This Wednesday, Feb. 27, is Pink Shirt Day, when a lot of people will be clad in shades of pink to show awareness about bullying and determination to oppose it. Photo submitted

EDITORIAL: Don’t look away when bullying is happening

In the digital age, cyberbullying is a click away

Pink shirts will be the height of fashion this week, but whatever we’re wearing, anti-bullying attitudes are always a good look.

This Wednesday, Feb. 27, is Pink Shirt Day, when a lot of people will be clad in shades of pink to show awareness about bullying and determination to oppose it.

The concept can be traced to a Maritime high school, where a kid was bullied for wearing pink and his classmates donned the colour as a show of solidarity.

Maybe pink wasn’t ‘manly’ enough then. Maybe we’ve progressed a bit, and masculinity doesn’t get measured in the same way, or matter quite so much.

But kids these days still get bullied in lots of ways; so do adults. In the digital age, cyberbullying is a click away – more of us are online than ever before and as social circles expand our networks, bullies can type out their sticks and stones and hurl them from afar, anonymously, without care or consequence.

Sure, social media forums are also combatting bullying. If bullies mean to single someone out, well, fortunately there are many more who stand with those who have been wronged, and can be a virtual shoulder. For many of us, if we don’t wish to be alone, we don’t have to be, and we can find the support and the attitudes that allow us to be comfortable in pink or whatever shade we want. Sometimes the solution is as simple as using the trusty ‘block’ button.

We’d like to think the kids are going to be all right, that with information and connections at their fingertips, they are going to settle on the right influences, and recognize, more often than not, the right thing to do. Most of them are going to know that they shouldn’t hit or call names or seek to be hurtful. But if we’re not seeing that bullying is happening, does that mean we’re just looking the other way?

When it comes to anti-bullying attitudes, it’s tempting to think we’ve come a long way. But if we’ve come only so far that we’re now OK with wearing pink once a year, we still have a lot further to go.

Block and report bullies. Don’t stand by or laugh with them. Be aware, and even angry that bullying is happening at a time and place where we should know better and can do better.

RELATED: Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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