February 12th 2015

When I was a junior in high school, I went to a basketball game with my sister at her high school. I sat with her friends, watched the game, and was minding my own business. I guess a couple guys saw my beautiful self at the game and took photos of me and sent them around the school saying “This is my f**** ugly girlfriend”.

Now I never saw the photos, but I do know that my different facial features, at least to me, are more distinct at different angles. Also I have hard time breathing from my nose, so there are times where I catch myself with my mouth slightly open.

I had never been bullied to that extent before and I did not know how to respond. I was already insecure, and tried to not draw attention to myself so that hurt. I tried to brush it off like it didn’t happen for the longest time, but how does something like that not affect you?

I did not know these guys. I did not even go to their school. Once my sister found out about this she had some strong words with them. Let’s just say she’s not afraid of much, and has no problem with confrontation when needed. The incident was not brought to my attention until months afterwards so it had blown over and was probably forgotten by them. But it still sticks with me today.

Cell phones and social media are great tools to stay in touch with friends and family. They are also a very easy way to bully somebody. I have so many people on my social media that are constantly talking bad about someone else. Then it is like a chain reaction; their family adds to the drama, their friends chime in with some of their own choice words, and in the end, people who don’t know the person end up talking badly about them.

Bullying in itself is terrible, but cyber-bullying is, in my opinion, is one of the worst forms. The internet makes it so easy. You can type anything you want and send it. Then you can go on to watch a cute dog video and forget you said anything. But those comments will always be online. While the bully never has to face the victim when they post the negative comments, the victim has to face their words. Those words or those pictures will always haunt them. It might be easy to be the bully, but it is so difficult to be the victim.

Bullying does not stop at a certain age. I see grown adults posting negative comments about others on social media. It is not just a teenage thing. It is everyone. Over the years I have had to delete people from my social media because all of their negative comments towards people. There are a lot of bad things in this world, but cyber-bullying is something that angers me.

This is a huge issue and there are things that can be done about it. You can report these comments and posts: The button is there for a reason. If you see it, get it off the internet.

Parents, monitor your kids’ social media. Now I know all of the teenagers reading this are going to hate me for saying this but, parents, you are responsible for your child including how they use the internet. My mom monitored what we said on social media. She had our passwords and had her own social media accounts. We were not allowed to post anything negative on our accounts or they would get deleted. I know teenagers might be saying it is freedom of speech, but there is a wonderful thing called freedom to press charges, so you might want to think about that before you bully someone online. Or bully in general.

That is the other thing. When you are being bullied, there are actions you can take. You do not have to sit there and take it. Take pictures of the messages and use the proof to seek justice.

Saydee Robinson

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