Bullies, Stalkers & Trolls... OH MY!
This post may be a bit off topic today from what I normally write about – but I’ve been motivated by recent events of the on-goings at TFB.
If you’ve spent any amount of time online on social networking sites, blogging or the-like then it is safe to assume you are familiar with, engage in or know someone that intentionally provokes or harasses others online.
Now, it is not at all surprising that the internet teams with people like this…however, it is shocking to find out so many young people are effected by it…maybe this is shocking to me because my generation really wasn’t affected by it.
I think about how my daughters will be affected by it in just a hand full of years.
I think about how my own teenage years would have been different if I grew up being bullied (or bullying others) online.
Danni Sanders, 14 years old, was bullied on the internet, took her own life on a Tuesday afternoon. Her mother Christine and younger sister Monique, 12, discovered her in the bathroom following days of violent and aggressive behavior online.[*]
Jessica Laney, a 16-year-old
girl took her own life. Friends of the Jessica said bullying through social media played a key role. Officials say Laney hung herself. [*] Hudson
I’m a grown woman and I am exposed to consistent trolling and bullying from other grown adults. Now, I have the ability to remove myself from it and know well enough never to read or perpetuate those people which I I’ve managed to do for a very long time –
…but to think I may be helpless when it comes to my daughters being harassed…
…nothing could make me more sick to stomach.
A 13-year-old girl, Megan Meier, hung herself after she fell victim to a cyber-bullying campaign orchestrated by the mother of one of her classmates[*]
Eden Wormer, 14 years old, who endured years of bullying online reportedly hugged her father and told him “I love you, Daddy, goodnight,” before hanging herself that Wednesday evening. [*]
This post isn’t about communicating research or providing support – and I apologize if this is somewhat coming from left field…but what are parents supposed to do with stuff like this?
I think of the bullying I used to do in high school and how that would be been exaggerated and compounded through the use of the internet to those victims…god only knows if those other young girls would have tried to hurt themselves because of what I did!
Luckily, I’ve out grown that, as most (not all) adults do.
When I think about it – maybe the best we can do is to understand trolling/online bullies for what it truly is: engineered to be socially and personally destructive that always carries a risk of not only emotionally/mentally hurting others but also.... physically.
These people are not sitting in the same room as those they are intentionally trying to hurt, instead that are completely removed from the negative consequences of being face-to-face. They don’t realize how far they are pushing the one person – just how fragile a young life is.
And since well over half of young people don’t even tell their parents when they are being harassed online, we must implant and set an example in them that it is NEVER acceptable or tolerable to terrorize and harass people, either online or in “real life”.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.[*][*]
Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying. [*][*]