Until I started working with social media, I had never experienced cyber bullying, nor had I ever really seen it. Of course I'd heard of it, and the terrible effects of it on the bullied, but I had nothing to really gauge the severity to. If you're in the same boat as I was in, then you may not think it's that big of a deal; just kids being disrespectful. Well, I'm here to tell you that it's much more than that.
A little back story before I continue. Until I was about 15 or 16 years old I was a pretty small kid. I was under 5 feet tall (much closer to 4 feet), and I weighed 100 or less. I wore glasses, had braces, and was a smart-ass. For the sake of honesty, there were more than a few bad situations that I got myself into growing up just because I didn't know when to keep my mouth shut. Needless to say, I found myself on the wrong side of the social fence more than my fair share amount of times (we moved a lot, so I had the missed opportunity to reinvent myself every few years). I am no stranger to bullying, and I can say with certainty (at least for me) that the worst part about being bullied is the emotional damage. Getting jumped sucks, yes, but those cuts and bruises heal; emotional trauma takes a little more to get over.
With that being said, since I've gotten involved with social media, I've discovered that cyber bullying is not the same as schoolyard bullying. It can be completely unprompted, andcompletely viscous. Here's an example:
Before I begin, let me say that the person who commented was not the owner of that YouTube channel. I wanted to reach out to them, but couldn't find any contact information, so I simply left a comment on one of his videos, and that's what a completely random person replied to my comment.
You can call this "trolling" or "cyber bullying" or whatever you'd like, but the fact remains the same that this example is relatively tame, and it was an isolated incident. What I mean by that is that there was no conversation. I have been on the receiving end of this where it escalated to harassment and I was forced to block them. The point that I'm trying to make is that I've only been experiencing this for a short time (because I wasn't that heavy into social media before), and I can take it with a grain of salt because I have a bit more life experience to fall back on that allows me to put things in perspective. But it makes me think about the 12 or 13 year old kids who have had the Internet all their lives, which means that they've had the opportunity to be subjected to this all their lives. We hear stories on the news about kids taking their own lives because of cyber bullying, but, if you're like I was, you've never seen how completely viscous these people can be. This has to stop. These people are not beating up the smaller kids on the playground because their shoes are off-brand or something. The comments that I've seen can border on mental torture. With the digital age has come a way to get inside people's heads and really mess them up, and the effects can be seen on the news every night.
This is a poem that I wrote a while back in response to bullying. Please feel free to share it, with or without this post, in order to spread the word that we see what's going on and we CANNOT tolerate it!