Before I give you any context on this post, I want you to do something for me. Watch the video below. It doesn’t have to be the whole thing, just the first 30 seconds will do:
Now tell me, did you laugh? Smile? Wonder what on earth this kid is doing? He’s actually a Canadian boy who, a while back (you may remember) became a YouTube hit for clumsily acting out some Star Wars moves in front of a camera. He was dubbed the “Star Wars Kid”.
If you don’t know the details about his story, they basically go something like this. His classmates took this video and put it up online to ridicule him. This little boy was tormented at school- tormented and harassed because of this clip. He became famous online, but only because people laughed.
I had NO idea about any of this until today. I’ve seen the video many times and I’ll be 100% honest, I laughed years ago when I first saw it. Not meanly, I just thought it was a funny clip online. I had NO idea that this poor boy was a victim of bullying.
For one of my English courses this semester, we’re required to write a research essay on one of the topics given by our teacher. The first one that caught my eye when I got the assignment last week was bullying. There are a lot of reasons that I chose this topic:
1. I think it’s important to spread awareness on bullying (my topic in particular is going to cover cyberbullying, the kind that the boy above went through)
2. I’ve been a Psychology student for as long as I can remember (I graduated from Psych in college) and I think bullying is the perfect topic to answer the question ‘why?’. Why do kids feel like they have the power to do that to someone? Why do they WANT to?
3. When I was 12 years old, I was a “Star Wars Kid”- I was bullied for almost an entire year. It wasn’t nearly as bad as what some other kids have to go through, but I was definitely bullied and it got bad enough that parents had to get involved. I had no escape from it during that time- my bullies found me in the school hallways, in class, by e-mail and by phone. It was awful. Luckily it got solved really quickly and by the time I was 13 it was all over. As we all grew up my “bullies” apologized to me and we were able to be friends, but that first year of high school was HARD.
I’m not exactly EMBARRASSED to talk about being bullied, but it’s still hard to write about. It’s hard because it means accepting that there was a time in my life when I wasn’t in control; when other people thought they had the right to invade my personal life and laugh at my expense. I have no idea WHY they chose ME to bully, I don’t even remember exactly how I would handle it each day. I just know that I was very upset. My mother was very worried.
Today, it is so easy for kids to be bullied and to have NOWHERE TO GO, nowhere to hide. Cyberbullying is a SCARY thing. There are way too many kids that go through this every single day. I know that even people I work with have kids as young as 10 and 11 who get picked on. I once talked to an EIGHT YEAR OLD who told me that there was a girl in her school who made fun of her. EIGHT YEARS OLD.
There are so many teenagers who commit suicide after being bullied, so many kids who are afraid to go to school because it means facing the person that is making their life a living hell.
So why am I writing this incredibly depressing post? I just wanted to take a minute to remind you of what it’s like to be a teenager and to go live through all of that. We’ve all been the victim of some kind of mockery, and it’s NOT fun. It’s important to remember to help people who are in trouble when you see it- for me, it was telling that eight year old girl that she was beautiful and talking to her mom about how ridiculous kids can be. Little things can help.
I’m personally excited to write my paper. I hope that I can do the topic justice, because I know that a lot of lives have been lost from bullying & they deserve to be remembered. When I watched the video of the Star Wars Kid above today while I wrote this post I was no longer laughing or smiling- I was on the verge of tears. I now realize how SAD it is, and how inappropriate it was of me to indulge the awful people who made it circulate in the first place.
I’ll always be a “Star Wars Kid” at heart, even though bullying is far into my past now. But sometimes, it’s important to dig up those long lost feelings to remember all the teenagers who can’t get past it. They certainly deserve it.
Tell me, have you ever been bullied? What was your situation like? Have you ever helped someone who was being harassed or tormented?