It’s been a long time since patient zero of cyberbullying and we still don’t have a cure

We live in a world that for better or for worse is heavily influenced by the internet. There are many great things that have come about as a result of the internet. However, as with many things, there are some not so good things. Once something makes its way on the internet (either deliberately, accidentally, or criminally) it is there forever. There are people who lobe when these things happen and they love nothing more than to torment this person. It is situations like these that have cost Amanda Todd her life and countless others. We need to ensure that our students are constantly reminded of the dangers of the internet.

I was back visiting my class from internship and I couldn’t help but notice this poster.

I had the privilege of seeing Monica Lewinsky speak in Regina last year at the Inspiring Leadership Forum put on the Vianne Timmons and The University of Regina. She spoke very candidly and openly about what it was like when as she says, “she was patient zero” of the cyberbullying epidemic. In her Ted Talk which was very similar to the one she gave in Regina, she talks about how hard it was for her to live a normal life after her experience. She lived a very private life for around ten years before she was able to talk about her experience. She is now an activist and has done a great deal of work to try and help other victims and work to prevent similar situations in the future.

The internet was a very different place in 1998. Google did not exist and news sources were only starting to move to online platforms. If a similar situation were to happen in 2018, I fear the result may be much different. We have a wealth of information available at our fingertips 24/7 that we can do what we wish with. People have the ability to make anonymous accounts and can torment one another just for the thrill of it. “Trolling” as it is so called in a cruel way for people to get satisfaction from the torment of others.

Even people that we think are our friends can, unfortunately, cause a great deal of harm. There have been situations where a friend has posted what they thought was a harmless photo or one that was meant to be a joke. These can cause many problems down the road and students need to be aware that their posts can hurt their friends and family. In 2018, people love memes and if you were to be the unfortunate person who became the star of a meme this is something that could stick with you for life.

Not only do our images and videos matter, but what we post or say online matters as well. There have been many cases where one tweet has absolutely destroyed peoples lives. Now in this situation, this woman thought she was tweeting a joke to her 150 followers. While her joke was not in any way appropriate she started trending worldwide on Twitter and as a result, her life was turned upside down.

Everything and anything that you say on the internet can come back to bit you in the end. We need to be very cautious about what we post online.

It took me a while to find a video that I felt was appropriate for this blog. I decided that “The Other Side of Me” by Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) was appropriate. Its important that who we are in real life is the same person that we are online. We can’t all have the Best Of Both Worlds.


5 thoughts on “It’s been a long time since patient zero of cyberbullying and we still don’t have a cure

  1. Pingback: It’s been a long time since patient zero of cyberbullying and we still don’t have a cure | Truth is eternal - knowledge is changeable

  2. I really hung on to the words “not only do our images and videos matter, but what we post or say online matters as well.” as this is the epitome of why the internet is an area of life where we need to be so very careful. Like you said, one tweet has ruined a life before. There fore I think that such a “small” action on an online platform can cause such a :nuclear” reaction is the very reason it needs to be talked about in schools. Students are often forgetting or not even thinking about their futures until their last year of high school and there fore don’t believe their actions can affect them. So they go throughout high school acting without thinking about the small actions they are making that could result in serious situations or outcomes. Being cautious is key! LOVED that you picked Hannah Montana’s song, what a throw back! This is a great analogy to use for students in the classroom, takes a bit of the heaviness off of the topic for a moment.


  3. Great blog Conor. Sadly what happens many times is bullying doesn’t go away and instead, we have to adapt to teaching our kids to be strong instead. We are turning the page to being a kinder and positive person overall, instead of focusing on the bullying it is focusing on getting stronger and overcoming!
    I absolutely love this part of your blog; “Everything and anything that you say on the internet can come back to bit you in the end. We need to be very cautious about what we post online.” It could not be any more true about the world we are a part of. It really never goes away and it follows us through everything. I think this is something we should teach in our classrooms and something students don’t always understand.
    I was wondering how you felt about the TED talk and how you think you would implement these ideas in a classroom?
    PS. ALWAYS a fan of having those Disney songs at the end. The analogy was perfect and I find myself imagining you in the classroom sharing than explaining the importance of songs from Disney movies, lol!
    Thanks for the great blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow Conor, I really enjoy your blog – ever aspect of it. When scrolling to find a post to read on your blog I immediately noticed your titles, they all stood out! Then when reading your post you have a great talent for words. I really enjoyed how informative and relate-able you made it feel! I think you are completely right that technology has really changed and in someways it has gotten better, but in others it remains the same. I really enjoy your posts!


  5. Pingback: Contributing to others, or building a community. – Regan Luypaert

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