I was born in 1990, so by the time I was seven years old, emails were barely used in offices, never mind by teenagers and kids. There was no Facebook, Twitter or YouTube (thank goodness for that).
I make no secrets that I do love my food, I love good food. I'm from Greece after all. And today I read with sadness today about a US Army Veteran, age 31, now a fitness motivator/personal trainer, who has decided to openly insult fat people, branding them 'utterly repulsive and disgusting'. His video has gone viral and it has reached over 2.5 million views.
The words used in his video are clear, open, humiliating and no half thought is spared. Does he really think that the more he shouts about it, the more fat people will go and ditch the crisps and ice-cream?
I'm sure the issues modern teenagers face today are almost identical to those experienced by us young people decades ago, before technology became such an integral part of modern life. But the main difference now is the way that bullying behaviour manifests itself. No longer is name-calling simply thrown around the classroom, playground or on school buses. Insults are now cruelly expressed openly online. It becomes public, and a hundred times more amplified.
Google, smart-phones, laptops, computers, tablets and online games make 'cyberbullying' available to the masses, to anyone. You can hit at your friends, at your enemies, even at strangers and celebrities.
People are able to openly join the cyberbullying war, and the chosen victim can be publicly humiliated online. The betrayal of those you trusted, those you called friends, now becomes public and doubly painful. Even divorces and break-ups can have their own spot-light on Twitter, splashing publicly to friends and family the bleak reality of a heartbreak, in just a few minutes.
Passive-aggressive campaigns involve clicking 'like', ''favourite' and 'retweet' on posts, perhaps to confirm that she is 'fat' and 'ugly'. A situation can escalate, from a healthy (albeit heated) debate inside a classroom to a malicious online attack on an individual.
As intrusive as it may be, we cannot deny the importance digital technology plays nowadays. I work in this industry after all, and the benefits are immense. However, if you are a child, a teen, or a young person, you may experience a difficult journey between adolescence and adulthood. Being insulted virtually can only make things more difficult.
When I was growing up, my friends and I were all plagued by similar concerns: the stress of exams, spots, the need to wear trendy clothes and trainers, teenage romance, and body-image... the list is endless. What is sad now is that teens clearly shows that the natural progression is for young people to turn to the digital world, whatever the circumstance. We've seen how bullying moves to social media and how quickly this can escalate.
And the politics of texting create havoc, particularly among girls (how long before I can text back? how many kisses is acceptable? Is a smiley emoticon too friendly?).
Eating disorders, anorexia-nervosa, bullying, racism, gender confusions, homophobia and self-harm: so much to tackle. I feel so sorry for teachers, who are no longer just purely academic figures. They have become guardians, surrogate parents and security guards: all in one. They must be so worried about any risk, just by witnessing the youngest in their care, when moving from the 'real' world across to the 'virtual', and back again.
It must be hard to be a kid these days. They are facing 'big' issues in 'little bodies', with no experience of how to tackle the cruelly of how adult world can be. Yes, I can hand on heart say, I'm glad I was born in 1990.