Cyberbullying has proven to be one of the most destructive bullying tactics to emerge in recent decades. The prevalence of cyberbullying is a result of how easily cyberbullies can have access to their victims. Many people do not realize the extreme effects that cyberbullying can have on children and teens. Reading the stories of actual cyberbully victims can help individuals understand the consequences of this destructive form of abuse as it is real life stories of bullying and cyberbullying that show how harsh their consequences on the victims can be. Below are some cyberbullying stories of victims and survivors so that others can be better educated on this serious problem.
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Cyberbullying Stories: Justine
14-year-old Justine never imagined that she would become a victim of cyberbullying. She was no stranger to personal challenges as she had spent months prior battling cancer, and after she was told that her cancer was in remission, she felt certain that her struggles were behind her, and as a result, her experience with cyber bullying was something she was not prepared for.
She began to receive threatening email messages from a mysterious cyberbully. The threatening messages continued to arrive and ranged from merely rude to downright terrifying. When the messages escalated into extreme threats such as, “I’m going to rape you,” Justine’s parents decided to take the issue to the police. The police were quickly able to trace the messages back to Justine’s classmate who also happened to be her best friend at the time. The courts required the cyberbully to attend counselling sessions and to write Justine a formal letter of apology. Although Justine’s family felt that this punishment was too lenient, they were glad that their actions resulted in a positive outcome.
Cyberbullying Stories: Megan Meier
Cyberbullying is especially difficult for children or teens that are already having difficulty fitting in or navigating the confusing world of social interactions, like Megan Meier. Spending much of her childhood overweight and dealing with ADD, Megan was set apart from many of her peers. She had struggled with her weight and her ADD aggravated compulsiveness.
By the beginning of eighth grade things seemed to look up for Megan; she had lost some weight and through MySpace, she had met a new boy, Josh, that really seemed to like her. However, she also had a falling out with a girlfriend who lived nearby, and the two were often bickering at school and on the bus. When Megan began to suspect her ex-best friend of telling Josh terrible things about her, she quickly spiraled into depression. Megan’s mother tried to help her daughter distance herself from Josh and the ex-best friend, but Megan’s ADD caused her to compulsively check her MySpace page.
As Megan’s 14th birthday approached, she became more unstable as it became obvious that no one was planning to attend her party because of things they had read about her on MySpace. The afternoon before her birthday, Megan became enraged over what was being posted and her mother had to force her to leave the computer and go to her room. By the time Megan’s mother had prepared dinner and went to fetch her daughter, young Megan had hung herself in her closet.
The most disturbing revelation in this example of cyber bullying stories, is that Megan’s MySpace boyfriend, Josh, never actually existed. It was a fake account created by Megan’s ex-best friend and her mother. This is an instance when adults are the culprits of cyberbullying so severe that it resulted in an already troubled young person committing suicide. Cyberbullying is a real problem that results in traumatizing consequences for all involved.
Although suicide is an extreme result of this example of cyberbullying stories, it is a reality that parents, teachers and caregivers cannot deny. The only remedy for cyberbullying is action. When cyberbullying escalates from mere online bickering into harassment, children and teens need their parents and teachers to stand up for them and take action that will put an end to the abuse.
One of the first things to do is to cut off the access through which a cyberbully has to your child. You must manage your child’s online accounts in order to control the access he or she has online. Any media through which the child is being bullied should be closed to eliminate the bully’s access to the child. Some children and teenagers will be resistant to a parent taking control in this way, but there are times when the adult must take charge.
Cyberbullying Stories: Tyler Clementi
Tyler Clementi, 18, was a regular freshman who was passionate about playing the violin and was still getting his gay identity. Instead of enjoying college life at Rutgers University, his first semester proved to be a living hell, one he felt he could not escape.
Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, had a hard time getting along with him and realized that Clementi was an introvert who liked to keep to himself most of the time. When Clementi informed his roommate that he would be hosting a male guest at their dorm room and asked for some privacy, Ravi went across the hall to his friend, Molly Wei, and both of them streamed a video live from Clementi’s room using Ravi’s webcam. They witnessed Clementi kissing another man and Ravi immediately began tweeting about it to friends and other Rutgers students.
On the same night, Clementi sent a request to the school’s administration asking for a single room citing that his roommate had used a webcam to spy on him.
The next day, Clementi once more notified Ravi that he would be receiving a male guest. This time, Ravi tweeted that he would be streaming the entire sexual tryst live, and invited everyone to watch; nevertheless, the viewing never occurred.
The following day everyone woke up to the news that Clementi had jumped off a bridge into the Hudson river; his body was found hours later. His last communication with the world was a Facebook status declaring that he was going to jump off the bridge and that he was sorry.
Ravi and Wei were both charged with several counts, Wei made a deal to testify against Ravi for her charges to be dropped and Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail by a New Jersey judge for spying on Clementi. In addition to his 30-day jail sentence, Ravi was also sentenced to 3 years probation, ordered to complete 300 hours of community service and attend counseling programs for cyberbullying and alternative lifestyles.
As a result, when the abuse your child has been enduring is grounds for criminal charges, do not hesitate to take the matter to the authorities. There are legal measures that can be taken by the all local law enforcement offices to put an end to your child’s torment and punish the tormentor. Never be afraid to share your bullying stories with your friends and family, or people of authority who can help. .
These examples of cyberbullying stories make it clear that the internet and social media can be used to traumatize a child, sometimes enough to drive them to suicide.
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