Cyberbullying is not a game or a joke. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online and a lot of these teens feel that the adults aren’t doing enough to address this growing issue. When someone is cyberbullied it usually takes place over the internet or through some form of technology. Text messaging has become a popular means of cyberbullying. Surprisingly, many parents are not aware of their children’s activities on the internet. This story that I am about to share with you will show the reality of what can really happen in a bullying situation.
Best Friends Forever
Gabby Morales and Mariah Swan have been best friends forever, since kindergarten to be exact. They tell each other everything because that’s what best friends do, right? Gabby and Mariah spend all their time together. They are always over to each others house doing homework together, watching movies, and talking to their other classmates on MyFace, a social networking site that all the kids hang out on.
The New Girl
One day, a new girl shows up in Gabby and Mariah’s English class. Gabby is a shy and quiet friend and Mariah is a funny and outgoing friend. Mariah doesn’t meet a stranger, that’s what everyone says about her. She goes over to the new girl who is sitting at her desk reading a book. She introduces herself and learns that the new girl’s name is Savannah Hughes.
Mariah invites Savannah to sit with her and Gabby during lunch. Savannah, Mariah, and Gabby have a really good conversation during lunch. Savannah tells Mariah and Gabby that her family lost their home in Florida to a hurricane so they had to relocate. None of the other kids really reach out to be friends with Savannah over the next few months. Mariah and Gabby continue to hang around her but Gabby soon starts to notice something a little off about her.
Savannah has only been attending Mayhem High School for 3 months and already she has taken Gabby’s seat in every class so she can be next to Mariah and she gets upset and storms off whenever Gabby and Mariah are having a conversation that doesn’t involve her. “What’s her problem?” Gabby thinks to herself. Gabby writes it off as Savannah just being an obviously really weird person.
Gabby, Mariah, and Savannah are assigned a group project in science class. They decide to get together after school at Gabby’s house and work on the project. When Gabby gets home she finds a note from her mom, who is a doctor, saying that she has to stay at work late and that food is in the refrigerator.
Gabby, Mariah, and Savannah all go up to Gabby’s room and begin work on their project. Mariah and Gabby go downstairs to collect some items for the project and Savannah says she’ll wait upstairs until they get back. On their way back up the stairs, they hear Savannah scuffling like she’s trying to hurry and put something away.
When they get back in the room, Gabby looks around the room and nothing seems to be out of place. She doesn’t think any more about it. The next day at school, things get way out of hand. Everyone is staring at Gabby, some mean mugging her and others are laughing at her. As she is walking to the breakfast room Mariah approaches her with tears in her eyes.
“How could you do this to me?” Mariah says.
“Do what?” Gabby replies.
Mariah turns her phone towards Gabby so she can read the status on MyFace. The status says some really mean things about Mariah. Things that are obviously lies but that is not the shocking part. The shocking part is that the status is posted on Gabby’s MyFace profile page.
“Mariah, I would never do that to you. You know that” Gabby says.
“I never thought you could be so cruel. Savannah was right about you.”
That’s when a light bulb goes off in Gabby’s head. Savannah has been acting strange lately and very jealous. She must have done this. Gabby tells Mariah over and over again that she didn’t post that and someone must have hacked her account and posted it. She even tells Mariah that she believes Savannah had something to do with it but Mariah only accuses her of being jealous of Savannah.
It’s been a whole week and Gabby and Mariah are still not speaking. Gabby tries calling and texting Mariah a few times but Mariah refuses to speak with her. One day, Gabby is sitting in English class at the back of the room by herself, doing her work. Her phone vibrates in her pocket but she ignores it, figuring that it’s nothing important. The classroom erupts in laughter and Gabby looks up and everyone is staring at her. The kids are looking down at their phones and then over at Gabby. They are all laughing but Gabby is lost. She has no idea what is going on.
Gabby’s phone vibrates again and she pulls it from her pocket and unlocks it. It is a status update from MyFace. Gabby clicks on the update and she can’t believe her eyes. Mariah and Savannah are texting through MyFace about Gabby and they are making up horrible lies. They are saying all kind of mean things about her. Gabby gets up and runs out of the class.
Gabby’s grandmother picks her up from school and takes her home. Gabby tells her grandma everything that has gone on and her grandma tells her that it’s just “kids being kids” and that it will all blow over soon.
“They’ll be on to something new by next week,” grandma says.
“I hope you’re right,” Gabby says.
A week goes by and instead of getting better things only seem to be getting worse. Every day it’s something new with Mariah and Savannah. Savannah shoved Gabby into the lockers and Mariah has been messaging Gabby, threatening her. She is still mad about the status on MyFace that Gabby did not post. She tells Gabby that she has it coming and she won’t stop until she makes her pay.
It’s been three months and Gabby has been tormented nonstop by Mariah and Savannah. They just won’t let her be. She tells her mom what has been happening and her mom calls and talks to the principal. Mariah and Savannah are both suspended from school for 5 days but that only makes them angrier. When they come back to school they are quiet for about a week but the harassment soon starts back. Gabby is at the end of her rope. She just wants it to stop.
Gabby gets a text from Mariah asking if they can talk. She is hesitant because Mariah has been mean to her that she can’t imagine what she could possibly want to talk about. Gabby asks her what she wants to talk about and Mariah says she wants to squash things and be cool again. She is relieved to hear this so she agrees to meet Mariah after school.
After school, Gabby waits for Mariah by the bus stop. Mariah shows up 15 minutes later and before Gabby can say a word she is ambushed from behind by Savannah. Savannah and Mariah begin to hit, punch, kick, and stomp Gabby. Only thing Gabby can do is ball up in the fetal position and try to protect her face. She screams for help. When Gabby begins to scream Mariah and Savannah run off before anyone can see them.
Gabby isn’t hurt too badly but she does have some deep gashes and dark bruises. She walks home and cleans herself up before her mom comes in from work. Gabby’s feelings are more hurt than anything else. She and Mariah were best friends for so long. She can’t believe that she would let someone like Savannah come in and ruin everything they had. Not only did she let her ruin their friendship but she betrayed her in the worst way by posting her secrets on MyFace and now she wants to get physical. It’s too much. Too much for one person to handle.
Gabby goes into her mom’s room and rummages through her medicine cabinet. It isn’t long before she finds two big bottles of pills. Gabby takes those pills and a large bottle of water back to her room and she swallows as many of the pills as she possibly can. She doesn’t even know what the pills are or what they are for but she is hoping that they will work for what she wants them for. A few moments later Gabby gets really sleepy and she dozes off. She hopes she never wakes up.
Gabby wakes to the sound of a heart machine. She is confused and doesn’t know where she’s at. Gabby’s mom rushes over to her bedside and tells her that she is in the hospital because she overdosed on some medication. Her mom asks her if she was trying to kill herself. Tears begin to stream down Gabby’s face as she nods her head up and down.
Gabby’s mom can’t believe that her daughter would ever try to take her life. When she asks her why she did it Gabby says it was because Mariah and Savannah wouldn’t let her live her life in peace. Every day it was something new with them. They were always threatening her, making fun of her, spreading lies and rumors about her at school and on the internet. She was fed up with it all.
“I just wanted it to all go away,” Gabby says.
Gabby’s mom became angry that her child tried to take her life because other kids were bullying her. She had no idea it was that serious. Gabby’s mom calls Savannah and Mariah’s parents and tells them everything that has taken place. Gabby’s mom makes copies of all the hate messages and posts that Savannah and Mariah sent to Gabby and all the rumors they posted about her on MyFace and she takes it to the principal of the school. The principal expels Savannah and Mariah and the two girls are brought up on criminal charges for the harassment of Gabby. Gabby and her mom soon move to another town where Gabby is able to start a fresh new chapter in her life. She is getting good grades in school and she has a healthy group of friends and associates at her new school.
The above story is fictional but realistic because it can truly happen to anyone. Cyberbullying and bullying is a big deal! Children are bullied at school, at home, and on the internet on a daily.
Parents, do you know if your child is in a similar situation?
Bullying is a huge problem and one of the reasons that many parents choose to homeschool. You should go over and check out the 10 Reasons You Should Homeschool Your Child.
Not everyone’s story will end like Gabby’s. Get involved and help stop bullying.