By Tommy Franz
Americans have been paying more attention to bullying in the past 10 years. New laws, conferences, research and conversation has proliferated. But the issue is not just an American one. Much of the world is concerned about bullying. Take the example of a bullying incident that occurred in Australia in March, 2011:
“We had an incident here last March when a school bully got beaten up by his victim, and the video of the incident went viral,” Scott Parlett, a student at the University of New South Wales said. “All of the television networks worked to put their own spin on the event, including interviews with parents and the kid who recorded the fight.”
The 42-second YouTube clip of the fight had more than 6 million views by February, 2012. Although there are some who believe that Casey Heynes, the initial victim of the bully, was wrong to retaliate, the consensus is that he is viewed as a hero for standing up to the bully.
“Casey has now transferred schools and is classified by others as a true hero thanks to publicity and being able to fight against bullying,” Kate Giulano, a student at the University of Newcastle said. “Justin Beiber was touring Australia when this happened and he flew Casey and his family to his Melbourne show and got Casey up on stage during the performance to explain to the audience how much of a hero Casey was for standing up to bullying.”
Parlett said that technology has changed the way the two students, watched from around the world, will move on from this incident.
“Unfortunately for Ritchard and Casey, the two boys involved in the incident, we are in this new technological world so that their 30 second fight went viral and will continue to reappear throughout their lives,” Parlett said. “The initial bully in this case is now sometimes seen as the victim because of the video going viral as everyone tries to have their two cents worth in commenting.”
Parlett has witnessed how technology has changed bullying. From his experiences of growing up in a small town, everyone knew everything about one another. Today, Parlett says that because of the Internet, everyone lives in a small town.
“I see bullying like a never ending spring. The bullying continues as the victims fight back and then they become bullies, and the initial bullies become victims especially in the new technological world with the Internet,” Parlett said.
“Fortunately when I was bullied there was not camera phones, the town I grow up in was so small that everyone knows everything. This is one of the reasons why I left my home town to further my education. I hated that everyone knew everything about you,” Parlett said. “Today it doesn’t matter. You can’t escape what happens because it’s posted for all to see online.”
Interest in bullying has increased markedly worldwide. News reference graphs on Google display how there was little interest in the subject up until 2010, but has since increased dramatically.
Despite being a regular news topic today, the United States ranks 10th in the world for searches and references on the web to bullying. The fact that America has seen many notorious bullies recently and still ranks behind nine other countries proves that bullying is a worldwide issue, and countries can learn from each other to help stop an endless cycle of violence and intimidation.