EDITORIAL: Words can hurt

These days, we have so many different ways to communicate at our finger tips.

Want to talk to someone? You can call, text, message, tweet, e-mail, use an app… The list goes on.

Our level of connectivity is impressive. But, when someone is upset, it is easy to hide behind the keyboard.

Sometimes this means sending messages to your friends, reaching out when you need it. Sometimes it means taking your anger out on the Internet.

But, let’s never forget that the Internet isn’t so forgiving. Words that are typed out on a screen, whether or not they are deleted from the platform, can be saved for life. The people reading those words can be hurt, just like spoken words.

The saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” has never been true. Words are hurtful. They sting, and they get right under your skin.

Online, it is easy to become a target of hurtful messages. Cyber bullying is a very real and new thing to us, and it happens when there is an imbalance of power, and/or where someone purposely and repeatedly says or does hurtful things to someone else, according to the RCMP.

When we’re falling into this online mecca, words can be said that may never be taken back.

This is why it is so important to think before you speak (or type).

Recently, I read that children as young as six are falling victim to cyber bullying. And after following that article down the rabbit hole, I read more and more about how children are affected by harmful actions on the Internet.

But it doesn’t stop there. Harmful variations of bullying can happen to any demographic, especially on the Internet.

Kids may be more of a victim of cyber bullying because those that are inflicting harm on others don’t have the same reticence as adults. As we grow, we learn acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. The consequences of cyber bullying at a young age can be extreme. People have been pushed to take their own lives, harm themselves, lash out at others, or harbour that horrible feeling forever.

Later in life, we call this behaviour by another name: Defamation of character, or libel. We have more tools at our finger tips to deal with these situations, and we are better equipped in life to respond in a calm, conscionable way.

I don’t know what the solution is to abolish cyber bullying once and for all, but schools are doing a good job at starting from the ground up, trying to erradicate that behaviour before it reaches people in their adult lives.

If you are being bullied in person or online, you can call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, or call the local RCMP 250-344-2221.

Just Posted

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Your weekly Mountain Minute

Golden’s 60-second news recap

An Everest fundraiser

Man set to climb elevation of Mt. Everest in one day to raise school lunch funds

Interior Health study offers take-home drug testing kits to spot fentanyl

Interior Health to evaluate safety of at home drug testing kits aimed at reducing fentanyl overdoses

Golden Fire Rescue training grounds get a facelift

Residents may have noticed some changes at the fire hall in the… Continue reading

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

Most Read