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Peer pressure isn't what it used to be ...

by Sandy Lindsay

Editorial

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Everyone has heard about 'Amanda Todd', the young teen that recently committed suicide because of bullying, both cyber on social media and actual physical encounters.

She lived in British Columbia.  Think it's only there? Think it's only everywhere but here?  Think again.

There are instances discovered, and many unreported, everywhere ... even in Saugeen Shores, Bruce County.

This supposedly small-town environment where everyone knows everyone, where people grow up together and are friends through their entire school days, is encountering cyber and physical forms of bullying.

The problem is growing, but the question is ... why?  Is it because of social media?  Is it because young people have suddenly discovered they can inflict pain on someone and do it anonymously?  What makes someone else want to hurt a person to the point that the person is driven to suicide?  What pleasure does that person derive out of the tormenting of another even to the point of death?

According to a teen I recently talked with, the situation is getting worse but according to him, it is cowardly behavior.  "Teens are easily hurt," he said.  "They should be able to say 'screw you' to the bully but they can't.  Instead, they are internalizing everything.  Peer pressure isn't what it used to be."

Another teen I talked to said that the bullies are 'sick'.  "They either have no self-esteem, they can't talk to their parents or teachers, or this is a way for them to gain power and control over someone else.  What's really scary is that these bullies are getting a sick kind of  pleasure from what they're doing.  They don't even brag about it to friends so the fact that they are hurting someone is somehow making them feel good inside.  It's really sick!"

Think you know what your kids are doing on facebook and other social media?  Think again.  There was recently an incident where a young 16 year-old girl was beaten and, according to sources, had to be taken to London hospital because of her injuries.  Where did it happen?  Here ... in Saugeen Shores.

Another young girl has recently been bullied through social media.  Where?  Here ... in Saugeen Shores.  Think it happens elsewhere? Wrong.  It's happening here.

Talk with your kids and ... listen to them.  Ask them what's happening.  If you find out that there is a problem ... go to the police. 

This is a dangerous and rampantly growing phenomenon and yes, it is here in Saugeen Shores, in Bruce County, in rural Ontario and everywhere else ... it's time to put a stop to it. 

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012