Stop accepting bullying as just a sad fact of life
Now we appreciate how damaging it is, we need to get our act together and outlaw it, writes Carol Hunt
It's not true that Irish children are somehow "crueller" than children in other countries, despite what co-founder of controversial website ask.fm Mark Terebin has asserted. Our kids are neither more nor less kind than those of other jurisdictions. Bullying has been around for centuries, and many of us, adults and children alike, have bullied or been bullied to varying degrees. Sometimes it's viewed as part and parcel of growing up; nasty but inevitable. Sticks and stones and all that ... But just because something has always occurred is no excuse for tolerating its existence, or indeed continuance.
For those who say that bullying is a sad fact of life, I argue that corporal punishment used to be the norm, particularly in the "education" of children. Wife-beating was tolerated as a fact of life. Driving home drunk after an evening in the pub didn't raise an eyebrow in many quarters. But gradually we realised the awful consequences of such behaviours and decided society needed new values. Now we need to encourage a behavioural change regarding our attitudes towards bullying, on and offline. We can do it, but everyone needs to play a part.