Being a teenager has never been so tough. Internet bullying has made adolescence infinitely more harsh than we remember it being. Well, while most of us are still trying to figure out how to put an end to those cruel taunts over Facebook and Twitter, one Iowa teen may have figured it out. Jeremiah Anthony is fighting cyber bullies with kindness.
It's an unusual approach, to be sure, but one his victimized classmates at West High School are incredibly thankful for.
After reading a story about cyber bullies, Jeremiah and two friends created the Twitter feed WestHighBros, which sends out compliments to other kids. "It's really easy to find the nice things in people instead of the bad things," he told Today. To date, they have sent out over 3,000 self-esteem boosting tweets. An example of encouraging words they tweeted to one young girl:
You are one of the sweetest, funniest girls out there. You make everyone happy with your quirkiness ...
And to another:
Very creative and wise. You’re an outstanding musician, with your guitar and your voice. Keep being lovely and caring of all.
To some, this may not sound like a huge undertaking, but it is on so many levels. First of all, these teens are taking the time to do something nice for others. Secondly, they are stepping up to fight against bullying and that is incredibly hard to do. It's much easier to just sit idly by, watch it happen, and be glad it's not happening to you. "You shouldn't be such a coward you have to hide behind a screen to say bad things to people," Jeremiah said of the bullies. The students and community have all reacted positively to the tweets, thanking Jeremiah and his friends. "Just as I begin to lose faith in humanity, I learn of these gentlemen @westhighbros thank you thank you thank you," tweeted a young woman.
His parents must be so proud. In fact, all parents should learn a real lesson through all of this. We should encourage our kids to be courageous enough to help and lift up others -- even if they are scared. A few nice words can have a surprising amount of power. Showing a kid who feels beat down, bullied, helpless, and hopeless that someone cares may save a life. And that is the kind of good deed that comes back tenfold.
Do you think we can put an end to cyber bullying with kindness?