Is it possible that young people with so much life left to experience can become so traumatized by cyber bullying that they take their own life? Unfortunately, not only is it possible, this terrible kind of tragedy is happening more frequently than before. Others, who survived to tell their cyber bullying stories, help us learn more about what we can do to beat the cyber bullies.
Cyber bullying stories describe how young people are threatened, harassed, tormented, and humiliated by another young person, child, or someone they know who uses the Internet, social media websites, mobile phone voice messages and text messages to attack them.
Here are the startling facts from the UK charity group Childline:
- 49% of UK children have an account on a social media website
- 62% of UK children between the ages of 12 to 15 have a smartphone
- 38% of children and teens will experience cyber bullying
- 1.6 million times per year, children call the Childline
- Childline received 87% more calls about cyber bullying in 2014 than it did in 2013
Stories about cyber bullying are increasing. The connectivity and Internet usage by children means they can be attacked twenty-four hours per day. Cyber bullies are more vicious online than in face-to-face communications because they can get away with it. However, the emotional injury is the same as if they were yelling directly at the face of the person they are attacking.
These are real cyber bullying stories about real people and what they experienced. Hopefully, we can all learn something positive from these real life cyber bullying stories so we become part of the solution to reduce this serious problem.
Bronagh troubles started when an 11-year old boy she knew from school asked to become a contact of hers on the MSN social media website. She was surprised with the request, because he had not been nice to her at school. Nevertheless, she thought that because the boy had moved and was going to a different school, maybe he just wanted to stay in contact with some of the kids from his old school.
About a week later the attacks started. The boy called her fat, ugly, said that she was disgusting, told her that her family should commit suicide because of her or she should kill herself. He said that having ginger (reddish) color hair, which she had, was a disability. Bronagh began to believe what the boy said about her and her self-esteem was very low.
These attacks continued for three months. One of her friends challenged the boy online. Sometime later, the boy came back online to show red marks on his neck using his webcam, and told Bronagh he tried to hang himself because of what she said about him. Bronagh began to believe it was all her fault. She finally got him to leave her alone by permanently blocking him from her MSN account and she wishes she did it sooner before he got to her. She was one of the lucky ones to have been able to get help and not commit suicide even though she thought about it.
Izzy was only fourteen when she hung herself and died in her home after many months of being tormented by cyber bullies. This is one of the cyber bullying suicide stories that is very sad. After her death, a heart-wrenching poem was found. It was written to the cyber bully.
Hannah was also only fourteen when she took her own life because of cyber bullying. She hung herself in her home in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. After her death, her father found hate posts directed at her on the aks.fm website, which allows anonymous postings.
Daniel was seventeen when he killed himself. Before he killed himself, an online extortion ring was blackmailing him. They tricked Daniel into using a cam to masturbate, which he thought he was doing for a girl his own age. They told him if he did not deposit thousands of pounds in a bank account, the images and video would be shown to all his friends, family, and made public. He killed himself rather than suffer the humiliation.
Five years ago, Amy from Peterborough had a serious problem with cyber bullies when she was only thirteen. A group of students created a Facebook page that said they wished she were dead. This traumatized her so badly she considered suicide. Now, she is eighteen and her mother is happy she survived. Mother and daughter are both happy with software that has been installed in 1,500 schools, which scans the online communications of students looking for code phrases that may mean trouble like IHML (I hate my life) or Dirl (Die in real life). When the software picks up a possible negative code word, it notifies teachers with an explanation of what the code means.
This software provides a chance for intervention in serious situations, because the difficulty with teen suicides is that to others they appear not to show any warning signs. Additionally, child psychologists say that is it almost impossible for children and teens to talk to parents about what is going on.
Natalie from Sheriff Hutton, near York was bullied in school and then attacked by cyber bullies because of her weight and her Middle Eastern appearance. At school, they insulted her, spit on her, and attacked her in the hallways. She was happy to go home to get away from the bullying, but then it started to follow her online. She had a Facebook account and a Formspring account.
She got messages, many of them anonymous that told her to kill herself, that everyone hated her, and the world would be better if she was not here. She became depressed, anxious, and paranoid. Suicidal thoughts entered her mind and she started self-harming, but pulling her hair out and cutting herself. She used the Facebook reporting feature to report the abuse, but Facebook took no action to help her. She was not sure where all this vitriol was coming from, yet learned even students at school who pretended to be nice to her where making anonymous hate posts.
Real cyber bullying stories like this make many adults wonder why the young people do not simply block the cyber bullies or disconnect from systems where they suffer abuse. The reason is when the postings are anonymous there is no way to tell who to block and a complete disconnect from the entire system essentially means losing all your friends as well. This is why the door remains open for the abuse to flood in on some social network websites.
Luckily, Natalie survived the cyber bullying and joined programmes using cyber bullying stories for kids to help other youth, which also helped her regain her confidence and improve her self-esteem.
The cyber bullying real life stories of these tormented children include victims such as Paige who suffered attacks more than once. When Paige was only eleven, she got into a disagreement with a friend. This friend turned into an enemy and began using the MSN instant messaging service to threaten Paige physically. This lasted a week. Paige told her mother who reported this to her school. The school reacted swiftly and the cyber bullying ended.
When Paige was fifteen, she signed up for Formspring. Soon afterwards, the cyber bullying started again. This time Paige had no idea where the insults were coming from or who was posting them. They said she was fat and ugly, Because Formspring allows anonymous posts they could be coming from anyone, even people she did not know. On this system, it seemed like people were hurling insults because they had nothing better to do. To stop the cyber bullying this time, she had to close the Formspring account.
Some of the cyber bullying stories UK kids have experienced include Carney Bonner being cyber bullied for a year and starting to self harm after he got a Facebook message telling him he should kill himself. The cyber bully began his hate campaign with messages telling Carney “you are nothing,” “you do not mean a thing to anyone,” and “nobody cares about you.” The only reason Carney was not successful in killing himself is a friend saw the cutting damage to his arms and intervened taking him to the school counsellor who was able to help him.
Carney learned six months later who the cyber bully was. It was a person who he thought was a friend. This teen created a fake identity on Facebook for the sole purpose of secretly harassing him. At first, the friend thought it was a joke, but when he realized what he did almost caused Carney to kill himself, it was no longer funny. The cyber bully felt remorse. Nevertheless, after all the harm was done, there is no way to take it back.
The reason why cyber bullying has such a strong impact on the victims is the things a person can say while hiding behind anonymity are without restriction. Anonymity comes from making anonymous posts or using fake accounts. Then the constant repetitive attacks over extended periods of time grind the person’s psyche down. These cyber bullying true stories have one thing in common, if a young person already has a bit of self-doubt, the constant cyber attacks exploit this vulnerability.