Social Drama and Spreading Rumors Violates the 'Golden Rule'

by Cecilia Gonzales, age 16

    Do you remember the “Golden Rule?” This is a common name for the belief that you should treat others the way you want to be treated. For many it is the number one rule to live by.
Unfortunately, as I get older, I see fewer and fewer people living by this rule. This is true especially among teens, who are often seem unaware of the serious harm they can cause when they mistreat others.
    Often technology is the vehicle teens use to hurt others’ feelings. When harmful messages are sent by text, via Facebook, or Twitter, it is usually seen by people everywhere and without the victim’s knowledge or consent. These messages are one of the ways the uncontrolled chaos I call “drama” enters the world of high school.
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    While walking down the hallways at school, have you ever heard people talking about something they heard about someone else? Well, if you have, this talk might be the start of a rumor. A rumor begins when people spread sensitive information about others. Most times that information is usually untrue.
Rumors can easily get out of hand. They can spread like wildfire in our technology-rich society. For example, you might hear gossip while walking on one side of school, and by the time you get to the other side five minutes later, people will be talking about the same thing. Social networking is the number one tool that teens use to get dirt on other teens and to spread rumors and gossip. Before you know it, feelings get hurt. And just like a forest fire, the spread of gossip and rumors is almost impossible to stop.
    Being a teenager these days is stressful, and one of the biggest issues is the potentially devastating effects of rumors and gossip. Students have different ways of coping, but not all of them are positive. Some students might get tired of the drama at school and begin skipping classes. Skipping classes can turn into skipping days, and then weeks, and eventually the student might even drop out of school. In addition, some students have to deal with their friends’ problems in addition to their own. Dealing with everyone else’s problems, and not having time to address your own drama, can result in low self-esteem.
    Students dealing with this drama most likely have a hard time going to school or getting their work done. They might also have a hard time at home, where parents might not fully understand their school situation. Drama becomes a vicious circle. Some teens might just give up on everything and, in the worst possible case, commit suicide. Media reports show a growing number of teen suicides. Most expert observers say rumors, gossips and bullying play a major role in this growing problem.
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Overall, drama is not only a distraction from school, but it’s stressful for everyone. Fortunately, there are ways to keep drama from controlling your life. Ignoring gossip and rumors is a good way to start. Don’t let it get to you. If you happen to hear gossip or rumors in the hallways, don’t repeat them. Remember the old phrase ‘you can’t believe everything you hear’. While this is a common phrase, it’s also true.
One of the best things any of us can do to make our little corner of the world better is to not start rumors—or spread gossip. Be smart and remember the “Golden Rule.”

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