Taking a Stand Against Cyber-Bullying
Posted by becca3416
About a week ago, I came across Carley’s anti-bullying post on her blog Findingravity (click the button above for a link to her post). I have been meaning to share a little story I have about this. Tuesday is currently bullying me, so forgive me if my story telling skills are a bit sub par today. Also, this is not a personal bullying story, although there were times that I was definitely harassed. I think we have ALL been there in some way, shape, or form at least once. However, this is my childhood best friend’s story, who I still am closer that Catdog with (yea I went there), and who had an ongoing cyber bullying situation in middle school. I think many people forget about the internet as a means to intimidate and torment peers, so here goes…
My best friend growing up lived in the town over from mine. She went to a different school, but we studied dance at the same company, and I have known her since we were just out of diapers. We spent every possible waking hour together, doing each other’s make up, playing Mario and hide and seek with her little brother, and of course, chatting with boys via AOL and AIM. I will refer to my friend as Jazzy, because relevant to this story, that was the first part of her screen name. I am kind of proud that I still remember that.
Jazzy was always, and still is, an utterly gorgeous girl. I don’t think she ever even had a token awkward phase. She made everything from big ass bows to braces look pretty. Not only was she beautiful with her long brunette perfectly curly locks, but she was a cheerleader and a dancer in and outside of school. Now, I know what you are thinking. That sure doesn’t sound like the profile of a kid that would get bullied, right? Stereotypically, no it doesn’t, but people tend to underestimate the powerful influence of the green-eyed monster.
There was one particular gang of classic mean girls that ruined several years of Jazzy’s pre-teens. These envious terrorist in polka-dotted ribbons took a different approach at rattling my friend other than the standard physical and verbal abuse. It is hard to remember specific details of how it all got started or exact messages that were received, so bear with me. What I do remember were many a sleep overs that ended in hours of her tears and my and her mother’s concern.
Like I said, we were almost always chatting with boys and fellow dancer buds on instant messenger. When we would sign on, these particular bullies began sending occasional derogatory messages to Jazzy here and there. We usually brushed it off. Then, the messages started becoming more frequent… more unsettling. They came through multiple mediums. There were multiple screen names created to harass her, e-mail after e-mail, and eventually phone calls and voice messages. Some messages even included threats. She would block them until blocking became futile. It became such an issue that one particular night, Jazzy’s mom called the police.
While I am sure there were instances outside of the web that occurred, the deepest cutting wounds were made with a keyboard and dial-up. Jazzy even considered switching schools. There were times when I am sure she was scared to go outside because these girls lived in her neighborhood. Here she was, having to consider uprooting her life in a time when she should have been enjoying awkward school dances and practicing her toe-touches in the front yard. Cyber bullying is just as real as a face to face encounter. Kicking someone in the stomach on the playground because you don’t like them, or because they are different, is just as painful to the victim as you repeatedly sending negative and self-worth shattering messages every time you sign on the computer.
Say no to cyber bullying! And trolls, that means you too. You don’t have to know someone personally to bully them.
If you have a story of your own you would like to share, be sure to make a post dedicated to this subject and insert the Anti-bullying Link Up button to it or in a text widget on your sidebar.
[This is one of my favorite pictures of me and Jazzy in college... and bully free!]
- Bullying, Sexual Harassment, and Dating Violence (education.com)
- How is bullying at school related to cyberbullying? (education.com)
- Anti Bullying Link Up (missfoureyes.wordpress.com)
About becca3416I am a twenty-something year old southern ballerina turned business student. While I graduated college with a degree in Marketing, I currently work in Safety for an oil field company. Sadly, I do not even own a hard hat. Up until this point, I have followed the path set out for me that was promised to lead me to success. What I did not do, was take the time to figure out what my definition of success is. Having lived in Louisiana my entire life, I am utterly fixated on my goal of eventually moving somewhere new (preferably far) while pursuing a career in writing and/or social media marketing. I believe one of my callings is making people laugh. Although I think I can play the drums, I cannot and will not sing in front of humans. Don’t ask.
Posted on April 17, 2012, in Inspirational, Opinion and tagged 25tofly, AOL, blog, Blogging, bully, community, Cyber-bullying, findingravity, Harassment, inspirational, life, Mario, Middle school, Opinion, personal, Verbal abuse, Violence and Abuse, WordPress, Youth. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.