The funny thing about movies is that most of them are make-believe. The good ones show people in seemingly impossible situations doing things that most of us can only dream of doing – secret agents saving the world, spaceship captains saving the galaxy. Even the ones set in a recognizable world with more “normal” people still interact with their families, co-workers and friends in different ways than you or I might. Learn about The Cyber Bullying Movie Phenomena!
Yet while movies are generally fictitious, they can sometimes still teach us lessons about life that we can imitate or avoid — the consequences and reward of unacceptable and acceptable behaviours for instance, how to act or not to act in social situations, and what successful people say, wear and do.
Sometimes there are positive messages about believing in yourself in order to overcome internal or external obstacles. Sometimes there are unintended messages, such as that “tilting your gun when you shoot it sure looks cool and tough.” Luckily for law enforcement, when people shoot “just like that cool guy in the movies,” accuracy dramatically decreases.
Another behaviour that’s regularly seen on the big screen has been bullying, often with messages of “bullies can be tough and scary, but usually get what’s coming to them” and “having courage means the hero can stand up to bullies.”
The “Back to the Future” movies, for instance, show that good things can happen in people’s current and future lives if they successfully confront (punch/outdrive) a bully. Likewise, in the alternate timeline where the bully has taken over the place, thanks to intervention from his future self, all sorts of unpleasant murder and mayhem has been taking place.
The “Revenge of the Nerds” series has a general theme about outsmarting, not out-fighting bullies, but there are a few pivotal scenes where standing up for yourself and punching the bad guy out seems called for.
However, in the last decade, we’ve seen a new form of bullying that is just beginning to be addressed on the silver screen: cyber bullying.
The accepted definition is still evolving, but can include using the Internet to “stalk” someone, such as learning about their interests, family, school, job, pets, friends and more. What the stalker does with the info can be everything from identity theft to making contact. Fear can come from knowing that someone you don’t know – or maybe know – has accessed your personal secrets.
Cyber bullying can mean also attacking someone in online, such as posting threatening or negative comments or photos on a blog, Web page or social network page. This could be the victim’s own page or a page that the bully would know they’ll see.
Cyber bullies can also launch attacks by email or text messages, containing direct insults or threats. More technically sophisticated bullies can also create more havoc, such as setting up automated emails or multiple anonymous accounts that can flood and ultimately disable your in-box.
Here are some examples of The Cyber Bullying Movie Phenomena and what behaviors we can learn from cyber bullying movies.
· The Net. Though it’s a little old-school by today’s standards, this 1995 film was one of the first to show the risks of electronic identity theft. A computer expert played by Sandra Bullock finds that her credit cards, bank accounts, even work ID are being taken over by someone else, and her access no longer works. Worse, someone else is claiming to be her simply because she has access to all of Sandra’s data.
There are, of course, high-speed chases, government spies and scary computer viruses. This film made people aware of how vulnerable personal information can be online, whether on your work or home computer and how easy it could be for someone to pretend to be you.
Cyber Bullying Movie: Cyberbully. In this 2011 made-for-TV movie, a high school student, Taylor, played by Emily Osment, enjoys the freedom and independence of her own computer, and naturally decides to join social networking sites such as fictitious one called Cliquester.
However, these innocent, curious acts of communication ultimately lead to betrayals from her friends, deception from other people she meets online, and general fear to the point of a suicide attempt.
This cyber bullying movie film does have an upbeat message – after her initial shame and fear, the student decides to not only stand up to the bullies but she and her family end up taking on the school system and pushing for changes in state law including harsher penalties for bullies.
Though the film was designed to “delete the drama” and is considered valuable to show how quickly things can get out of control, it did create its own real-life version of cyber bullying, in the form of Internet users mocking the characters, the acting and the film’s message.
A famous screen shot from the film “Ur a liar” now refers to anyone lying online. In the suicide attempt scene, in which Taylor can’t open the child-proof aspirin bottle, has also become synonymous with someone unable to perform a simple task.
Cyber Bullying Movie: Odd Girl Out. To an 8th grade girl, there isn’t much more desirable than being part of the in-group. In real life, you either get invited in on your own merits, find or form another group, or realize you’re fine on your own. However, in this movie, we’re shown that getting an ‘in’ with the top clique requires knocking one of the ranking members out, which is accomplished, in true Hollywood style, by spreading rumours, innuendo, and outright lies. Part of the attack on Vanessa, the previous ranking teen queen bee, is to create a web page of humiliating photos. And this is just laying the foundation for more harassment to come, including cruel text messages.
The movie ends with some of the more deceptive girls getting their comeuppance in front of the other students, true friends being revealed, and ultimately Vanessa taking matters into her own hands. But to get to this point, she breaks down many times, doubts who her friends are, becomes depressed and angry, cuts her hair, and even tries to kill herself.
An interesting perspective is the role of adults in this. Vanessa’s mom takes the harassment to the principal, who says his hands are tied and he can’t take any action since the bullying, while mentally and emotionally devastating to Vanessa, hasn’t been physical. Vanessa’s mom also tries to talk to the mothers of the other girls in the clique, but this also impairs her relationship with the other parents since they automatically take their daughter’s sides and swears the behaviours are coming from other girls, or that the rumours about Vanessa are true.
Cyber Bullying Movie: Bullies2 Buddies, an organization that offers “Golden Rule”-based anti-bullying training to school districts, said this movie was valuable for two reasons: it showed that anyone could be bullied – Vanessa didn’t have any disabilities or obvious social problems that could make her any easy target – quite the opposite. But with enough pressure and an organized campaign to dethrone her, even she could be damaged. The second point they mentioned is that the film didn’t make a hero out of the victim, which this organization said is sometimes a risk as an easy solution to bullying. In some cases, they believe the victim can completely turn the tables and become a bully themselves.
Cyber Bullying Movie: Submit the Documentary: The Virtual Reality of Cyber bullying: This cyber bullying movie is not fictitious like the previous films, but an hour-long collection of interviews and stories about three teens who were cyber bullied to the point they decided to end their lives.
Some were abused and harassed online, some were targeted by anonymous suspects, some were victims of ‘sexting,’ where nude or sexually-themed photos were either published online or threatened to be released.
The film is especially recommended for older teens, and shows the emotional damage that even playful behavior can cause, not just to a teen’s reputation at school but their very futures.
The intense film includes interviews with parents, counselors, teens, mental health professionals and offers solutions how to prevent or solve cyber bullying.
Beyond the intense message, it concludes that cyber bullying is more prevalent than people might think, and it requires many people to combat it. Victims need to know somewhere they can turn, their friends and peers need to offer a support system, and adults need to take more of a stand, even if no physical violence is occurring or is threatened.
Cyber Bullying Movie: The Social Network: Most of us know this movie as the general story of the origins of Facebook, how a failure to create a contract with a bright programmer led to the creation of the multi-billion dollar site that’s popular worldwide. Interestingly, there are some cyber bullying elements in this tale as well.
In one version of Mark Zuckerberg’s story, he’s dumped by his girlfriend, which leads him to begin harassing her online, first through his own blog and then on a student directory he creates that allows students to rank the attractiveness of their peers, often by illicit photos. He receives academic probation after the site becomes so popular it crashes part of Harvard’s network.
The site becomes so popular that Zuckerberg is asked to create a larger student activity site that soon spreads to other schools and then to the public.
The film ends with a wealthy yet lonely Zuckerberg sending a Facebook request to the girl who initially broke up with him, and fades out with him waiting and waiting.
Though much of the story of this cyber bullying movie is more about the legal manipulations, questionable business ethics and dynamics of friends and enemies that created Facebook, acts of cyber bullying certainly seemed to have played a role in its origins. and it has also raised questions on The Cyber Bullying Movie Phenomena.
As stated earlier, cyber bullying is such a new phenomenon and is less common than other films about bullying. But as we hear more about it in the real world, especially tragic cases where these acts lead to suicide, and more and more people communicating online, it’s likely we’ll see more discussions of cyber bullying in the movies.
Spread the word about The Cyber Bullying Movie Phenomena Now! and how one cyber bullying movie can actually change the ideas of millions on the dangers of cyber bullying.
Come to think of it, there aren’t enough cyberbullying movies out there! Since movies are a great teaching tool for teens, it is about time we asked the film industry for more cyberbullying movies! cyber bullying movies can entertain and teach.