Young people are being bullied online for everything from their sexual orientation to their physical appearance. This bullying isnt just name-calling or an old school playground fistfight. Today, bullying has lead to many mob attacks and even death in some cases. Its gotten so out of control that, at this writing, every state except Montana has a law against bullying.
Jumped to Her Death
For example, in September 2013, Rebecca Sedwick , a 12 year old Winter Haven, FL girl, jumped to her death from a tower in an abandoned cement plant after being cyber-bullied. Her tormentors had made comments like, She should drink bleach and die. After Sedwicks death, one of the bullies is alleged to have posted a comment that said, Yes I kn I bullied REBBECCA nd she killed herself BUT I dont give a (Fill in the blank). The person that posted that comment and one other person were arrested and charged with felonies shortly thereafter. This is an example of a growing cool to be cruel culture.
Cool to be Cruel
Rebecca Sedwick is just one example of the cool to be cruel culture among young people going on all over the country. No one knows how many cyber-bullying attacks go unreported. But this is exactly why you cant wait to report it if its happening to you or someone you know. By waiting you could put yourself in a situation where you get physically attacked. Bullying normally starts out as taunting but it can quickly escalate to threats and physical abuse. Here are some things you can do to stop the bullying.
Federal Laws | Stopbullying.gov
Print the Abusive, Threatening Messages Out
If you get demeaning or threatening text messages or Facebook post, print them out to show to your parents, guardians, or teachers. They need to see that youre being harassed online so that they can respond to it properly. Youre not alone. Use your support system (Family, principal, pastor/priest, helpline) to get through the harassment safely. If you cant print it out, show it to them online. If you show them the harassment as soon as possible, you could save yourself or someone else a lot of mental and physical pain.
Take Away Their Power
You can take a cyberbullies power away by closing your online social sites. You shouldnt have to do this but it could help save your life. Consider closing your online social sites until the bullying stops. Deleting or closing your accounts takes a weapon away from your attacker. If you close your account, bullies cant tease, taunt or harass you through social media sites. Rebecca Sedwicks mother regrets not taking her daughters cell phone away. She didnt want her daughter to be mad at her because she couldnt talk to her friends. Rebecca was able to use her cell phone to see the cruel things the cyber bullies said to her and about her on her on the internet. Understand the danger and close your online accounts or at least dont check them until the bullying stops.
You may have to resort to extreme measures to protect yourself if youre being bullied online. If the bullies are former friends, you obviously need to find new friends. Real friends dont turn on one another. Talk to your parents about going to a new school if the bullying doesnt stop. This could be difficult at first but it will be worth it if it stops the bullying. Moving away depends on your situation and it may be harder than a new school but its a lot easier than what Rebecca Sedwick went through.
Dont Empower Them
Whatever you do dont empower cyber bullies by believing what they say. You may or may not have a bad situation that bullies attack but they only do it to make themselves feel better about their shortcomings. Sometime the very thing that makes you different threatens other people and they lash out out of fear and ignorance. So dont let anyone talk you into feeling bad about yourself. All of us have some things we would change if we could. But the fact of the matter is that we are wonderfully created and each one of us is unique. So when people are mean and cruel to you, celebrate your uniqueness. Dont internalize verbal abuse and listen to it over and over in your head. Have courage, keep your head up, put your best you forward and enjoy life. You can help stop cyber bullying.
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