A couple weeks ago while we were at Publications Camp, a girl connected to several of the students killed herself.
It’s not the kind of phone call you want your kids to get. It’s a phone call that takes place all too often these days.
The girl, a kid in high school, was a victim of cyber-bullying, but she was also fighting depression.
So often teenagers are told their depression isn’t real, that they’ll “get over it,” but in the moment, that promise of being fine one day seems more of a fairy tale than truth.
Last year we did a story in the newspaper about how social networking has made bullying so much worse. Used to you might have trouble with a handful of kids. Now that handful can be hundreds. If the person being bullied has a smart phone, that’s non-stop harassment about their clothes or their hair or their sexual preference or their choice of music or who stole whose boyfriend and who’s a skank-ho. When I was a kid, you could walk away, today the bullying follows you everywhere you go.
I didn’t know the girl who took her life. She didn’t go to my school. But I’ve seen plenty of others like her, just getting by, trying to hold on to the idea that it will get better some day.
We’ll definitely be doing another cyber-bullying story this year. Until it stops, we’ve got to.