Iggy Azalea has quit Twitter. Let’s focus on her last tweet and her reasoning. In her final tweets, Iggy Azalea describes the “hatred and pettiness” she finds online, calling the internet the “ugliest reflection of man kind there is.”
As you can see, not even global fame and celebrity can protect Iggy from the ills of cyberbullying in today’s age.
Iggy feels as if she is being attacked and cyber-bullied based upon her appearance. These tweets constitute a narrative and Iggy is the main character in this story. What do these tweets reveal about her character? How is she feeling? What emotions does she bring out? Iggy’s experiences strike a similarity to the experiences of a troubled character in a classic novel named Holden Caulfield from the acclaimed book, Catcher in the Rye. Now, imagine if Holden Caulfield lived in the age of social media, would he have reacted the same way? Like Iggy, Holden is brutally honest throughout the novel. In the book, the audience learns that Holden has been kicked out of yet another school. Like Iggy, Holden gives evidence throughout the book that he is disliked and misunderstood by others.
Cyberbullying, even on social media platforms like Twitter, can lead to people feeling victimized, causing them to verbally lash out at others. As you can see, not even global fame and celebrity can protect Iggy from these ills in today’s age. However, the Catcher in the Rye novel shows us that this is nothing new. Holden and Iggy both show us that a true test of one’s character is how we respond to the unprovoked negativity in the world and you are only a victim if you allow yourself to become one.
Bullying: It’s A Real Problem
Teenagers often use the term “to death” as a way to exaggerate their feelings. “I’m bored to death” is a common saying in classrooms across the country. Kids might exclaim “I was scared to death!” after seeing a particularly terrifying horror movie.
However, over the past few years, the words “to death” have taken on a much more literal meaning. Across the country, numerous students have actually been bullied to death.
A Google search of the term “bullied to death” returns headlines about a teenager who was hanged for being pretty, a New York City teen who jumped in front of a subway train after being bullied, and Delaware girl who was beaten to death over a relationship with a boy. The latter two of those stories occurred recently, in April of 2016. There’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to suicides that have been attributed to bullying.
Why Has There Been An Increase In Deaths From Bullying?
So what’s caused this wave of bullying that has literally cost some people their lives? There are various factors to consider, and many point to the rise of social media. On the other hand, some experts claim that kids being bullied to death is not a new phenomenon, but instead that this era of mass media simply allows more people to hear such stories than in the past.
The connection between bullying and suicide is complicated, as the site StopBullying.gov points out. However, just understanding that there might be a connection is an important lesson for many children. It is also crucial that kids understand the so-called “bystander effect,” in which people watch idly as others are bullied. According to the site NoBullying, “The bystanders who do nothing but watch are also the problem. Thus, the bystander effect can make kids more passive instead of more proactive when dealing with bullying.”
Examining the recent instances of bullying to death might allow teenagers to begin to help reverse this disturbing trend. If today’s kids can understand the causes of some of these bullying tragedies, they might be better able to help avoid more of them in the future.