- News & Events
- About Us
- Find a Physician
- Make a Gift
Let me share the real story of a Community Regional colleague's ordeal. Here's how it was told to me: “Mom and Dad, you need to know there’s something going on.” That simple statement was our first alert. Our younger daughter had recently been allowed her first access to social media at the age of 13, and this comment came to us from her older sister just a few weeks later.
Our younger daughter had “friended” her older sister and big sister was aware that something had changed in the tone and nature of her little sister's postings. The change was subtle at first, but that night the posts were no longer the voice of our daughter, they were in fact threatening violence to other children. Which is exactly why her older sister did the right thing and brought it to our attention.
Thank God she did. Our 13 year old’s social media account had been hacked. We waited 'till morning since she was asleep, but talked about it with her at breakfast. At first it was an emotional rollercoaster, anger at us for prying, anger at her sister for tattling, fear about coming forward to authorities, but through it all, there was wide-eyed terror at not knowing what to do. She was being cyber bullied for about 10 days before we knew.
We went to school that day to talk to the principal, and were surprised that they were already aware and starting to monitor the situation. In their words, “Not to worry, we know that isn’t your daughter.” We were relieved. But our daughter was not. You see, even though a few quick steps put the issue to bed and stopped it from occurring any more, the cyber bullying had became reality in the minds of an entire 7th grade class.
Our sweet young daughter was suddenly the subject of not well-hidden whispers and jests. Junior high has long been known as the hardest time in most kids lives, but to be so defenseless with nothing more to say than “it wasn’t me” leaves a child incredibly vulnerable. All the while not knowing who among your peers was taking advantage of your gullibility and making you into the person you are not, makes a child feel more vulnerable and distrusting. We managed to get through that year, albeit a difficult one for our daughter. Thankfully a summer break and a new year with a different class pattern gave her a new start. But we had to endure watching our child be fearful not knowing where to turn, including being afraid to tell us because she feared that she’d just be ostracized more. And while authorities (including police) were notified, there wasn’t much if anything that could be done. Those comments that someone posted as if they were my daughter’s now live forever. There is no erasing social media, and sadly there are people out there who wish ill on others without consideration for what damage it may cause. Thankfully, we were made aware before that damage went too far…but the scars are still there.
Like me, if you grew up in the generation using typewriters, you may know how to use the Internet but may not be aware of the Internet’s danger. Community Regional is offering a FREE internet safety and risks workshop for employees to gain more knowledge regarding the Internet. This class will be especially beneficial for parents and grandparents of school-aged and adolescent children. Cyberbullying is on the rise and more difficult to protect against. Please join me on June 24 from noon to 1:30 in the TCCB Conference Room 3 for a valuable internet safety workshop that can help parents deal with scenarios like the above. Find out more here.