Historically bullying was associated with more physical acts. Then we progressed to the emotional side, which can have just as much of a profound impact. Today we have social media, which has arguably promoted 2 things. Firstly it has made it much easier for people to propagate bullying behaviour, with a wider platform and to a certain degree, in a more surreptitious way, as it is not uncommon for it to go undetected. Secondly it has made it much harder for people to find a safe place. Imagine if when you leave the house you are having this negative experience and when you return home, it continues through social media. Now revisit the question at the beginning of this article and decide whether you now begin to understand why people sometimes choose to take their own lives.
It is only when we see people in the public eye take their own lives that we start to question what is happening in our society. Sadly, for every celebrity who has been a victim of a media witch-hunt and consequently taken their own lives, there are many more individuals who do not carry that status who have also seen suicide as the only option due to the very same thing, just through social media. It is difficult to see whether the interpretation matches the intent or whether some of what can only be described as malicious behaviour is more attributed to the fact it has become so easy. There can sometimes be little tangible evidence of the damage caused. Have we now approached a stage where this type of behaviour has been normalised?
As a society we all have a role to play in combatting this behaviour. It isn’t just about regulation, it’s about educating people on the impact of cyberbullying, educating people on the signs to look out for, and encouraging people who may be victims to speak up because this behaviour is not normal and does not have to be accepted. We all have a duty to be more vigilant and support our families and friends to ensure we do everything we can to prevent them from ever feeling there is no way out.