I have had several submissions on the topic of cyber bullying alone and this first submission is from Darla Halyk.
Social media is the new weapon of choice and it has been used to cause numerous devastating consequences for children and adults alike. One single comment can go from private to shared with hundreds of people with a click of a button. There is no such thing as “it’s in the past” when it comes to social media because the past can be reborn in a thousand different ways on a thousand different sites on a thousand different days.
Taking the time to teach our children the dangers of social media is important, but with technology evolving faster than we can keep up how do we do that?
Over the next several weeks, I am hoping to find some resources to help parents do just that. I am active on nearly every single media site I can find because I want to know what is available and how things work. It is hard to keep up and as I have just recently learned a child can be cyber bullied without ever having been on social media.
Imagine you have a child who is not yet on social media and you find out someone else is impersonating your child online. Imagine the impersonator violently threatening shared friends from school. Then imagine the police and the school can’t do anything about it because without evidence or proof they are as helpless and powerless as you are. Now imagine those children are in 5th grade.
My point is cyber bullying is hard to stop and it happens in the most surprising of ways. We can teach our children the basics like how to be kind to others and we can instill confidence in them; give them a good foundation and strive to teach them how to communicate, but they will be bullied and no amount of preparing them will prevent it. Education and communication is key… no voice should go unheard… no child should be afraid to talk to a parent, a school administrator, or any other person of authority.
As you read through the many submissions I hope you see a theme. There are moments in each instance where someone feels helpless and a little help or encouragement could go a long way.
SPREADING RUMORS IS A FORM OF BULLYING by Darla Halyk
With Canada ‘s Pink Shirt Day passing at the end of February, I wanted to revisit a post I had written quite some time ago.
If you don’t know what pink shirt day is, it is the brainchild of two young boys from Nova Scotia, Canada. David Shepherd and Travis Price, who in 2007 bought and handed out pink shirts, in light of a boy being bullied in their school, for wearing a pink shirt the first day of school. It went viral!
In 2008, the then Premier of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell proclaimed February 27 to be the provincial anti-bullying day. In 2012, The United Nations took a stand in the Anti-Bullying campaign and declared May 4 as Anti-Bullying Day.
These two boys have done an amazing thing, bringing awareness to a very real problem. Something that many of us have either fallen victim to or shamefully been a part.
My friend over at Play Dates On Fridays wrote an amazing post regarding Bullying on Facebook, bringing up some very good points.
To read her post in its entirety click this link http://www.playdatesonfridays.com.
An excerpt from her post:
Cyber bullying is when a person or a group of people uses the internet, email, online games or any other kind of digital technology to threaten, tease, upset or humiliate someone else. It’s the last one that gets most of us. Humiliate. We do it without even thinking, sometimes without even knowing we’re doing it.
The thing is there are many ways to bully. Cyber Bullying as Whitney talks about is quickly becoming an epidemic. But there are many other forms of bullying.
Gossip and Rumors can debilitate someone, break them at their core.
We all gossip, I am aware of that. I too have been guilty of spreading a rumor or two, so believe me when I say I am not writing this atop my high horse. Quite Honestly I am writing this because I hope to be better, but give some insight to the pain caused when people spread rumors, essentially, lies. Being at the end of a rumor, that caused so much pain in my life has me reflecting on how it truly made me feel.
We were once friends, or so I thought. If I welcomed you into my home, I did it as if we were family. With no judgement on your past and honestly only the best hope for your future. I guess I hoped you would have too. I was wrong. I know I am not perfect, nor have I claimed to be. I have made many mistakes, and only hope to do better than I did yesterday. I thought you knew this about me. Again, I was wrong.
The moment I heard the fluttering of my so-called indiscretions and who all was speaking of them, my heart ached. I spent hours sobbing and felt pain I had never, a stab in my back. I couldn’t believe you wouldn’t come to me. I couldn’t believe I meant that little to you. I couldn’t believe you felt my heart so worthless that you would have no problem breaking it. I was devastated; I still am!
I want you to know I tried to hold my head up high; I knew the truth, but more and more rumors were being spread. There were so many ignorant, vicious, hurtful and just plain mean things being said that I felt like dying. Did you know I felt like dying? No, you didn’t, because you never once talked to me. You never once asked me or gave me a chance to defend myself. That is cowardly. I hope you understand that, and I hope you know that I would never have done that to you. If you don’t or didn’t know I had your back, then I am sorry. I wish you would have.
So here I am, with a broken heart. I hope it was worth it to you. I hope you got what you needed out of this. I hope that you know that I once cared about you and unfortunately still do. But it is time for me to move on. To let go of what has happened and hold on tight to the people who love and care for me.
In conclusion, I want to reiterate that I understand I am not perfect, and I have made mistakes in this but I do know that these particular rumors have been just that, rumors. I will not apologize for the spreading of lies or distasteful bullshit.
As all of this was happening in my life, I asked myself? How could these people I loved so dearly, turn their backs on me? Why are we as humans so quick to feed on the weak, and watch them suffer?
This is what I have learned:
You can’t stop people from talking about you. ( Yah I already knew that, it was just hard to see through all the bullshit when it was flying around.) What you can do, is wait it out and hope that the truth comes out. There will always be haters that don’t care to hear the truth. As well as ignorant people who will continue to spread lies.
I just wish we could be better that we could see what we are doing to each other.
It brings me to the story of Amanda Todd, a girl that committed suicide because she was being cyber bullied. The bullying started with a Rumour, a lie.
She killed herself!
It is time to wake up; time to go to the source, before whispering something we know nothing about to our friends.
We could be sending someone over the edge. We could be breaking someone’s heart, or worse.
We all seem to care enough to send our son or daughter to school in a pink t-shirt on anti-bullying day, but not enough to stop a rumor in its tracks? Something about this seems wrong, we aren’t sending the right message to our children. We are not leading by example.
I know that we can’t stop gossip, but we can stop the hate. We can stop harmful rumors when we hear them.
We have to be responsible for our actions. We need to know if we are speaking the truth or repeating a lie. We need to be better; we should know the facts, before spreading the word.
In conclusion, I do want to say, although my heart has been hurt, it has also been filled with the love of some amazing people in my life. Always cherish the people who come to you to clear things up when rumors are being spread of you and want to hear it from the Horse’s mouth, per say. Let the rest of them go, move on and remember, the next time you hear something bad about someone, find out the facts first!
Darla Halyk is the Mom of a Teenage boy and Tween Girl. She studied Business Management at Simon Fraser University. Soon after receiving her Degree, she married and quickly got pregnant with her first child. Deciding to stay home with her kids instead of returning to the workforce after the birth of her son, she become an SAHM, but not your average one. The gig lasted until the kids were school-aged, and her marriage ended in Divorce. Darla has enjoyed writing since she was old enough to hold a pen to paper. Currently, she writes for her blog at NewWorldMom. Bringing a fresh, honest and humorous take on parenting, women’s issues, relationships, divorce, and life, in general.