sites becoming available to thousands of people including kids my age, cyber-bulling is growing too. This form of bullying is where someone is offending or threatening a victim using things such as phone calls, texts, e-mails, posting on social network sites, etc. There is also gang-bullying which, like direct bullying, is someone directly offending someone, but this type of bullying is done by a group of people.

Bullies look for several things in their victims. Children who bully others are often times dealing with some issues in their life that may make them feel insecure or angry and they look to lash out at others who appear to be weaker than them. Victims are often someone who excels at something that the bully cannot achieve or a rival of the bully in school or sports. Many victims are approached when alone. Everyone should strive to be the best in what they do, school work and sports, and not be afraid of bullies. Be aware of someone who is being hurtful or taunting and make sure to put a stop to it right away before it gets out of hand. Tell your teacher, or your parent, or a sister/brother or trusted friend. We should also remember to be humble in general, be kind to others and don't show off as this can direct attention to you and create a bullying situation. Also if you are a bystander and you see someone being attacked or taunted, don't be quiet, SPEAK UP! Even if you are friends with the bully, which is actually a common factor, speak up! If you stop to think about your actions towards others and realize that you may be the bully you have three things to do.

1. Put yourself in the place of your victim and see how much it would hurt you for that to be said or done to you. Remember the situations in your own life that make you feel helpless and insecure and realize that making someone else feel miserable does not make your own problems get any better.

2. STOP what you are doing RIGHT THEN AND THERE, because what you're doing is a terrible thing. Think of someone you admire or idolize and think about whether this is the way they behave. Unless you idolize the Joker, this is not model behavior.

3. The most important. Find someone you really trust and talk to them about things that bother you. Your parents are a good start, but it doesn't always have to be family. It could be a teacher or friend or someone who you have a lot in common with. Talk things out and things will get better.

A reminder to my column readers – if you would like to contribute to your community you can join the JUNIPER JUNIORS. They are a young, friendly, and very productive group that is working towards a strong community. The days of the meetings for the Juniper Civic Association are listed on the back of the Juniper Berry, come see what is going on in the community and you can sign up for the Juniper Juniors and share your ideas for the community. Also I would like to announce that now you may contact me at my Facework page with any questions, comments, or suggestions. I will try to answer back to all of the readers in the following articles. Be very proud of our community, we live in a really great town in the best city in the US.