Dear Future President,
First of all, congratulations for being selected to be our nation’s 44th president. While it is not my title to state what should be of top priority to you, I would be honored if you would, at the very least, read the following and take it all into thought.
The writer of this letter is a teenager, nothing more, nothing less. They are happily a citizen of the United States of America. The writer behind this letter has also been bullied. They are left out, forgotten, tossed away. They do not share the same interests as others, so they are simply left untouched, as if they were the least favorite flavor of candy. This difference of interests also leads to more bullying; even though they have been told many times to be themselves, the bleeding does not seize. They are often ridiculed for liking something many do not. They are insulted for this exact reason, hearing things such as, “Are you sure you’re not the one with mental problems?” and “Can we just get a shock collar to make her shut up?” While this is not an ideal way to live out their days, it is far better than other adolescents their age. The writer is nothing but another 73% of teenagers who have been bullied.
It is not unheard of to see bullying cases pop up on people’s news feeds. Bullying is defined as when “someone repeatedly threatens, harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person” (cyberbullying.org) purposely in a school environment. The most common claim from bullies is that it was “just a joke”, however due to the victim’s self-esteem being at an all-time low, they may be convinced that the bully is being truthful. That is what bullying does to a person their age. They often “feel cornered and their self-esteem and confidence is beaten down to a bare minimum,” (listcrux.co). Students have been told numerous times that school is supposed to be safer than their own homes. It makes one wonder what could be more brutal at home, since it is said that one in five teenagers who are bullied are threatened with a weapon at school (cyberbullying.org). That is not even the worst of it. This is just the beginning.
The bullying usually does not end at school. It continues to where adolescents spend a majority of their time now: Technology and the Internet. 83% who have to face bullying at school also face bullying behind their iPhone (cyberbullying.org). It is not as likely to occur than bullying at school, with about 33% of youth threatened online (bullyingstatistics.org), however this does not make it less of a problem. Unlike bullying at school, a victim of cyber bullying is more likely to commit suicide; in 2014, it was the second highest cause of suicide after stress, while bullying was the tenth highest (listcrux.co).
While the writer has never been put into a situation of cyber bullying, they have been a witness of it. The teenager behind this letter has multiple social media accounts, and they have had to scroll through posts that would only serve one purpose: Insult or assault another person. Also, hidden within these posts, the writer often spots memes, gifs, videos, and countless other media that mock or discriminate a group of people, most commonly gender and disabilities.
Bullying, both online and in school, has driven students to the point of fear, depression, self harm, and even suicide. Solutions are said to be as simple as talking to a parent or teacher about the problem, but it is easier said than done. Many victims of bullying never tell a trusted adult, most likely due to lack of self esteem and the fear of the situation becoming more unbearable. It would be more beneficial if the parent confronted the child and talked to them about what to do in those situations.
As the president, you have more authority over a parent or guardian. In all honesty, I, the writer, have no solution that could assist in reducing the numbers. As someone who has been bullied, it is a tough journey to complete. Students often times lose hope and give up. My friends are the reason why I refuse to fall. My friends are my biggest cheerleaders, always cheering me on and supporting me; it is difficult to pull back when friends keep pushing me forward. Unfortunately, sometimes my friends are my bullies; they forget I am there and leave me out; with my self esteem low, I always feel that they truly dislike me. I refuse to live that reality, and that is why I have not given in. However, this letter is not for pity. This letter is a call to attention. While my case is not severe, it could have been, and I have read the news; there are many cases where it is that extreme.
The solution that comes to mind is support. The president should stand behind their citizens, keeping them alive and well. This past president, Mr. Barack Obama, has done something called the “It Gets Better” project. Its goal is to spread hope to the LGBT+ community and to tell them that it gets better. However, as a teenager who spends a high amount of their time on the Internet, I have not heard of this project until the November of 2016, the end of their presidency. A project similar to this for supporting those who have been victimized by bullies could have a large impact. One of the obstacles involving this solution is that only 618,653 have pledged and supported the project and cause (itgetsbetter.org).
The project to support those who face bullying would need to be more widely known. For this to occur, there would have to be more promotion and advertisement. The most effective way of promoting is social media outlets. A Facebook page could be created, along with a Twitter account, and others. Also, there could be video advertisements that could be made on YouTube, however for that method to be successful, there would have to be an interesting hook, or else viewers will click “skip ad”. The more people know about it, the more support it will receive.
Another possible obstacle is that the project could prove to be ineffective. There are multiple pages and accounts that support causes; by now, many may find it as cliche. Further promotion would be needed, in the form of events, contests, and recognition. There can be special events and contests held for followers and supporters of the cause through social media. The events could range from getting a certain number of friends to like the page to taking a selfie with a specific symbol. Also, something that truly makes people, especially teenagers, feel on top of the world is recognition for their good deeds. If the account or page made shout outs often for the supporters, it is likely to be shared with friends, which leads to more promotion for the cause. Another idea to promote the cause is to make a game for mobile devices that promotes the cause. Teenagers cannot resist a good game that is easily accessible. I happen to know of multiple games that often hold events to support causes, or sometimes there are games that only support a single cause for as long as the game is available. All purchases made for the app can go towards the project.
Teenagers need to be told that it does get better. Teenagers also need to know that they are not alone. Teenagers have always been told that they will lead the country next. Teenagers are the future of the United States, and it is hard to imagine the country in the hands of bullies.
Bell, Chelsea. "Top 10 Reasons Teenagers Commit Suicide - ListCrux." ListCrux. N.p., 03 July 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.
"Bullying and Suicide - Bullying Statistics." Bullying Statistics. N.p., 07 July 2015. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.
1, 2016 Posted Oct, 2016 Posted Sep 30, and Posted Sep 1, 2016 by Lia Follet. "It Gets Better Project | Give Hope to LGBT Youth." It Gets Better. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.
Patchin, Justin W. "New National Bullying and Cyberbullying Statistics." Cyberbullying Research Center. N.p., 10 Oct. 2016. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.