Recent figures show a dramatic jump in suicide rates for young people in the United States.
There is concern that part of the problem stems from a rise in bullying and cyberbullying.
A national initiative aims to combat the problem, but as CGTN’s Gerald Tan reports, there appears to be mixed messages from the top.
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump has focused her advocacy on children. Her signature campaign ‘Be Best’ is designed to equip kids with the necessary foundation to combat cyberbullying, among other threats.
The issue is in the spotlight. Just last month, California’s governor signed new laws aimed at preventing bullying and suicides, in the wake of two recent deaths linked to bullying.
National figures raise alarm. The latest data show that the suicide rate for young people aged 10 to 24 rose a staggering 56-percent between 2007 and 2017.
Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t say why – many researchers point to bullying.
It’s now estimated that as many as one in three students faces the problem at school. Cyberbullying is part of that.
“Social media is an inevitable part of our children’s daily lives. This is why Be Best chooses to focus on the importance of teaching our next generation how to conduct themselves safely,” Mrs. Trump said.
But some have contrasted her message with the online behavior of her husband, the President.
Donald Trump often uses Twitter to voice dissatisfaction over issues and blast his opponents.
He infamously called four women Democrats of color “racist troublemakers who are young, inexperienced and not very smart.”
He characterized fellow Republicans who don’t support him as “worse than the do Nothing Democrats,” and called them “human scum.”
And he once described a fired White House aide as “a crazed, crying lowlife” and a “dog.”
The First Lady says ending a culture of bullying should start with young children. She’s framed her ‘Be Best’ campaign to address this at schools and in homes.
But there are others who point out that kids also learn from their leaders, and ask what sort of example the President of the United States is setting.