Anti-bullying and Anti-cyberbullying Campaign
Cyberbullying scars and can lead to suicide. Going into high school I had a few friends but didn’t know very many people in my new high school, that is one of the largest high schools in Utah. It was two months into the school year when one of my friends came up to me and asked if I had seen the “Davis High Kissing account?” I said, “No what’s that?” She said, “It’s just a stupid website where students vote if they want to kiss or diss someone.” So I went home and looked up that Twitter account and to my surprise my name was on there. Then I looked further and there were 23 rude and derogatory comments on why I was “dissed”. I was shocked, embarrassed, humiliated, and horrified! I didn’t even know many people at my new high school. Why would anyone make a Twitter account like this and how and why did my name get on it? I cried for two days because I thought school was going so well until that day. I already didn’t have good self-esteem and then to see negative comments against me destroyed my self esteem and self image. My friends told me it was a “Stupid Poll” and not to worry about it. How could I just forget that EVERYONE in the high school could see this and that it was just out there all the time for people to read and laugh at? I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. I was so embarrassed at school. I felt like everyone was looking at me and laughing at me every time I was in the hallway. I began to walk with my head down and just tried to get to my classes. My parents were dismayed that this Twitter account even existed. With my parents, we went in and met with the Principal and he was encouraging, helpful, and worried about me. He began working with Twitter and I continued to meet with him and this account was finally disabled and shut down. This had devastated me so much I didn’t want this to happen to anyone else. It was so embarrassing.
It was during my sophomore and junior year that I saw how big the cyberbullying problem really was. My junior year I had a boyfriend that got very jealous when we broke up and posted untrue things about me all over Twitter. Many of his friends posted many nasty, terrible, and hurtful comments all over social media. At the time I told my cheer coach about what I was going through and she told me to immediately shut down my Twitter account. My little sister also got cyber bullied in the first month of her 7th grade year at school.
Cyber bullying can take many forms. Sending rude, demeaning messages or threats to a person’s email or cell phone. Spreading false rumors online or through texts. Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or web pages where others can see. Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person without being caught. Taking unflattering pictures of a person and manipulating those pictures then sending them out to everyone’s cell phones in a mass text chain. Also sexting or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person.
Despite the potential damage of cyber bullying, it is strangely common among adolescents and teens. According to Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation, over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online.
The same number have engaged in cyberbulling. More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats online. Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyberbullying occurs. The Hartford County Examiner report concerning cyberbullying states that about half of teens have been the victims of cyberbullying. Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim. Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement. One in ten adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras. Girls are slightly more likely than boys to be involved in cyberbullying. These statistics are astounding.
Cyber bullying can be very damaging to adolescents and teens. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. I was involved in Hope Squad. This is a club at my high school where peers help other peers deal with anxiety, depression, and suicide. Being part of Hope Squad got me thinking a lot about how I could help others in my school fight against cyber bullying. I decided to start an Anti-cyber bullying campaign at my school. I met with and talked with my Principal and asked him if I could put posters up throughout the school that would bring awareness to cyber bullying. I had a few ideas and he liked them and choose one of them, then he took the idea to the school district to get district approval. The district approved it and I had 35 posters printed then hung them throughout the school. I also went to the local junior highs and elementary schools in my area and shared the idea with those principals and they approved them for me to hang them in their schools. They loved my idea and were so grateful. I hung up a total of 150 posters in the seven schools in my area with over 10,000 students combined. I want kids to think before they bully anyone. We never know what a person is going through and cyber bullying can have lasting negative effects on people throughout their lives. I truly feel that one person can make a difference in a community. If more people stood up and made a stand in their school and on social media accounts we could stop this problem and prevent many more emotional scars or suicides. I hope my efforts brought awareness and to the problem and made kids think before they post or bully anyone. Even if my efforts helped one or two people this project was worth it to me. I’m hoping that my project will have a ripple effect on my community and help prevent more emotional scars.