How disturbing! I can’t believe this sort of behaviour takes place in Australia. Is it any wonder I hear so many people say social media is evil?
I read an article this morning published by The Examiner describing the experience of a woman (they called Frances) from Hobart, Australia who was the victim of “intense” bullying at high school. At the age of 50 she thought she’d “… finally escaped and disappeared into the wider world”.
She joined Facebook and who should track her down but the same tormenters and the bullying began all over again. This poor woman has subsequently fled the world of social media and has even gone to the extreme measure of changing her name so as not to be found again.
What is wrong with people? These words are not from the article, these are my words. I am absolutely shocked and horrified when I hear stories such as these. I actually find it really disturbing.
The only positive, in my opinion, is this form of bullying – cyberbullying – can be recorded and traced. As compared to verbal bullying which is many times one persons’ word against another.
If you are ever the victim of cyberbullying please take advantage of it being via “written” word. Take screen shots, print copies or do whatever you have to do to ensure you have proof. Unfortunately the laws in Australia are not keeping up with new technologies. The article quotes Australian Greens MP Paul O’Hallaron as saying “it is an issue which is so new, we need to find ways to deal with it because so many people are getting hurt.” And Attorney General Brian Wightman recently (after a 15 year old Hobart girl committed suicide) called for a review of the state’s anti-bullying laws.
It’s clear we don’t have adequate laws in place in Australia but it is so important to firstly be aware, and secondly take action. If you, or someone you know (including children) come across anything that even smells like unfavourable behaviour – BLOCK them and REPORT them. Do not allow them to invade your circle, your conversations or your world. Protect yourself first and err on the side of being overprotective. I do.