After having interviewed past victims of cyberbullying, one thing becomes clear:
Everyone else thinks of them as a joke.
No one takes them seriously. Not the teachers, not the parents, and certainly not the bullies. It’s all a joke to them.
Today marks April 1 – the official day when it’s okay to pull off pranks and make others look and feel like fools.
It’s time for a brief reflection.
Where do we draw the line?
Don’t get me wrong, some pranks can be fun, like the instant colour TV prank in Sweden. It’s a classic. My dad still talks about it to this day.
But more often than not, the “jokes” cross the line, and they stop being funny.
And the effects of such bullying are terrible, long-lasting and very real societal problems. Kids who drop out of school or underperform. Teenagers who suffer from depression and sometimes even decide to commit suicide.
What once started out as a “joke” becomes a serious matter with real-life consequences.
Bullies tend to forget that. We all tend to forget that when we watch reality TV programs like Biggest Loser, Idol, and Big Brother. A lot of what’s on prime-time television can best be described as nothing but bullying for entertainment purposes.
Until something unexpected happens.
Wait… joke’s on me?
Let’s be honest, most of us have at some point been on the receiving end of the “joke”. And then it hits us:
“Wait… joke’s on me?” And we all know how that feels.
So, please think about who joke about (and why). It says more about us than what we might be ready to admit.
Further reading: Are Kids Safe on the Internet?