You Are Not Alone

Source%3A+canr.msu.edu
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You Are Not Alone

Source: canr.msu.edu

Source: canr.msu.edu

Source: canr.msu.edu

Source: canr.msu.edu

By Luismari Ramirez, Staff Writer

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During my freshman year, I had an argument with someone I considered a friend based on a comment I had made in an online forum. A day or two later, I started getting harassed online by a group of people that I did not know but who probably knew my so-called friend. I felt horrible since they told me to slit my wrist and to never come back to the site, but I didn’t feel like it was important enough to tell anyone.

I ended up blocking all ten people for a couple of months and eventually unblocked them thinking I wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore. I was wrong. After a few weeks of unblocking, I crossed paths with one of them again, and we got into another argument which ended with me getting harassed once again, this time by a smaller amount of people, yet their words did not hurt this time.

I am not the only one at Miami High to encounter online harassment. Sophomore Amanda Nuñez, during the 7th grade when she was in a sad state of her life, said that there was one girl who just hated her guts. When Amanda was starting to get over the rough patch, the girl decided to say mean things to her online such as: “It’s funny how you’re so confident about your life now when only a few months ago you were hurting yourself, and now you’re acting like everything is okay.” It hurt Amanda to read such words, but she couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone about the situation and decided to deal with it in silence.

 

What Cyberbullying Is

Ms. Gottlieb, 11th grade counselor, describes cyberbullying as repeated messages that make students feel unsafe and vulnerable, and adds it could happen to anyone at school.

If I had spoken out and told one of my counselors about what had happened to me, they could’ve offered me advice about my situation.

“A 2017 report on school crime indicated that among students ages 12-18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, 15% were bullied online or by text.”

Source: Stopbullying.gov

The Consequences

9th grade counselor, Ms. Garces says, “Social media is unfortunately not used by kids for what it’s intended for.” She advises students to make their accounts private and report any instance of cyberbullying. She also warns that those students who are caught cyberbullying risk being suspended or expelled.

A 2017 report on school crime, posted on the website Stopbullying.gov indicated that, among students ages 12-18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, 15% were bullied online or by text. Many cases could be avoided if those who bullied knew the consequences of their actions, not only for themselves but on those who they are cyberbullying.

StopBullying.gov reports that youth who are bullied have a higher risk of depression and anxiety. Symptoms may include: increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, loss of interest in activities.

“We live in a world that can be cruel, and when you learn to love yourself and be proud of who you are, nothing else matters.”

Source: 9th grade counselor Ms. Garces

Advice to Those Being Cyberbullied

To eliminate the risk of being cyberbullied, students should be careful what they post online and keep in mind the things they tell people. Students should also report any instance of online bullying because if incidents go unreported, the cyberbully will often become more aggressive.

To anyone suffering in silence, counselor Ms. Garces gives this advice: “We live in a world that can be cruel, and when you learn to love yourself and be proud of who you are nothing else matters.”