19-year-old Joey Monda was cyber bullied for two weeks straight by a complete stranger on Instagram. Joey was targeted because he is openly homosexual, but stated that he is a strong person and would not allow an Internet bully affect his life.
The bully’s Instagram account, was eventually shut down after more than a week. But Monda says the bully returned days later with a new account, this time using the handle @faggymonda, which was deleted the next day.
“I’m hoping it’s done now,” Monda says. “She kept messaging me, on and on. I told her I called the cops, but nothing seemed to faze her. It was really frustrating and really sad. I’m just so thankful I had so much support.”
Below is a snapshot of the comments made by the cyber bully.
I can’t imagine my child turning on her computer and being subjected to this type of ignorance and hate. Unfortunately this is not a fairy tale, which is why we must be vigilante as it pertains to keeping kids safe online and discussions around Social Media Responsibility. I’ve talked with many parents who think Instagram is simply a site to share photos. I’m sharing this true story to encourage parents to research and become members of the sites their children use to better understand the functions.
There are two conversations that must happen:
Self-Confidence. A child’s self-esteem is directly connected to their online behavior. It’s important to understand that there are two people involved; the child being bullied and the bully. My research has shown that most children who bully have low self-esteem and use their words to mask their own insecurities. Children with a lack of confidence will often take the words of a bully as their “truth” and allow the actions to negatively impact their lives to the point of withdrawal, depression, and sometimes suicide. Conversations and activities around self-esteem are imperative, informing children that they do not have to buy in to other people’s perception of them. I tell my daughter that if people don’t like her, it’s not her issue.
You have a support system. As parents we want to think that our child will never encounter a bully, however what does it hurt to be proactive? Children should know that they don’t have to handle a bully on their own, and we can give them options for sharing this information. Making sure our children know they can talk to us, teachers, coaches, and other adults will at least give them options if needed.
Parents we have a responsibility to monitor our kids online behavior…their lives could depend on it.