Living in the Cyber World

Drawing by: Charlotte Neibording
Drawing by: Charlotte Nieberding

In our ever-growing online world, imagine being afraid to join in on the trends or socialize with your friends and family because of cyber bullying.

These days it seems as though everyone is on social media like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Kik. Some teenagers take advantage of not being face-to-face with each other to say and spread mean, obnoxious things. Cyber bullying is the use of electronic communication to bully another person. I myself have been through some very traumatic cyber bullying experiences.

It started in the 8th grade, I was happy and nothing could get me down, until it did. I had just set up an Instagram and Kik account, I wanted to be like everyone else. It started within the first few weeks I had my accounts, people were making fake profiles to message me mean, horrible things. I would even turn off my phone, and after hours of leaving my phone off without responding, I would come back to hundreds of messages of this anonymous person telling me that my life was not worth living anymore.

I spent my entire 8th grade year moping around and being sad. I wasn’t a happy person and it was because of the Internet, which I was ADDICTED to. Once 8th grade ended, I figured the cyber bullying would too, but boy was I wrong. Things only continued to get worse once I hit high school. I had people commenting on my Instagram photos that I was ugly and I shouldn’t even try to make friends because nobody really loves me.

I was scared to leave my house. I did not want to go to school, out to eat, or even to church. Everywhere I went someone was laughing at me and pointing out what someone posted on my pages. It was as if anywhere I went, I could not get away from the virtual world. I shut everyone out, and kept my feelings contained. Teachers questioned why my grades were dropping and I was always sleeping during their class, but they never thought any further than just me being a teenager.

Looking back now, I wish I would have told someone. I wish someone would have asked if I was okay. If I told someone, the bullying would have been solved and I wouldn’t have spent four years of my life being sad and scared because of nasty things people did to me.

Cyber bullying turned me into a person that I didn’t want to be. I was never happy, I was mean, I just wasn’t the perky person I once was. I got so upset over the situation because I never understood why someone could be so unnecessarily mean to another person. That is not the person I am, and I did not understand that not everyone has the same heart as me.

Throughout the things that happened to me with the constant hate I got every time I picked up my phone I ended up being in a deep stage of depression. Things were not going to turn around for me anytime soon.

Cyber bullying continued effecting my life up until this year. I finally made new friends and learned how to use a block button. Although I am not bullied online anymore, it still hurts me to this day. My self esteem will never be how it used to be, and I will always think twice before posting anything. It has caused me to be a nicer person and reach out to people I see getting hurt.

Cyber bullying is a real thing, and it does actually affect your peers. The things you say to someone behind a screen can upset and devastate them to the highest extreme. Up to 30% of victims have turned to self harm and 10% have committed suicide as a “way-out” from this virtual torture. It causes depression and even social anxiety. Cyberbullying seems to be a “hush hush” topic along with mental illnesses which it causes. No one wants to talk about things that hurt. But these things should be discussed and solved. Nobody should ever feel like they aren’t worth it.

Has this happened to you? Are you experiencing cyber bullying personally? There are ways to get through this and things will get better. Family is always a good place to start. Sit down with someone that you are very close to in your family and tell them what is happening. Let them know how it makes you feel, it might hurt telling your story at the time but, talking about things helps. Also, there is always a friend willing to help. Telling someone does not make you weak. It only shows that you want to help yourself. This experience has made me a better person and makes me want to help everyone I can.