Let's talk about: bullies.
It's been in the news lately and I read something this morning that injected it into my brainwaves, so I thought I'd try to give it some air and get it out here.
Fiction is still welcome, as always.
I've been grateful in the past for the internet not being around when I was in high school, mostly for the lack of distraction. I can't imagine how badly my grades would have suffered if things like YouTube and even Protagonize had been available at a time when I should have been studying for tests and doing homework.
I'm reasonably certain I would've been banned from using the computer on a quite regular basis.
But this idea of cyberbullying? It just takes my gratitude to a whole new level.
Every school has a collection of jerks that enjoy picking on the smaller, the weaker, the less popular. But, worst case, the picked on got to escape - either in the safety of their own home, or moving to another town, or just leaving for university after graduation.
But now? The internet can be accessed anywhere. It doesn't matter where you are, a Facebook comment, a blog post, a YouTube video can reach you. Combine that with the anonymity of this world wide web of ours and there's really no stopping it.
Kids can be incredibly cruel, often having absolutely no idea how much damage their words inflict. And they have so many more tools at their disposal these days.
It makes me worry about what my own kids might face one day.
I know the answer, in part, is to raise them to believe in themselves, to nurture a healthy self-confidence. But it's all so fragile, really. It doesn't take much to bring it all tumbling down.
Seeing these kids turning to suicide to escape their tormentors is deeply, chills me to the bone, terrifying.