In September, twelve-year-old Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death at an abandoned cement plant. After being severely bullied via social media and repeatedly told “you should die” and “go kill yourself,” the young girl unfortunately did as her tormenters suggested and yet another young life was lost to suicide. Upon learning of her death, one of the teen tormenters, who has since been charged with felony aggravated stalking in relation to Rebecca’s suicide, posted the following facebook update: “Yes, ik [I know] I bullied Rebecca nd [sic] she killed herself but IDGAF [I don’t give a fuck].”
Such comments give me grave concern regarding the current state of our world, and the expectations of future generations. How have so many of us become so ignorant, so hateful, and so numb to the sorrows of our fellow man? Who would urge a classmate to suicide, and then simply shrug her shoulders at such a devastating outcome? The most regrettable fact is that Sedwick’s suicide is not an isolated event. Far too many young lives have been lost to bullying (particularly cyber-bullying) and rather than speak up for their fellow teens, the tormenters have turned to mocking suicide and self-harm.
Examples of such disdainful taunting can all too easily be located on social media sites. I became brutally aware of such excessive cyber-bullying when the facebook event “Cutest Teens 2013” started appearing in my feed. This page first became evident to me when a former student added his picture to the event, a site where teens post photos in order to obtain “likes” and thus be declared “Cutest Teen.” We must question why so many teenagers believe they need complete strangers to validate their worth.
The need to be thus accepted is one of my least concerns with this page, though. The pornographic nature of many images is utterly appalling. Rather than like these photos, as the creators encourage viewers to do, I want to comment on each of them: “Where are your parents? Put some clothes on and read the Bible!” I’m sure that mom is so proud that you posted a picture of your girlfriend sucking your dick on this page, and I’m sure her mother is equally impressed with her fellatio skills. Where is their sense of self-worth and decency? Have they no shame? It seems that social media has become a pornographic playground for these ignorant little bastards to run around on shouting their profanities and proudly proclaiming their apparent lack of a moral compass.
Further, as someone I knew posted to this page, I was alerted of comments made regarding his photo. This individual, an African American male, was called such disgusting and socially ignorant words and phrases that I won’t even repeat them. Such hate speech is senseless beyond belief, and I don’t know that I have ever been more disappointed with today’s youth.
But it doesn’t end there, either. Should you dare try to oppose the rampant hatred on this page, a throng of “trolls” will call you “fucking stupid,” “whiny,” “weak,” and “retarded.” I so quote these words as they are copied directly from page comments and are not mere adjectives selected by this author. When one young woman warned that this event was likely to lead to another teen suicide, the resounding reply was that “bullying ain’t no big deal, bitch” and “only fucking cowards kill themselves.” She was also told more than a dozen times to end her own life as a result of her defense of the victims. One young man proudly made the following declaration: “If you self-harm or attempt suicide, go get a cup of cement and harden the fuck up and stop being an attention seeking little coward.”
I wonder how these young individuals have already acquired such hatred and become so hardened. Again, I want to scream “Where are your parents? Do you just need a hug?” The victims of bullying need to know there’s often a reason that their tormenters spew such hatred. While I have no intention of defending the morally and intellectually repulsive statements made on the aforementioned facebook page, we must acknowledge that those who make such hateful comments are hurting inside. Their words have little to nothing to do with the people they push around and abuse. The victims need to know that shit isn’t about them. If some stranger on facebook is calling you ugly, he is the one who is ugly deep inside. Something is broken and bad inside of them, and you don’t need to be a part of that, people, so stop posting on pages like this.
This social event needs to more accurately be retitled “Most Hateful and Ignorant Teens 2013.” I feel I need to create a full-time hotline in response to this event. First, I intend to call up all of those that have been seriously and undeservedly bullied. I will let them know that they are beautiful and worthwhile individuals. I will let them know to seek comfort in the love of family and friends, instead of seeking out negative attention via social media sites. My next action is to call up all the little perverts tossing up dick shots and titty pics and ask to talk to their mommas. I do sadly acknowledge that most of their mommas won’t be around or won’t care as such youth often come from dysfunctional homes. Finally, I am going to phone up all the little assholes telling people they deserve to die and ask them to fuck themselves, and then seek out friendship so they can get fucking happy and stop hating on everyone.
The alternative to this hotline, I realize, is to shut off my computer or simply block the page. While I will be less appalled, that doesn’t really solve the problem. If I turn off the news, does all war, pain, and suffering end? As it most certainly does not, I can’t simply ignore such intense, detestable cyber-bullying either. Therefore, I have already reported this page to facebook administrators over a dozen times. Sadly, the site still remains and I keep hoping it doesn’t take a suicide before the event is removed. I am asking each of you to also report this site. While we can’t completely eradicate bullying with this action, it might be one demonstration that we are disgusted and we expect more kindness and empathy towards one another. Such hatred cannot be tolerated, but it will never stop if we remain silent to other’s suffering. We mustn’t simply shrug our shoulders as the tormenters of Rebecca Sedwick did. We need to stand up and give a fuck.
For more serious information on cyber-bullying, and how to prevent it, please visit ETCB (End to Cyber Bullying). Their mission is to raise awareness, provide a plethora of cyber-bullying information, offer compassionate, approachable services, and mobilize students, educators, parents, and others in taking efforts to end cyber-bullying.