Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Social Media And Bullying: Scary Stuff

Last week a 12 year old girl committed suicide after being tortured by a group of 15 girls on social media using KIK, ASK.FM and Instagram. It started over a boy! I'm sure if you talked to these girls, they would say they were only "fooling around" when they posted "Go Kill Yourself" and Why Are You Still Alive?"

Rebecca had told her mom last year about the bullying. The mom had alerted the school, and pulled her daughter out to home school her hoping to break this chain of hate. Mom blocked facebook, but was unaware of all the other sites her daughter was managing to stay on. Bullied teens report that they stay on these sites, even though they may cause unbearable pain because they want to know what kids are saying about them behind their backs.

This fall, mom enrolled Rebecca in a new middle school, and apparently she was making a new start. But bored middle schoolers from her old school, loving drama, continued the abuse. And Rebecca said enough, and jumped to her death.

There is no sugar coating this. There is no silver lining. Teens and technology, without supervision and education is tantamount to a lawless society, think Lord Of The Flies! These are not bad kids, just kids who act without thinking, just normal teens. It is your job to know what sites your teens are using first and foremost. Ask them to show you all their apps both on their computer and their phone. Read them every gory detail of this story. The one I have attached is pretty basic, but as they find out new information more articles are being written. Just google: 12 year old suicide+bullying. Education and training should be part of every teen's contract with their parents for the PRIVILEGE of having and using a computer or phone.

You have got to understand that teens and adults are different. Skip the "how could these girls say such horrible things?" Because that is what teens do. The emotional part of their brain is in overdrive, and a small incident can balloon into catastrophe when groups of teens jump on the bullying bandwagon. Sites like KIK, and ASK.FM give them this power. It is anonymous, it feels powerful, it is addictive!!!! It is your job to understand and not criticize your teens attractions to these sites. 'I get honey that kids love these sites. Its a free for all for saying anything you want. I get how fun it is sometimes to out-outrageous your friends on these sites. But as you can see there are real life consequences. These girls made this girl feel so bad, that death was her only alternative. So from now on you have permission to be on only two social networking sites, both of which you and I will monitor together. Ask.FM and KIK are not allowed."

Parents make sure you delete these apps yourself from your teen's phone/computer/ipad, itouch etc, and make sure that only you can download any apps, free or otherwise on your teen's phone or computer. If your teen becomes angry and abusive, that would be a red flag. He/she doth protest too much, makes me wonder what they don't want you to see. I have had a number of parents recently who have become more involved in their teens phone life. And the comment I keep hearing is" "I was really surprised how easy this was, it seems like my teen is actually relieved that they don't have to deal with this anymore.

Teens care what their friends think about them, in spades!!! So if things are getting a little crazy with sexual language, or bullying some kid one of their friends has a grudge against, they are expected to join in. The consequence of not joining in doesn't feel like much of an option. So blaming it on their crazy parents helps them to save face.

Your kids will be mad, duh!!! So What!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is some signs to watch for in your teen that could mean some kind of bullying is taking place:

  • Ravenously hungry after school and/or races to the bathroom. Some kids who worry about being bullied avoid the cafeteria and the bathrooms where confrontations may occur
  • Nightmares
  • Frequent complaints of not feeling well and not wanting to go to school
  • Frequent trips to the nurse's office


  1. You are absolutely right. Parents need to exercise responsibility and yes, control over what their teens do online and otherwise. I've written a novel about the bullying of a boy by a parent, classmates, preacher, etc. and the devastating effects it can have on an entire family. Another F-Word might offer parents some guidance on how to deal with it. It's available on Amazon.com and is getting great reviews.
    Keep giving out this sound advice. Thanks.
    Lissa Brown
    Author of Another F-Word

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