Nowhere Safe- Cyber-Bullying Gone Crazy

We all know that cyber bullying is rampant. I’m pretty sure that most of us have been bullied, or know someone who has been bullied. There comes a point, though, when a victim of cyber bullying  can ask for help, and get it to stop. You follow the proper channels,  keep records, and it should end.  But what if it goes beyond just cyber bullying?

What if they hack into your channels, or your wifi?  What if they figure out how to access your devices remotely? What if they were able to listen to your  private conversations and  they knew everything your said? What if you received death threats?  What if they stalk your house, your car, your family?   What if you went to the school, the police, and even the FBI for help? 

What if NO ONE HELPED YOU?

Melody and Julia are two 12 year olds who live in Leander, Texas.  Melody and Julia  have been bullied, harassed, threatened, stalked and have received death threats.  All of it is documented, but nothing has been done to stop it.

They both used to be friends with a  girl names J.  As happens, as it  happened to me,  they had a fight, and then the other girl started talking about them on Instagram and bullying them. The girls mothers, Marti and Christine, spoke with J.’s parents  who denied that their daughter was doing anything- they said she was being hacked.  So the Moms complained to the school, where nothing really was done, and then decided to file a police report.  Even as the police were at her house, taking a report, they were being harassed. ( All the details are on Christines’ Blog) Their parents have reached out to both local and federal  authorities and hired a attorney, yet, the cyberbullying continues.  After receiving message such as this on Instagram:

“…If you don’t kill yourselves, I will. You can go ahead and tell Julia that I am on her account, and I’m going to pretend to be her. I’m going to make everyone hate her.”

Both families deleted all social media accounts, wiped their devices, and carried on, thinking that would end it.  It didn’t. In fact it got worse. Another Instagram account was made  and began sending messages that only could have been heard from inside the girls house – taunts about crying in fear, and being scared to go to school. Then it progressed, horribly, to death threats.

“You are pathetic and I hate you. Just reply all ready. You are a sick
retarded person and I hate you. What else to say? I FU**ING HATE YOU. And
one day soon I will kill you. I will, if it’s the last day I do.”

You would think that a death threat would be enough to stop this, right?  Wrong. It escalated to more harassment, stalking, and death threats.  This is from YESTERDAY.

: twitterthreat2

WHY??  Why isn’t this being taken care of?  I know if these types of threats were being made toward someone at a school, it would be taken  more seriously.  Does someone have to be hurt, or even worse, DIE for it to be taken seriously?   You see, even though they “know” who is behind it, the police say it can’t be “proven”.  The only way is can be proven at this point is with information  provided by Social Media companies who can provide IP addresses. Instagram, who was served with a subpoena doesn’t want to give up the information, because it will “cost too much”. to research.  Will it cost less when someone is dead? 

Cyber bullying doesn’t often go to this extreme. But bullying in any form needs to be taken seriously.  There is so much lip service being given to “anti bullying laws” but oftentimes when it comes down to it,  nothing is being done.  I can’t imagine not being helped when receiving death threats and being harassed, stalked and threatened.  There are some things that you should do if you are  cyber bulled, to help:

  1. Ignore: Do not react or respond. It’s hard, I know but  many times,  just not responding will stop the  attention they are seeking.
  2. Cut Off- Block the bully. You can block them from your phone, your social media accounts,  your computers.  Screen calls from unidentified numbers.
  3. Report Online. Most Social Media sites have TOS (Terms of Service) that you can report bulling behaviors to.  Sometimes service providers can look up IP address and  disclose “anonymous” bullies.
  4. Get Help.  Most states have laws or schools have policies that should help protect you against bullying.  If they can’t, or won’t help you, keep moving up the chain. Even the FBI has an Internet Crime division.
  5. Record:  Keep screen shots, printouts, texts, anything they used to bully you. It’s best to print it out. Also, if they are calling your and bullying you, keep a phone diary of what calls you received.

Cyberbullying is just as hurtful as physical bullying.  And it’s just as much of a crime. We need to prove to the bullies who hide behind screen names that they, too, will be held accountable.

And Melody and Julia?   Stay Strong, and #BeBrave!  It WILL get better.  She WILL be stopped. Have faith.

 

Some more links to help with cyber-bullying from my Mom’s blog, The AntiBullyMom:

 


35 Responses to Nowhere Safe- Cyber-Bullying Gone Crazy

  1. It’s sad to think that these issues didn’t exist when I was a child that poor kids today have to deal with such nonsense.

  2. What I’ll never understand is why the parents of the bullies never take action. Why don’t they supervise their children more? I know every single text my children have ever sent and it won’t stop just because they are in high school. I intend to know what they are doing and that they are safe, always.

    • Hi Karen,

      While I agree that more parents need to be more involved, as the mother of one of the girls in the story above, I can assure you that both Marti and myself ARE on top of our girls’ activity on social media. In fact, while they are no longer on any social media, we were logged in to their accounts while most of the harassment was taking place. We couldn’t stop it just by knowing it was happening, but it is the why we are able to fight so hard for this to stop.

      Unfortunately, however hard we try, we are not able to protect our children from everything. Knowing where they are and what they are doing does not prevent others from causing harm.

  3. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    That us just plain horrifying. I can’t believe nothing can be done by the school.

  4. Lisa Jones says:

    The Poor Girls This Is HORRIBLE Something Has To Be Done It Makes Me As A Mother Want To Go Knock On The Kids Parents Doors & Really Let Them Have I’ Sorry!!

  5. Pam W says:

    Bullying is so sad. I hate that bullies have found new ways to torment people.

  6. Tess says:

    It makes my blood boil whenever I hear about bullying. Teachers don’t stop it, police dont stop it, parents don’t stop it. If my kids were bullying, I would not tolerate it. The thing with cyber bullying is these pathetic losers can hide behind computers and say all they want. But, that’s the thing; it’s only words and since nobody wants to help, you can only ignore and hope they go away.

  7. Maria Oller says:

    Great post cyber-bully is getting bigger and bigger and the laws seem not to be enough to protect those bullied

  8. Cynthia L says:

    I am so sorry for these girls and any one who has to deal with bullies. It is a shame that this situation went on so long. I love that you, as a young person, wrote such a powerful article.

  9. I literally was just bullied online not that long ago and it was the worse experience ever.

  10. I have been telling the 12 year olds I carpool with to school about this and I feel like a broken record but it is so true

  11. Lexie Lane says:

    Oh my gosh! It’s unbelievable the roles social media plays now, even in the lives of teens and young people. I can’t believe it gave birth to cyber bullying. These poor girls!

  12. As a former Special Education Teacher I got to see the results of bullying first hand, it seriously affects the victim’s self-esteem. The School’s do need to get more pro-active about students paying the price for being bullies. They should face expulsion, there should be a zero tolerance policy on it in my opinion.

  13. I am sad and horrified by this. It’s time to make it possible for social media outlets to share information when it comes to cyberbullying so action can be taken. This has got to stop.

  14. Carlee C says:

    My kids are young but we are already taking about how they should behave online. In addition, we talk about what it means to bully and it even starts at how they treat one another as siblings. I make sure to use situations at home as teaching opportunities for my kids.

  15. This just breaks my heart. I remember how bullying felt as a kid, and I would do anything to avoid that for my kids. Although I think my only option is to build them up with enough confidence that they can withstand anything that comes their way. It’s so sad that we even have to worry about it.

  16. I thought bullying was bad when I was a kid, but death threats?? Craziness! Personally, I think that the parents tolerating that from their kids is totally unacceptable.

  17. Kids can be so cruel but they must learn some of their behavior from somewhere. I’ve been watching this drama unfold for a few weeks now and hopefully there will be a good resolution soon.

  18. This is just so infuriating. You have some great advice at the end though on how to deal with a cyber bullies. Thank you for posting.

  19. Angela S says:

    Parents, teachers, law enforcement, all authority need to take cyber bullying a lot more seriously. It’s hard to believe this goes on so much.

  20. I can’t believe cyber bullying isn’t taken more seriously. I hope those girls stay strong.

  21. Karen Coutu says:

    I read the original account of this situation. It’s amazing how far things have gone and nobody has done anything to help them.

  22. Michelle says:

    It really breaks my heart to read about cyber bullying more and more often. I really hope authorities start taking it much more seriously.

  23. Kat B. says:

    This is terrible and I hate that the authorities don’t do anything about it because its ‘cyber’. A threat is a threat no matter where they are posting from.

  24. It’s scary how easily cyber bullying happens, and even more terrifying that often nothing is done to stop it. Shutting down one account only leads to someone opening another.

  25. Marisa says:

    Cyber bullying has gotten out of hand, and honestly, what did we expect giving our tweens and teens access to so much technology? It comes down to parenting. Parents need to be more involved and proactive in teaching their kids how to respect one another.

  26. Danielle says:

    This is both sad and infuriating. Very rarely to people on the ‘outside’ of a bullying situation seem to get tough with the bully about it. Perhaps this is because very few are properly trained in how to deal with a bully. We need to, as a society, realize that there is such thing as healthy anger. It is perfectly alright to get angry with bullies and their behavior, and to let it be known that many, many people will not stand for it. If most people remain silent and/or meek about it, the bully will be easily able to convince themselves that they will suffer no consequences.

  27. popcosmo says:

    Wow, this happened to you? I’m so, so sorry. I do wish the laws would change and protection would get stronger. It’s so brave of you to speak out and try to help others. Keep spreading the word… we stand behind you every step of the way!
    xo ~kim & chloe

  28. Debbie Denny says:

    Just don’t understand what these bullies get out of this. Does it make THEIR miserable pitiful lives any better… Just shows what pathetic losers they are, This has to be stopped.

  29. Debi says:

    It is so sad that there is no where for kids to get away from this nonsense. More needs to be done to help.

  30. Lisa says:

    I’ve been following this and it just floors me that nobody will help them.

  31. It is important for people to work to stop bullying. The parents of bullies must work hard to change their children’s behavior.

  32. C. Brown says:

    Just read the story on Mashable.com. Many above have asked why isn’t anything done? The reason is because there’s not sufficient evidence to do anything. And given the information in that article, the alleged bully would have to be a hacking genius (and we’re talking recruitable by the NSA today at age 12) or know at least one person who is – and which I highly doubt. So the alleged bully being hacked is actually relatively plausible. And given the sophisticated spying techniques, it very well could be almost anybody who’s into terrorizing others.

    If, then, either the alleged bully’s accounts is being hacked or the two girls just wanted some big attention (a la “The Crucible”), then the alleged bully is also a victim. You don’t think the alleged bully isn’t getting threats and isn’t being harassed for her “role” in this?

    Bottom line: if the DA’s office doesn’t have enough to charge anyone, then let’s not jump to conclusions and demonize an alleged bully who may just be a victim herself.

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