Let's Talk: Cyberbully (Channel 4 UK)

I don't normally blog about TV but a this post was screaming to be written.

Cyberbully, a Channel Four Film, is based upon real events and is centred around a teenage girl who, naturally, loves the internet and social networking.

Casey is contacted online by somebody who she assumes to be a friend, but who most definitely isn't. This person tells her that they "help victims of cyber bullying" and shows Casey that posting one video for fun led to the trolling, and subsequent suicide of another girl, Jennifer Li.

The anonymous person threatens to post nude pictures of Casey and her best friend, holding them over her to control her actions until finally pushing her to overdose on her anti-anxiety medicine.

I watched this film in utter, shocked horror. I really feel that it should be shown to teenagers world-wide because it holds strong lessons and doesn't hold back at all.

It's important that teenagers learn, like Casey did, that their actions do affect other people. Even the smallest, insignificant bit of fun can have a snowball effect.
Although harrowing, the film taught that ridiculing people online isn't normal or fun. It is bullying and can be hugely harmful to the person targeted. It hammers this home by showing Casey's nude pictures being posted to social networks, along with those of her best friend.
Whilst I don't agree with the 'how would you like it done to you' tactic, it was effective in showing Casey's reactions and her belief that her life would be ruined.

Eventually Casey gets wise to the other persons games. She tells him to post her pictures because she doesn't care, removing his control and ending the conversation by turning off her computer.

Cyberbullying is real and very serious. It is an ever growing problem that is made worse by the rise of anonymity on the internet. The wide use of social networks gives teenagers too many opportunities to bully and to be bullied. It is important that teenagers are educated and supervised in their use of these websites. But it is more important that teenagers understand the repercussions of their actions online, only then will we see a decline in this disgusting trend.

If you are a victim of cyberbullying.

  • Step away from the situation immediately. Put down your phone or leave the computer.
  • Tell a trusted adult immediately and show them the messages or posts.
  • DO NOT RESPOND. This gives you control and not them. Block and continue to block the culprits or close your account. Remove their power.
  • Most importantly understand that this is not your fault. You decide how this affects you. 

If you think you might be/have been a bully

  • Stop what you are doing and think. In what way could this be harmful?
  • Remove all posts/pictures/videos that you think might have hurt the other person in any way.
  • Apologise.
  • Step away from the situation and ask an adult for help. Admitting that you made a mistake is mature and responsible. Adults can make sure both you and the person harmed get the help that they need to resolve the situation.

If you are a parent/adult

  • Supervise and show an interest in your child's internet use.
  • If a child or teen asks for help, remain calm and consider that your teen is possibly scared already. Speak to them, but also listen to their side of the story. 
  • Take copies of messages and posts, help the teen to block bullies and report it to the relevant site and/or police. 

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