I plan to include it in my piece about Charlotte Holmes, so I thought I would dedicate this Fiction Friday to cyber bullying. Bowaworld, recently uploaded a great YouTube video about cyber bullying.
At 0:10 they cite a rather disturbing percentage. 52% of adolescents report being victims of cyber bullying. Imagine what that number would be if every victim reported it. Cyber bullying also effects adults. The internet provides people with anonymity making them feel powerful behind a keyboard as they attack individuals they never see. Cyber bullying makes harassment and ridicule easier because no one sees the immediate reaction.
That’s how we have Megan Meire, Erin Gallagher, Jessica Laney, Tyler Clementi, and many more.
Megan Meire, is probably the most famous incident. After creating a MySpace account, she was contacted by “Josh Evans,” who was actually Lori Drew, the mother of Sarah Drew (a former friend of Megan’s). Lori and Sarah created the account in order to get information to humiliate Megan. The last message sent by “Josh” was “Everybody in O’Fallon knows who you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you.”
Lori Drew was convicted of violations to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 2008, but it was reversed on appeal in 2009.
Megan was just a few weeks away from her 14th birthday.
Erin Gallagher was only 13. She had been bullied because of her weight and her appearance. She even warned them with a comment 24 hours before she did it and outright said her tormentors were why she chose suicide.
Jessica Laney was bullied on Ask.fm and even though she posted repeated statuses about how it bothered they replied with “Why don’t you just kill yourself already?”
She was 16 years old.
Tyler was 18 years old and a student and Rutgers University. He jumped off a nearby bridge and drowned himself after his roommate planted a hidden webcam and broadcast Tyler kissing a boy.
Dharun Ravi and Mollie Wei, not content with just the one invasion of privact, urged all of their friends and twitter followers to watch as they did it again. But they didn’t get the chance to do it a second time, because Tyler was already gone.
It is heart wrenching that it took a death to bring to light the cyber bullying and other struggles that many members LGBT community face.
There was also Amanda Todd, who switched schools to get away from the bullies and a person who was blackmailing her with nude photos. Famously before her suicide, Amanda Todd posted a video telling her story.
Here it is re-posted and translated by CreedyGameTV.
Because the bullying online was not enough, people turned to bullying her in real life. It culminates in a girl at school beating her while others filmed it. When she finally got home that night she drank bleach in an attempt to kill herself. She was rushed to the hospital and her attempt was unsuccessful. The next day on Facebook she saw messages like “She deserved it,””I hope she’s dead,” and “I hope she sees this and kills herself.”
She was 15.
It makes you wonder what is going through these tormentors minds. It makes you wonder if they feel guilty about it, even now. When you get down to the basics the only person responsible for a suicide is the person who committed it. But that’s not entirely true is it? They didn’t get there on their own. People had to abuse them and abandon them and make it clear that there was no other option.
Well, I’d like to explain something. On the internet, no one is anonymous. If you create that fake Facebook or MySpace profile, if you comment, if you tweet, you can be tracked. You can be tracked right to the device you did it on. Funny thing about the internet, it’s like signing your name. It’s like being finger printed. You don’t have to write down your real name, but your prints are all over the paper and the pen you used to sign it.
So you can be tracked by any admin with access to google wondering how to track an IP.
A few months ago someone was leaving nasty comments on this page. So I tracked her IP address and realized it was someone who was also harassing me, and my family, in real life. I made a post about it. You may have seen it before my professor told me to remove it. That’s called retaliation. And I shouldn’t have done that. It felt really good, but I shouldn’t have done that. Because that made me sink way down into the pits of her levels.
Later, I blocked the IP address and saved this image knowing that if the behavior begins again I will be contacting the courts and showing them the IP address with the comments. Cyber bullies just hand you evidence for court cases by the way. Not too bright I guess.
Funny thing about those rumors that get spread online, they can be traced toooooooooo. Which means if someone at school is spreading lies about you, particularly over social media, screen shot it. Take a screen shot, don’t crop anything, and send it on in. Libel is fairly serious at any age and schools like to nip that in the butt before people go out and do more damage.
I know that it’s hard to ignore. I have been dealing with bullies since I was in kindergarten and I know most of them just need a swift and solid high five…. in the face…. with a chair, but you cannot stoop. Because once you retaliate you are an active participant and you are no longer a victim.
I do believe in confrontation, however. You, as a human being, have a right to say “Stop it. I don’t like this. I will go to the police if this continues.” And when it continues, because I’m convinced that any one who feels the need to be a bully is probably too dense to know what stop means (I mean my goodness, that’s a hard word to understand), go to the authorities. Don’t ever be afraid to report the behavior. Flag inappropriate material online, tell your teachers, your bosses, even the police if it gets to that point.
You may be wondering “How will I know when it’s at that point?” The police are the top of the totem pole, if the other authorities in your life have not been able to stop the behavior then it is time to call the police.
Bottom Line: Bullies are stupid, needy, attention seeking unloved little tics. Pluck ‘em off your shoulder and set ‘em on fire just for good measure. They’re less than 1/100th of your size.
If you are looking for further information about how to protect yourself and/or you children from cyber bullies. Check out the Parents Guide to Social Media on Facebook.