www.whyville.net Feb 19, 2012 Weekly Issue

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Cruel Comments

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Pain and hurt are drowned by the hysterical laughter that tumbles out of my mouth as I read the insults that cover the computer screen. The grip squeezing my heart relaxes somewhat when I realize how ridiculous the whole situation is. I'm not going to "go kill myself" just because some anonymous people tell me to. But I realize other people have. The laughter dies down at the thought that any of the kids in the news who committed suicide over cyber-bullying could have been me.

I'm lucky. I understand that. I am truly lucky to be able to calmly delete every single comment off of my Youtube video. It had just been a video of me playing my guitar and singing a song I had written. Nothing inappropriate or threatening. But 26 people still decided it was their "duty" or it was "fun" to give me their ideas of what I should do with myself. Most of them involved my death. There were the standard "kill it with fire" and "go kill yourself." One involved calling for a harpoon; another implied I was a Snorlax -- an extremely large Pokemon. Someone even said something about me being too ugly to stand before Jesus Christ.

I'm glad I can't remember specifies today, more than a year later. I hate that there's something to remember at all. No one should be subject to such bullying.

I'm not sure if I'm grateful for not knowing any of the commenters. They judged me on a four-minute video, although I doubt they watched it at all. They probably just looked at my face and formed an opinion. It's hard to tell if that's more hurtful than people you've known for years turning on you, which happened almost two years earlier.

It was my freshman year, and I was at a high school where I knew no one. I had previously gone to a private school and I tried to keep in touch with my friends, mostly through Facebook. Imagine my surprise when one of them left a comment on an old photo calling me a whale. It was my first experience with anyone treating me horribly over the Internet, and I had no idea what to do. I sat frozen. I didn't reply and I didn't delete it. I don't think it occurred to me to delete it, I was so focused on my shock.

The "friend" left more comments over the next few days, and a sibling joined in the harassment. Suddenly, though, a light appeared. Someone wrote, "Leave her alone."

I didn't know my defender well, as the person was only in one of my classes. Yet the person consistently fought back against my attackers. At school, the person began to talk to me, make sure I was okay, and not a day went by that I wasn't told to unfriend the bullies and delete the comments.

But it was hard to let go of that small connection to my old school. It was irrational thinking; I knew that. My defender, though, fought for me to see the right thing to do. I eventually gave in, and once it was all over, I felt lighter. I was happy and so, so grateful that someone stepped in, that someone cared enough to help.

Honestly, I was only able to handle the Youtube incident so well because of what my defender taught me -- to get rid of the problem, stay strong and not look back.

I don't know if I'm going to be cyberbullied again at some point in my life. I hope not, but I'm not naive. It's a possibility. Therefore, I'm glad I'm prepared. I hope other kids who have, are, and/or will be cyberbullied had/have will have someone to help them. It's hard to go through it alone. The point is, though, no one should have to go through it all.



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