Another Type of Bully

I remember my first computer . . . it looked something like this:

I can’t really remember what we used it for but I do know that Facebook was a long way off at that time . . . in fact, it was WELL before MySpace – and that’s saying something!

I consider myself pretty computer savvy and up on social media.  I have to say, though, that there are downsides to social media and our friend, Stephanie, from When Crazy Meets Exhaustion, talks about one of them in her guest post today:

Sticks and Stones May Break My 

Bones, but Words Will Kill Me 

By Stephanie Jankowski

2011:


Boy liked girl.


Girl didn’t return his feelings.


Boy went to his basement and shot himself in the face with his best friend as a horrified witness.


Our small town was stunned. Teachers and classmates described the boy as popular, kind, a class clown type.


Why would he do this?


Not long after the boy’s suicide, we learned that the girl on whom he had pinned his heart had been barraging him with hateful text messages like Just kill yourself. She updated her Facebook statuses to humiliate him. Taunt him.


1993:

A few weeks before middle school began, her best friends called her on the phone to “break up” with her. She was told, “You’re too much like a mother! We want to have fun and you’re holding us back!”


Just like that, she was alone.


She started a new school with zero friends.


She cried for weeks finding solace only in writing. Sitting on her roof, she wrote poetry by moonlight.  The quiet nighttime skies provided a blanket of security that she desperately needed at that delicate time in her life.


Today she is an English teacher, mother of two, and a writer who wants you to understand how social media can be used as a weapon.


Had Facebook existed in 1993, I don’t know that I would be here today. Between off-the-charts hormones and emotional mood swings, I didn’t need one more thing to contend with, let alone an avalanche of hate and constant reminders that I wasn’t wanted.


Social networking has eliminated the necessity and sometimes the desire for face-to-face interaction.


Do social media outlets beget an emotionally unavailable generation?

Are today’s kids so detached and uncompassionate because they hide behind iPhones and computer screens?


In many cases, like this young boy’s, students cannot escape the brutality that used to be confined to school yards and empty hallways. It’s no secret that bullying has increased tenfold because of 24/7 access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter; all you have to do is Google “social networking and suicide” to see the heartbreaking evidence.


Bullying can be physical, emotional, and electronic.

Don’t underestimate the damage words can do. While I would like to believe that those who spew such vileness from their Facebook and Twitter accounts do not truly grasp the enormity of their words, repeated incidents speak to the contrary.


Has social media really numbed so many to the human experience?

Does the ability to have a conversation without ever having actually spoken a word make it easier to hate?


Empty desks in schools across the country would say yes



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Isn’t Stephanie AWESOME?  Those mean girls – which is the only way to describe them on a somewhat family friendly blog – don’t know what they are missing!  You can read more from Stephanie on her blog, When Crazy Meets Exhaustion, her Facebook, Twitter and G+ page!

We would love for you to take a stand against bullying with us.  Stephanie actually approached us with this article because we have been actively trying to get people to sign this pledge:






If you haven’t signed it yet, we would appreciate you taking the minute it takes to add your name and email address.  

Thank you for taking a stand!



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About Janene Krajci Christine Hutchinson (More Than Mommies)

Janene has been married since June 2004 and has 4 beautiful children (3 boys and 1 girl). She has lived in Western Pennsylvania her whole life. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Educational Studies. She is the Director and a Teacher at a local nursery school. One of the things on her bucket list is to visit restaurants from her favorite celebrity chefs - she's a Food Network Junkie.

You can contact Janene at janene@morethanmommies.net

Comments

  1. So with you on this Stephanie and as bad as kids could be in our time at least they didn’t have social media to make bullying and such worse. God help our kids and seriously we really need to be on top of what they are doing on the computer. Just scary. Great post and truly couldn’t agree more.

  2. Penny Roach says:

    This really hit a nerve with me Steph and it IS so heartbreaking. You grew up to be kind, compassionate, giving and tolerant. Your work is at times funny and engaging and at other times poignant and heartbreaking and truthful. Sometimes I wonder why Twitter and Facebook are called “social” because the actual socialization is so far removed. When you think about it, the seeds that planted Facebook “stemmed” from a mean spirit.

  3. WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion says:

    Dara, sorry to hear you hit a rough patch, too! What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And the second I typed that, I regretted it; way too many kids don’t have the opportunity to know stronger…

  4. Sad but well said Steph. Sad but true.

  5. WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion says:

    Thanks for visiting and reading, Jill <3

  6. Daily Dose of Damn says:

    What a heartbreaking (and powerful) post, Stephanie. I’m so sorry you had to endure that kind of pain at such a vulnerable time in your life. I have the talk with my son about not being a bully and speaking up if he sees someone being bullied. There’s very little I can do if he becomes a target, though – I just hope I’m instilling a strong enough sense of self-worth your parents obviously instilled in you.

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