Bullying sent you a message

I was bullied in primary school, but at least I had the feeling of knowing there is a family at home who loves me, and a place I can escape from the harsh, cruel world.

We have all been bullied at some point in our life, whether it be at school or at the workplace, even down the street. Until recent years, we have seen a social shift of the younger generation communicating online, which has created another domain where people can be bullied.

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Computer and mobile are most common mediums of cyber bullying (Source: http://www.pexels.com)

This comes into light where another high-school student from Sydney was sexual assaulted while drunk, the act was filmed then put to social media for all to see.

The introduction of social media has been a positive tool to help communicate and bring people together, but sometimes we have seen it used as an engine of ill intent. The feeling of when people could escape the bullies of the world by going to their home, have now found their personal space being invaded by them. Where can you escape to? When will it end?

On September 12, 2012, 15-year-old high school student Audrie Pott committed suicide after she was sexual assaulted eight days earlier. Social media and bullying played a huge role in her death. Audrie was drunk with a few friends at a party on September 3, 2012. She was too drunk to communicate when three boys from her school sexually assaulted her.

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Audrie Pott (Source: blog.audriepottfoundation.com)

During this time, video content of the assault was captured and shared around school and social media in the following days. Audrie couldn’t remember what had happened and attempted to ask the boys what had happened, in which they didn’t reply of let her know. After a couple of days, she found out from other people on social media by negative messages, and even bullying at school. When she felt like she couldn’t escape, she decided to end her life.

It is sad to talk about these things, but, the truth is Audrie Pott’s story is one of many cases in which social media was used as a bullying medium today. Statistics from Cyberbullying.org show at least 15% of students were bullied last year, and this number has been rising since previous years. These figures are troubling, but what can we do to help?

Some people still don’t understand that what gets posted online, is there forever. No matter if you try to delete any trace of it, chances are it is still there.

Cyber bullying is most engaged on mobile phones and this is mainly because it is the easiest device to access constantly. We must be aware of signs of cyberbullying, some of which are:

  • Verbal harm through messaging.
  • Sharing your private information or graphic content without consent.
  • Hacking or copying profiles.

If you know someone suffering from bullying online:

  • Reassure them they are not alone.
  • Help them contact their school or workplace to help correct the issue.
  • If required, get the Police involved, Cyber bullying is a crime.
  • All social media services and online forums have contacts to report these issues.

We want to hear your story, let us know if you have been bullied online?

1796679_10203034355925052_840466159_nWritten by Nathan Biddle

Nathan is a design, advertising and social media student at the University of Sunshine Coast. When not studying full-time, Nathan works part-time at Snowcentral, where he looks after social media and blogging for the snow store. He also interns with Australia University Sport as the Creative Lead to the Marketing Department.

 

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