I was an 80’s and 90’s teen. During my years in middle school I was bullied everyday. I just wanted to think of how my bullying would be different if it occurred to me today. Mind you before I begin this is based off of what I hear from my kids and what goes on with people they know as well as all of the anti-bullying posters in their schools.
The time is 8:00 am. The start of the school day. I made sure to be an aide for a teacher that I liked. I ran off copies in the ditto machine. The one that used the toner that smelled and would run if you touched it to soon. I stapled papers and washed boards. I also did any other little tasks. Today, being a teacher’s aide is almost impossible. Teacher’s no longer have to make overheads. They give their copies to the school secretary to send out to make. Most students have to ride a bus or walk in groups because walking to school in some neighborhoods is so dangerous. I digress. In the morning there was peace in the building. No one could get to me and and least for that little slice of the day I was ok.
If this were today, I could be texted starting before 8 am if I had a phone. Even if I did not a classmate could make a false Facebook page and post things without my knowledge. There would not be a break from the nightmare. The texts and taunts would just continue and be added to well up until the first bell.
Let me go to the overview of the morning. Sure notes got passed and I heard whispers of the names that I had become familiar with. Maybe I would be flashed a piece of creative art from someone across the room. This all stayed in the classroom. Between classes kids would follow me in the hallways taunting me with the same names and shouting obscenities at me. There were teacher’s in the halls between classes and at least they had to stop or quiet down when they were there.
If this were today, my phone would blow up during class with texts that would not only be sent to me, but could be sent to the entire school. My reaction could be videoed for everyone to see. There would not be a break or a reprieve. In the hallway those same teacher’s would be in their classrooms. There would not be any protection or end to what could be done.
Lunch either way was a free for all. Again, at least technology did not make it worse and what happened was only seen by who was there.
The afternoon would be a repeat of the morning with the end bell finally ringing. For me during those years the bell signaled the end of the day. I made sure to take my time gathering my things so that I could walk in peace. Another day over. From there I could go home and be rid of the bullies until the next morning.
Today, again if I had a phone or did not have a phone nothing would end. Just trying to do homework and concentrate could be an issue wondering what new rumors, photos, or videos would be posted. The true bullies could a text one another for what they would do the following day. Each day could escalate.
I am not sure I would have survived today’s bullying. 24 hours a day. Non stop. Everyone knowing. I am not sure I would be strong enough to face that. Yet that is exactly what some students have to face each day. It does not end at the end of the day. There is not a reprieve. Students were originally allowed to carry phones during the day in case of an emergency. Now they have become weapons to taunt with and tease with. The posters are great, yet from what I hear as a parent they are not changing the life of a bullied kid.