When Your Cyber-Bullies Are Family

As our entire world becomes immersed in social media, the increase in stories of teenagers who take their life over cyber bullying is alarming.  As a teenager it was difficult enough to deal with my three to four very close friends and the 100 or so acquaintances I would say hi to in the hallways.  With Facebook, I see kids with 900 friends checking to see who “commented” or “liked” the twenty-minute old post about their choice of breakfast cereal, and it could make or break their day.

It is so much easier to bully someone when you are looking at a screen with only your own words.  There is no face to face interaction, no back and forth dialog.  You do not see or hear the cue from the other person that tells your brain, “Hey, your being an ass, knock it off”.  School ground fights used to end with an adult stepping in telling everyone to break it up, the crowd dispersing and those involved dealing with the consequences almost immediately.  Now they have assemblies and pass out pamphlets about the damage cyber bullying can cause.  These are usually after some poor kid is tormented online, puts a gun in his mouth, and pulls the trigger.

My family not only allowed but encourage one person to make up whatever he wanted about me, my husband, and our 12-year-old son, and use the internet to spread it around.  So many things were copied, forwarded, and made up and sent or told to everyone they could find, I have no idea who thinks what and why.  The fact they flipped my life upside down with no thought, is telling on how easy it was to do from a computer.  Not sure it would have been that simple, if they had to look at my son’s face while it was happening.

After almost a year, I know longer care what they say.  Their efforts telling me I need to move on, I ignore.  That being said, it is horrible to go through.  I cannot imagine dealing with something even close to that as a teenager.  But, I can understand how they get to the breaking point.  Hopefully, society will figure out a way to keep human interaction from completely being lost in cyberspace before we forget what it is like.

I have sent my own e-mails, posted on Facebook, and created Spun, to deal with my mess as it was happening. And although I enjoy seeing them, I need more than a “like” or a “comment” to process what has happened.  I require the old, face to face, school ground fight. Except a judge, not a teacher will be the one to break it up, allowing for everyone to deal with their own actions.  Just like back in the old days.