Once again, violence between adolescents is documented on video, and gone viral.
Bullying is the equivalence to violence. No excuses. It is violence. Whether it is physical or mental, it causes tremendous pain for the person involved. Imagine how your most painful moment is shared with hundreds, even thousands of people. Imagine the feeling of shame, even though the shame should be theirs. Imagine the powerlessness, because the others are desperately trying to feel powerful, only to your expense.
It is in the nature of human beings to try to gain power, power will secure survival of ourselves and our genes. If we feel powerless in a situation, most of us have learnt ways to deal with such a situation. It can be overwhelming, it can be scary, it can leave us feeling worthless, but need be, we are capable of regulating our emotions, and find other ways to deal with them, like finding solutions to the situation based on previous experiences or the experiences of others, or we will empower ourselves in other situations, so that we feel more balanced.
Some will not. They will respond to the raw emotion of powerlessness and gain power with violence. Because violence is so effective. Unfortunately. Few things are so effective to get someone to do what you want. If you choose to ignore what it will do to the other.
But, what when violence becomes more than a desperate act? What when it becomes a way to increase a status, fictive or not, among other young people?
Violence is as old as man, so I am not blaming the internet for the violence. Even so, as someone who is bullying, trying to gain “respect” and status, you will have a much larger audience. Perhaps you would not even had gone there, if you met your classmate on the road back from school, alone. Perhaps the possibility of an audience increases the activity in the reward-system in the brain, so that something that could have been avoided, in fact was encouraged by that mere possibility.
We are, unfortunately, fairly primitive. We want to be the alpha. We want to survive. And, we are not even aware where most of our reactions stem from. From our lower brain, the one we share with all other animals. Because we are. We truly are – the worst, sometimes.
There is a way to choose otherwise, to use the higher parts of our brains. Give your children lots and lots of empathy and help them reflection around themselves and others. Thus, they learn to active the higher brains, and might be able to respond accordingly. And, they may need your help for a long time. Our empathy is not fully developed until we are in our 20s…