At some point in your life, you have probably encountered a conversation with your elders that started off with the classic, "Back in my day..." anecdote.
This is usually the tip-off to completely evacuate all consciousness as your Great Aunt Helen plants her bunion feet on the couch and begins her tirade on how hard her generation worked to communicate with people, play music and find speedy transportation.
Although, half the stuff Aunt Helen is saying is arbitrary and you politely nod your head as she draws on, I've come to find one unique contrast between our generation and theirs. When my elders compare the violence they faced in school to what I've grown up considering "bullying," there is a remarkable difference.
I don't know about you, but my grandma used to give me lessons on how to "sock" anyone trying to steal your lunch money. By the time I had entered kindergarten, I was constantly checking over my shoulder expecting to be "jumped" by the older kids.
I soon came to find the "bullying" my elders had warned me about was irrelevant to my life. Sure, I got pushed around on the playground a few times and had a few spitballs spat into my "poofy do-do colored hair."
That was nothing compared to my grandma's horror stories of almost being shanked on the way home from school everyday.
It wasn't until sixth grade, when I made my first Facebook profile, that I was ever truly subjected to bullying. It wasn't the typical bullying my family had readied me for. I had been prepared to fight people face to face if needed, but no Full House episode had prepared me for the seemingly foreign world of cyber bullying.
Cyber Bullying, as defined by Webster's online dictionary, is "the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (as a student) often done anonymously."
My first exposure to cyber bullying was when I received a Facebook instant message from a girl at my school. Thrilled to have someone talking to me and being new to Knoxville, I quickly opened the message, which – to my surprise – read, "ur ugly."
Up to this point I had built up a bully to be someone physically abusive rather than verbally, so it caught me off guard when this person began to attack me on Facebook day after day. Finally, I told the girl to say it to my face and to very little surprise she never did.
It's not just middle school that we are subjected to these verbal attacks. Just two weeks ago, I received an email about one of my columns that urged me to keep my "Ingrown opinions to myself," and then my first child was cursed to "be born still," which was followed with a "I hope your mom gets cancer," (I simply replied, "thanks bro").
Whether it was that subtweet last week or that sarcastic Facebook comment left on someone's photo, at some point we have probably said something about someone on the Internet we wouldn't dare say to his or her face.
It's an easy mistake to make, but one that deserves be worked on. It's not as foreign as it was a few years ago with documentaries, such as Lee Hirsh's "Bully," and mainstream media bringing attention to the issue.
However, scrolling through the hostile comments of any social media site, it is clear little progress has been made. According to Edtech magazine, "81 percent of Teens say that bullying online is easier to get away with than in person."
It's a valid reason one in three teens have claimed to be bullied online.
So, while I may have never needed to use kooky Aunt Helen's brothel spiel against bullies, the classic "sticks and stones" advise has no expiration.
Kaila Curry is a freshman in English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.