The View From Here

Bullying is a widespread problem that has often been ridiculed or silenced in the past. This is due in part to its very nature, which silences those affected, making them feel unworthy of help and as if they’re to blame. The media’s silence on the issue is one hurdle that has been somewhat overcome. It’s a step in the right direction, but media coverage of bullying isn’t always helpful and is sometimes poorly executed.

The website lists some common pitfalls made by press coverage of bullying. These include both overstating and sensationalizing the problem as well as oversimplifying it. Misinformation and thoughtless coverage do more harm than good. As an issue that people continue to be damaged by every day, bullying must be treated with and written about with sensitivity and accuracy.

Mass media is often shown in its worst light when highlighting sensitive topics. The fine line between news and entertainment is often blurred in these cases. Topics such as bullying and abuse, things that have been issues for some time and are just recently getting media attention, are handled with the same amount of thought and consideration as the plot of a Hollywood action film.

Sensationalizing and simplifying the prevalence and effects of bullying is an insult to those affected. Overstating the problem normalizes it while also creating a hysteria surrounding it that interferes with developing clear solutions. Suggesting that suicide is an inevitable result of bullying and oversimplifying the motives of bullies to suggest they’re simple villains creates an irrational panic that makes the problem seem insurmountable when solutions need to focus on the far more intricate reality of the issue and real-life scenarios.

As a whole, the media is often slow to develop sensitivity, considering hysteria is more likely to increase profits. However, people can keep this in mind and take media coverage with a grain of salt. One of the most effective things we can do to combat the problem is to treat it with sensitivity in interpersonal situations. People as a whole can try to avoid some of the media pitfalls in their personal attitudes toward bullying. Each situation is complex and different, and experiences for all parties involved vary widely. It’s an issue that stems from a variety of problems and has different effects for each person involved.