Cyberbullying And Thirteen Reasons Why
In March 2017, Netflix released a very controversial show called 13 Reasons Why based on the novel by Jay Asher. The show revolves around a girl named Hannah who recorded 13 tapes before killing herself and left them with someone to have them released. This show has garnered a lot of attention from people who have been bullied or have mental health issues.
Hannah was bullied up until she commits suicide, she couldn’t take it anymore. In the first
episode, it shows Justin. He was Hannah’s first date, and in a park, he was her first kiss. He also had a photo of her on a slide that looked risqué. His friend used his phone and sent the photo of Hannah to everyone in his phone book.
This was the first form of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying, by definition, is bullying over social media or behind another digital device. People hide behind a screen and cause potentially permanent damage to another person. Things like this can affect how a person is seen by potential colleges, employers, friends, family, and even complete strangers. Nothing on the internet is private.
In a 2017 survey, it showed that 14.9 percent of high school students had been cyberbullied within the 12 months leading up to the survey. In perspective, that is almost 15 out of 100 students reported being cyberbullied. Cyberbullying has been a problem for years before this show was released. There are movies, books, articles, surveys, and even some cases that went to court revolving around cyberbullying.
One of the most prominent cases is that of Megan Meier. She was a 14-year-old student that committed suicide after being bullied online by, who she believed to be, a boy by the name of Josh Evans. Evans was not a teenage boy at all, but a middle-aged woman by the name of Lori Drew. Drew is the mother of a former friend of Megan’s. She created the account, she says, to make sure that Megan wasn’t speaking ill of her daughter.
The relationship between “Josh Evans” and Megan Meier progressed into flirting, and eventually
came to a head when he told her that she wasn’t a nice person and the world would be better off
without her. Megan killed herself shortly after receiving the message and seeing that “Josh” sent
out all of the messages between Megan and himself.
The case went to the courts after Megan’s parents found out it was Lori Drew behind the profile. Megan’s Law was passed to persecute those that cyberbully others. Lori herself did not end up in jail for Megan’s death, but the law serves as a reminder of what happened to this teenage girl. She had her whole life ahead of her and it was snuffed out.
Cyberbullying is very real and very dangerous. There are still people out there who believe
cyberbullying can be put to an end simply by switching off a device or deactivating a profile. In
the digital era that we live in, it is not that simple. Everyone has their cell phone, and most cell
phones are computers. Anything posted can be screenshot and can be spread to cause further harm.
This can create an online reputation for someone for both the bully and the bullied. Again, it can be
permanent. There can be little to no way to remove what has already been posted online. Even if
you contact the website administration, there is no way to get what is posted taken down as it has
already made its way onto the internet.
Cyberbullying can create a sense of hopelessness, despair, depression, anxiety, and other negative emotions in
a person. It can take away the control a person feels that they have over their life.
As stated by The Kindness Campaign, “We believe that the power of kindness can transform a child’s self-image. Creating cultures of self-affirmation and empathy for others will inspire a revolution of kind leaders.”
Show kindness to yourself and kindness to others. You never know what other people are battling, and showing simple kindness can make a complete difference in the life of those that you encounter.