So I just came back from the Youtube. Just watched Teens React to Bullying (Amanda Todd) by The Fine Bros.
American teenagers in that video are such fine youngsters (though some cursed, but that's quite normal...there) and they can speak frankly about the topic discussed, that is bullying. For those who haven't watched the video yet, click [HERE].
Amanda Todd hanged herself to death on October 10th 2012, and this video was posted on September 7th, 2012. So I was a year late, more than a year late actually since I'm not quite interested with the trending news on Youtube. Amanda was cybersexually assaulted, bullied at schools (she attended a few middle schools) and mentally depressed. A poor kid she was, she died at the age of 15.
So in my opinion, here are some lessons I learned from watching and reading articles about Amanda Todd's story.
1. Children nowadays are exposed heavily to current technologies; social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc and while ordinary chatrooms are quite an old-school option for socializing; webcam chatrooms are a big hit for young adults these days. It's quite inevitable, really, since kids as young as a 7-year-old could make her own facebook account, have his/her own smartphone with the application of whatsapp and free mobile internet. My 8-year-old cousin have her own tablet pc.
So here's some precaution should be taken by parents. You bought your child a smartphone, a tablet pc, a notebook. Don't just give it to him/her, teach your child the do's and don'ts, and why. Don't just tell what's not and what's ok, they'll get curious and try their hands on that. And when they did, example browsing through a porn website; they wouldn't tell you, because they know they'll be scolded for that.
If you think it's hard to explain to them, then just don't buy it for them. It's easy. And it saves your penny. Say that they blamed you for not keeping up-to-date with the latest gadgets, use that as a reward if they excel well in studies, you'll give them the gadget they want.
2. In a room by oneself, a teenager was webcam-chatting with an adult man. You hate to invade your child's privacy, but this is not the time keep up to that rule. It's your responsibility to take care of your child. Amanda was webcam-chatting with a full-grown man and was blackmailed, cyberly-blackmailed. It's scary you know, the internet. Her picture was out there, forever. It can't be retrieved or deleted. because the internet always have a copy of everything. If it's not in one site, it may be in one's computer. So advise your child, to take precaution in everything. Don't just reveal EVERYTHING to someone you don't know very well, and on the internet as well. Your pictures, your informations, your identity might be taken easily since hackers are everywhere.
Most importantly, don't just easily upload any pictures of you, as some porn-sites managers loved to photoshopped peoples faces to their model's and you'll probably be shocked one day to see one of you.
3. Teenagers are that growing period where everything is sensitive. The bridge from being a kid and transforming rapidly into an adult. Through teenage years, shocking realities about life appears, and this is the time to be close to your child. Listen to their story, keep a thin line between their private space that you can and cannot invade, always there to give advises, but don't just think with your own head. Being a parent, as what I learned from parents I've met and mine, is being considerate. Some young adults think that their parents are the best councellor. That's a big honor, actually. So put aside those smartphones and laptops, make some time, sit down with your child, and talk about how her/ his life had been on that particular day, particular week or month. If anything is wrong, don't hide. Actually, practice this since their younger age. So they would know whom to tell things they cannot tell to their teachers, parents, sisters or brothers. So they wouldn't have to go find a stranger that's willing to listen to their story and then took advantage of that to blackmail and bully them. So their wound wouldn't get deeper.
Teenage years are important years in growing up. Most memories are made during this period, and it affects their whole lifetime, of who they will become.
I've been bullied in my primary school years. Oh well, many people did get bullied at that age. I'm not a cute girl, not pretty, not attractive. I just want to befriended everybody, but I'm too shy to make the first step. To approach and talk. So anyone who came to me and talk first and say they'll be friends with me, was very much appreciated. I feel honored. So I was told to do things, I did. For the sake of friendship. I was told to write the notes for them, I did. For the sake of friendship. I was told to not tell anyone that I completed their exercises, I did. I even made their's better than mine. For the sake of friendship. Until my sister realized that I made too much notes and homeworks for a 7 year-olds and 8 year-olds, she scolded saying, "How could you let yourself doing other's works!" and said I was being used, and it's not a good thing. Not for the sake of friendship.
And so she told me to say my stand, that I wouldn't do their exercises and copied the teacher's notes on the blackboard for them anymore. But instead I was alienated.
But some kids wanted to become my friend then. ( I don't know perhaps they thought I'm cool. haha) And so my alienation period doesn't last long.
But one thing remains, I'm still a shy kid. Some popular and beautiful kids (whom, of course, everyone wants to be friends with) chose their friends, and of course I'm not even in the list. So I was pushed aside most of the time. When told to form groups, I'm always among the last choices. Seating arrangements; if I was paired with them, during recess they'll ask me to change seats. Worse, my bags and books were already placed elsewhere. To the seats nobody wants.
I didn't remember when I decided to stop putting 'making friends' as my priority at school but study diligently so people will treat me better. It works. So until my secondary school years were over, I've lived to that. I guess people see me as a cold-hearted girl, not even attractive. But I kept it balanced. Since I do things my own way, I lived like I didn't care. People find me funny that way.
But my story wasn't as harsh as Amanda's. Why?
I have sisters that cares.
I have parents that makes time for my problems.
I have my own life; it's mine and I'm gonna make the most out of it.
(This is written opinion-based. Please don't make it a reference for professional purpose.)