Why Bullying shouldn’t be a Criminal Offense – No

My grandparents often complain that children today are wimps because of the way things are handled today. In some ways, they could be right, and in some ways they could be wrong. When it come to bullying, it’s hard to say. Nobody will argue that as of late, it’s become a serious issue with the rise of the internet and cyber-bullying. The past few years have seen many news reports of teenagers committing suicide because the bullying has become so harsh they couldn’t take it anymore. But does this mean that bullying should be considered a criminal offense? Personally, I don’t think so. Though bullying is a serious matter, the one thing to remember is that the media loves to make rare instances seem common. At the same time, I do feel that cases of bullying do need to be investigated when they’re reported.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years… at least 10% are bullied on a regular basis.” Whether or not they mean to be, children can be very cruel to one another. Therefore, bullying is very common in school years. The method of bullying can be physical of verbal. It usually depends on the sex of the bully. Boys are usually more physical while girls are usually more verbal. 

If there is a bully, it’s because he or she either thrives on dominating others or because he or she is being bullied themselves. Sometimes it’s because he or she is a victim of abuse, or there’s another problem going on at home that isn’t being addressed. There could be many reasons for a bully to become a bully. Someone has to reach out to the person and figure out why he or she is acting the way they are. 

The American Psychiatric Association states that more than 160,000 children stay home from school because of bullying. It can also interfere with school work and emotional development. Bullied children also have an increased chance of anxiety and depression if they are bullied long enough. Extreme cases will attempt suicide to escape the torture. 

It’s only in these extreme cases I could see ever considering bullying a criminal offense. Especially if there is a possibility of an adult being involved in the bullying. In the case of cyber-bullying, the moment an adult is involved in cyber-bullying, it no longer becomes cyber-bullying but cyber-stalking. Depending on the degree of the harassment, that could involve serious criminal charges, even a spot on the Sex Offenders List. A child needs to know the consequences of his or her actions. 

The American Psychiatric Association has ways for parents to reach out to their children if they catch early signs of bullying. Or if they suspect their children of being bullies. In each situation, talking to the child is highly encouraged so they can figure out the root of the problem and figure out what to do to solve it. In the case of the child being bullied, it’s highly encouraged to teach the child to be assertive. Essentially to fight his or her own battles. Violence is discouraged, but if the harassment doesn’t stop when the child can’t get the bully to leave him or her alone to get help. If the child is the bully, it encourages a talking environment to figure out the problem. 

If the reason for the bullying is caught early enough, then there won’t be a reason to treat bullies like criminals. It’s said that everything happens for a reason. It’s terrible that one person treats another horribly, but maybe that’s the only way a child knows how to cry for attention.