Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cyber Bullying

I've heard about the dangers of cyber bullying for a long time. Because Facebook didn't exist until I was out of high school, I never really felt like I had a problem with it. I knew it happened a lot, and that many students became "anonymous" online because it was easier to bully someone when they didn't know who you were. But I never had an experience where I was personally attacked, until recently.

Last week I was going through my book's Facebook page and noticed someone had shared over ten of my photos. Normally I love it when people share my photo's from The Shapeshifter's Secret Facebook page. It helps people find my book and my blog. Since I saw so many shares by the same person, I decided to click on their profile and see if I knew them. I didn't, and when I saw the caption above my picture I immediately felt sick. I found picture after picture of me, my book, and other photos I had shared that had awful, vicious, terrible things written as the captions. There were several swearwords and one picture even had a caption that said I was evil. I couldn't believe it. A lot of the captions were so bad I couldn't even repeat them.

I blocked the person, reported everything to Facebook, and took all the necessary steps to ensure the facebook user never does it again, but it was really unnerving.

I began looking up facts about cyber bullying and I found this from

  1. Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. One in four has had it happen more than once.
  2. One in three teens has experienced cyber-threats online.
  3. Nine out of ten middle school students have had their feelings hurt online.
  4. About 75% have visited a website bashing another student.
  5. Four out of ten middle school students have had their password(s) stolen and changed by a bully who then locked them out of their own account or sent communications posing as them.
  6. The psychological and emotional outcomes of cyber bullying are similar to real-life bullying outcomes, except for the reality that with cyber bullying there is often no escape. School ends at 3 p.m., while the Internet is available all the time.
  7. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying.
  8. Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.
  9. About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than four out of ten say it has happened more than once.
  10. 90% of victims will not inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
  11. Cyber bullying has increased in recent years. In a national survey of 10-17 year olds, twice as many children indicated they had been victims and perpetrators.
Reading that made me feel so sad. I didn't have to worry about cyber bullying in high school, but I can't believe how prevalent it is now. It's frustrating and scary. The internet holds many amazing, helpful, uplifting possibles, but it's also so dangerous. I know this post is a little more serious, but this experience was definitely an eye opener for me.

I can only take so many serious blog posts. My next one needs to be about Christmas, hot chocolate, snow, and other happier things.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my God!!!Heather you just combed through an extensive survey.It's really awful & well enough to thrust someone's mental stgength and confidence.And for you,I expressed my feelings to you.How I got hurt for this nasty play with you!