Harmless fun never assaults a person with anger. Never hits below the beltline of joking around. It’s written into the body language, the smiles, the friendly shoves. One can tell. You often find kids with a strong friendship will jostle one another a little close to the heart from time to time. Making rude comments or jokes but a sturdy friendship allows that. Because kids know it’s all in fun. They’re allowed to do this among themselves, but never consent to an outsider of their group pulling the same verbal attack.
Bullying is an outsider targeting someone to make them feel bad. It often begins with passive-aggressive sarcasm that moves towards actual bodily harm. Usually a person bullying has esteem problems. Therefore they’ll find the weakest victim around them to bring lower than themselves. The act of aggression however, doesn’t lessen their bad feelings. Instead it adds more fuel to the fire. When the mere verbal match fails to fill the void it can lead to physical harm.
Harmless fun however, has gotten out of hand in some circles. You might be shocked to hear some of the lewd banter that goes between “friends” online and in text messages on their phones. Words that never crossed my mind as a teenager. Liberal use of crude remarks that would make one generation blush seems to be the norm these days. However, I feel it’s wrong to allow kids to excuse themselves with “everyone does it.” A lack of regard for other people’s feelings leads to a detached society. It’s irresponsible to allow harmless fun to turn such a crude corner. I feel that society as a whole bears some responsibility. When we dismiss this so lightly. Words hurt even if said in jest between friends. The hidden places inside gets tarnished a little each time it takes a negative washing. In time what may have been just harmless fun can turn a person inside out. Depression is one symptom of esteem problems that has simply tripled in the last decade; especially among teens.
A responsible society takes pains to regard feelings, encourage and uplift its members. It benefits both receiver and giver. People today have a multitude of insecurity issues due in large part to bullies. These bullies come in the form of everything from terrorism to irresponsible bankers. Raising this level of security in our families begins in the home. We feel safe among people we trust. Our heartening words and behavior is what gives rise to the trust. Harmless fun needs to rise above that beltline to bring back the trust.