By Malorie Kahn
“You’re so ugly!”
“What a loser haha”
“Just go kill yourself already.”
These are some of the many phrases that have been posted all over the internet. Directed at innocent individuals from multiple backgrounds. I’ve never quite understood the severity of cyberbullying until I experienced it myself.
Back when I was a sophomore attending Westlake High School, I was more than a little obsessed with social media. Not even with posting things on social media, mostly just following other pages and liking their stuff. It was exciting to see pages that shared my interests.
My favorite social media network was Instagram. I think I was following up to 2,000 accounts and I was probably a pretty active follower. One day, I went on Instagram to find hundreds of DM’s on my account. At first I got excited, but then I was just curious. To my surprise, I founds hundreds of pictures of nooses and knives and cuts. All of them saying around the same things: “Kill yourself,” “You deserve to die,” “You’re worthless,” “Just kill yourself already.”
These messages were from complete strangers. I had no idea what was happening, and I was terrified. And to be completely honest, I was hurt. Even though I didn’t know these people, it was hard to sit back and watch them send me grotesque images and rude comments was horrible. It was degrading and I would be lying if I said it didn’t get to me.
I finally convinced one of them to talk to me. I asked them why they were doing this and they told me that someone who was apart of their large internet group had said that I would be an easy target. Their goal was to try and get me to kill myself. That was their whole purpose in doing this.
To this day, I still have no idea who targeted me originally, but what I do know is that I’m not the only one who goes through things like this online. This was obviously an extreme case, but there are many forms of cyberbullying. Little rude comments on pictures or posts, rumors spread over posts, and calling someone out in front of everyone online.
No one deserves that kind of abuse. And you may not think that what you say or do online really hurts people, but it does. It really does and I speak from a lot of experience.
To any of you dealing with cyberbullying, I understand. It’s hard when you get constant hate no matter what you do. But, and I know you probably hear this a lot, the best way to deal with this is turn off the electronic. Do whatever you can to prevent it from happening. Block them, create a new account that’s set on private. But maybe the most important thing is to know your worth. You are worth so much. And those cowards behind the screens don’t know you. They are just bored teens with nothing better to do and no courage to do it anywhere else.
Be strong. Know that what they are saying is anything but the truth. Turn off the phone, turn off the computer. Know that they aren’t worth your tears. You can make it through this. Be strong and always be kind to others on the internet. It will be returned.