The Nova Scotia government has a task force in place to try to get a grip on bullying. Now the House of Commons is focusing on the increasingly disturbing problem of cyber bullying.
It’s a hurtful assault on people that is at the same time not highly visible because it involves Internet and social media – making it difficult to see what levels of government can do to prevent it. Yet action and a strong stance are essential.
Another troubling incident has sent shockwaves. News that a young person has committed suicide over unrelenting cyber bullying has cropped up before. The latest sad report involves the apparent bullying-related suicideof Vancouver teen Amanda Todd. Bringing even more trauma to her case was a YouTube video Todd had posted not long before, silent, but with hand-written notes detailing her harrowing experience and the resulting depression and anxiety.
An aunt of the teen, Leana Todd, lives in Truro and is planning a candlelight vigil for Friday night in the town’s Victoria Park. It’s a way to raise awareness of the problem – always a good idea – but the Truro woman’s campaign is also about a stronger stance against this crime that can drag someone’s life into horror.
Indeed, this is one issue that all parties and politicians will agree on, that bullying has turned into a major societal ill. Debate won’t be needed, they must look directly at possible actions. If governments can strengthen laws and penalties it would mark some progress in treating it as serious criminal behaviour.
But catching those responsible will always remain difficult.
Thus any approach from governments, communities, schools, other organizations and families will have to rely to a large degree on awareness. Families, teachers, friends need to be observant about the behaviour of young people.
One challenge is to ensure the issue doesn’t slip below the radar. It must turn into daily awareness, not something that regains attention following yet another tragedy.