The change can start with you. Cyber-bullying
Opinion piece 2 23/01/17
A story released on the 23rd of February shocked the nation. A young girl named Megan Evans was found dead aged just 14 after a hidden battle against cyber-bullies. Days after her daughter’s funeral, Nicola, Megan’s mother revealed on ‘This Morning’ the last message she received before killing herself as a plea to prevent the cruel reality of cyber-bullying.
“Why don’t you hang yourself”
‘OK I will’
When defining cyber-bulling many do not know where to start. However, it can be as small as a comment on a post that may seem funny to you. Messages can also be posted anonymously and can be seen by large audiences in a short amount of time, which can make the victim feel attacked and alone. Looking at statistics as well, 1.5 million young people have been bullied within the past year and 145,800 of these were bullied EVERY DAY.
A teenager, who would like to remain anonymous, shares her story of how bullying affected her life in high school.
It started as a joke I thought. I fell out with a friend I was once close with and she started commenting on my Facebook photos. I thought ignoring it was the best thing to do but it kept going and more people were beginning to join in, people I used to consider as friends. It continued to get worse after a week and I began to feel alone and isolated, I think the worst thing was no one I felt I could talk to. It got to a stage where I didn’t want to go to school anymore and my parents started to notice a change in myself. I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t want speak to them and even worse I was scared I was going to do something to myself.
‘People who have been bullied are almost twice as likely to bully others’
The thing with cyber-bullying is that it can occur to ANY young person online and can cause profound psychosocial outcomes including depression, anxiety, severe isolation, and, tragically, suicide according to research.
Reminding victims of cyber-bullying that they are not alone is crucial in the fight against bullying online. When visiting sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there are privacy settings that can be adjusted to prevent users from seeing your posts but even then it can be very difficult to completely remove the risk of cyber-bullying.
According to Dave Harte, an expert in media communication from Birmingham City University when children, and many adults for that matter, aren’t talking to someone face-to-face, they are less likely to feel the implications of what they are really saying. It is too easy to say something you wouldn’t say to someone if they were standing right in front of you so ultimately be nice and
‘Think before you type’
If you do notice signs of cyber-bullying on someone’s page block and report the individual to the social media site. The change can start with you.