A Cyber Bullying Victim Shares His Experience

Today is October 1st, which is also Blue Shirt Day™ World Day of Bullying Prevention©

Cyber bullying is a topic I cover in my Q3 2012 issue of Protecting Information Journal, and my youth reporter for this quarter’s issue, Lexx, wrote about his personal experience with cyber bullying.  Typically only my subscribers get to read these great articles, but in honor of Blue Shirt Day™ I want everyone to have a chance to read his article that provides important insights into how so many of our children are dealing with this growing problem.  Here it is in its entirety; please provide feedback, not only to me, but also for my talented youth reporter!

Cyber Bullying – Before, During and After My Experience

by Lexx, age 14

According to a nationwide poll called “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids,” cyber bullying affects more than thirteen million kids each year via text, email and social networking sites. Statements that are meant to be funny or make you look cool may actually harm others – that’s what makes it cyber bullying. Little words can cause big trouble. We learned in school that people who cyber bully others normally do it because they don’t have the courage to face issues in real life.

A poll by the i-SAFE Foundation shows that more than 50 percent of adolescents and teens have been cyber bullied. About one in three of us has actually gotten a cyber threat, and about 25 percent of kids are repeatedly bullied on their cell phones or the internet. Over half of kids don’t tell their parents when they’ve been cyber bullied.

I have had several experiences with cyber bullying, and my friends have too. I took a poll of my 10 closest friends, and out of the 10, five said they have been cyber bullied. This matches the statistics. But I think that even though the other five said no, it might actually be that they didn’t want to answer truthfully because it may hurt their reputation as the “big kid” or they just wanted me to stay out of their business.

Most of my cyber bullying interactions have been on Facebook. I used to have a lot of fun on Facebook, but then I got careless. I commented on a picture of a BB gun: “That gun doesn’t shoot fast, it sucks.” Those seven words led to a whole Facebook fight, with the kid saying he was going to jump me after school. I was afraid to tell my parents because I thought they would do what most parents would, call the other kid’s parents. Then I would become the kid that had his mommy and daddy call. So I just pretended that nothing was going on and kept commenting for a couple days, trying to make the situation go away. But the other comments only got worse.

Then my uncle saw all the terrible things being said to me because he followed the comments to the other kid’s page. So he called my parents, and they contacted the school.

I thought my great school year and reputation were going to come to an end, but no, that’s not what happened. The school took care of everything and no one even knew about the situation. I overreacted about what my parents’ involvement might mean. So I wasn’t the kid whose mommy and daddy called, I was the kid that didn’t get hurt. I learned a lesson.

That’s why you should have privacy settings on any account on the web, letting you to block certain people, and not allowing in things that can cause problems. (I blocked the kid who bullied me.) But you shouldn’t use those settings to block relatives that want to be involved in your life. Heck, even tell a relative to get on a social networking site with you, so you know that you will always be safe because they’re watching.

But even if you have your privacy settings on, I have seen people comment, “Text me, I don’t have your number.” Then they will give out their number online. That’s just what bullies want because they can harass victims directly by text now. Also I see people do “shout out” videos on Facebook saying bad stuff about others and stating personal information. You should always keep your contact and location info to yourself, unless you’re face to face with someone, but make sure you trust them, and that they won’t give it to others that will abuse it.

I actually just got off Facebook for now. It was getting out of control. Since then, I’ve started hanging out with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while and my parents have been letting me stay up later because I’ve been out riding bikes and swimming. I still text people and use the internet for researching things but I don’t miss Facebook.  I just don’t feel like I need it right now. Maybe when I’m older, if it’s still around.

Lexx, Facebook could very well be gone some day, but I’m confident there will be other new generations of social networks available to take its place!  🙂

For more information on cyber bullying, and the impacts to those involved, here are a few of the many terrific resources that are available:

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