Sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you. That’s what I was always taught as a youngster, but times have changed. It is now obvious that those names do and have done more damage than we gave them credit for. It is now referred to as bullying. Names do hurt, the damage is just buried deep and not as visible.
I don’t think of myself as oversensitive, but I do admit I can remember every mean thing ever said to me. For example, I remember a boy taunting me at the age of 12 because I was wearing a training bra. I was an obvious late bloomer and very self-conscious about it. Did the insensitive comment ruin my life? No, but it did hurt enough for me to remember it 45 years later. I have never been at the (intentional) receiving end of the proverbial sticks and stones, so cannot compare the two hurts.
Bullying is rampant in today’s society. Suicide rates are skyrocketing with bullying the leading cause. With the availability and popularity of so many forms of social media, bullies can strike anywhere, anytime, without ever having to meet their victim in person, face to face.
When social media first came to be my eldest son was ten years old. That was in 1999, the year AOL, Yahoo, and MSN all released their own messenger services. All of a sudden it became very easy to (bully) say hurtful things to classmates, (former) friends, acquaintances, even strangers. His teacher was so concerned about the hurtful comments that were going around she organized a parent meeting to warn parents and curb the bullying behaviour. I remember telling my son then “you should never message someone things that you do not have the nerve to say to their face”
That was before every child over the age of six had their own cell phone, in fact, many parents did not yet have one. Most of the messages sent, both good and bad, were done on a home computer. Parents had some control over what and when their children were communicating and who they were communicating with.
Today our teens and preteens (and many adults) are glued to their cell phones, with access to everyone and everything, anywhere. The advances in technology make it easier to do just about anything on a cell phone.
Everything except communicate face to face.
2 thoughts on “Sticks and Stones”
Excellent post! I love the example of the broken glass. I’ve been bullied over the years even as an adult. (For being “just” an RN and not having my BSN) it surprised me how immature some people can be. The most recent time was when I got a cell phone last year. I started getting junk calls within 10 minutes of turning on my phone. It turns out phones are in such big demand that they no longer leave a phone number dead for a year like they used to. The person who had my number owed money cause I got several calls from a debt collector. Honestly, I didn’t mind his calls cause he had such a delightful sexy voice! The one I did mind was a woman who called me and I told her she had the wrong number. She yelled at me and hung up all in a huff then immediately texted me a very dirty picture. Haven’t heard from her since, but I still get a lot of junk phone calls and leave my phone off more than on. Makes me wonder why I bother to keep it.