TEEN violence is a nagging concern for parents and society. Bullying in schools, gangsterism and street fights result in injuries, and social, emotional and academic problems.
The types of rampant bullying in Malaysia are physical, racial, verbal, psychological, social, emotional and cyber.
Bullying leads to long-term social and behavioural problems for the bully and bullied.
Schools should organise talks, poster-making and exhibitions on the consequences of bullying.
School counsellors could engage bullies.
We read and view videos about students being attacked by their peers in dormitories, school corridors and in toilets.
Roommates trading blows and girls slapping and punching one another are all there for the world to see.
Many videos on teenagers being bullied are uploaded to Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Some students think that bullying is acceptable. They lack self-control. In some cases, the bullies influence other students and gangs are formed.
Take the death of T. Nhaveen of Penang. As a student, I cannot understand how a youth could have been attacked so viciously by his former schoolmates with helmets and sticks, and was also believed to be sodomised.
Then, there is the case of a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide after suffering months of cyberbullying from other girls.
She received messages like “You’re ugly”, “Why are you still alive?” and “Go kill yourself.”
She was terrorised on social media.
I think parents and parent-teacher associations (PTAs) should play a greater role.
Parents can teach their children to protect themselves from bullying, while PTAs can draw up more anti-bullying programmes.
More closed-circuit television cameras should be installed in secluded areas, and posters and signages put up to promote anti-bullying and mental health.
Schools must organise not only anti-bullying campaigns but also seminars to make students aware of the consequences of bad behaviour.
More awareness programmes for parents and guardians must be held.
An online system where students and parents can lodge complaints about bullying while remaining anonymous should be implemented.
Everyone should be aware of bullying as it can hurt and take the life of a person.
The time has come for the Education Ministry to address bullying in schools.
Singer and songwriter Katherine Jenkins said: “Children should be able to live a life free from bullying and harassment and it is time that we all took a stand against this.”
CHEW YUE WEN
Johor Baru, Johor