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Media Coverage of Suicide Caused by Bullying


I found this story on Drudge Report this morning. I just cannot believe that a 7 year old could truly want to die; his mind is too undeveloped to appreciate the finality of death and I can’t help but think the idea was implanted in his mind somehow.

Take the Spotlight Off of the Morbid

English: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, th...

I think the media should stop covering teen suicide brought on by bullying so extensively. Intense media coverage almost never enlightens the discussion of an issue in this country. We need to remember that this issue involves kids and teenagers who feel isolated and hopeless – lost at sea with no shore in sight. Some trouble kids in the audience may already feel helpless and alone, why show them stories of teens committing suicide because they feel helpless and alone? Troubled kids see themselves in those portraits. This plants a deadly seed in fertile soil. They need to understand that they are valuable in and of themselves and that their life matters. Many of them have undiagnosed depression or bipolar or are misdiagnosed as ADD. They are suffering and they can’t see the full scope of the causes. Many troubled youths believe their dispositions, and thus the bullying they incur, are innate or the result of their social ineptitude and that the existing state of affairs is inalterable. Heavy media coverage of bullying related suicides augments an already volatile situation with morbidity – which is, in my opinion, scandalously irresponsible. The answer is more counselors, social workers and advances in early detection and treatment of both, potential and actual, bullies and victims.

In Defense of Bullies

Bullies are often troubled kids themselves. Some are not; some bullies are just sadistic. But most bullying is the result of distilled anger, blind insensitivity or is motivated by ignorance and prejudice or some combination thereof. These kids need early intervention and help lest they become the sad caricatures of adult bullies portrayed in many It Gets Better videos. I have been both bully and victim in my life and I can assure you that neither made me happy nor fulfilled. Angry children are the ones who get no attention at home, the children they victimize often get negative attention at home. A taste of bitter irony; the children who get no attention have a wealth of attention to devote to others via bullying while the recipients of their wrath in fact want nothing more than to be left alone. Both running from situations they have no control over and both feeling helpless. Again I say the answer is more counselors, social workers and advances in early detection and treatment of both, potential and actual, bullies and victims.



2 thoughts on “Media Coverage of Suicide Caused by Bullying

  1. I think the reason that these stories are covered so heavily is because of the “outrageousness” of a young, 7 year old boy, taking his own life. Many of these kids are feeling so trapped. I agree with your “defense of bullys” but I see no defense of the teachers who are allowing these horrid things to happen.

    I was a victim of bullying until I was a sophomore in high school. 10 years of my life I was picked on by kids. In eighth grade I gained weight because of a parents divorce and that led to more bullying by kids at school… two girls jumped me once I got off the school bus. I tried running but all I could do is hit a girl to stop her from pulling my hair. I received in-school-suspension and after school detention for a week because the bus driver only saw me punch her off of me.

    I see the excuses for the *children* but when teachers don’t step up that’s when the issues arise.

    Posted by Lets Stop Bullying for Good | May 25, 2012, 12:34 pm
    • I can certainly agree that the story is outrageous, but the media consistently choosing shock over substance helps neither our national dialogue nor does it ameliorate the plight of the victims of bullying and in fact may be augmenting their sense of helplessness. This is my central point with regard to the media.

      As I attested to in my post I agree that teacher’s should do more to fight bullying. Teachers need to be part of the early detection system but they cannot, and should not, be both teachers and social workers. They need a support system that nourishes the emotional intelligence and well-being of the pupils so teachers can focus primarily on their pedagogical duties, which is after all what they are trained to do.

      Posted by ottoborden | May 30, 2012, 1:32 pm

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