I have just watched BBC Panorama’s Hunting the Internet Bullies and, although I was aware cyber bullying existed, I was shocked at the extent some sick individuals (grown men) who call themselves “trolls” go to cause hurt and pain to individuals just to get a reaction, especially in young people.
You can watch the episode in full on BBCiplayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b01c00y3/
I was appalled at the story of a young girl called Natasha McBride who was relentlessly bullied on a social networking site called Formspring and was in such despair she threw herself under a train. Hours after a Tribute Page was set up on Facebook, her family were sickened by “RIP trolls” who posted obscene comments about their daughter on the page. This is not an isolated incident. These people do this for fun just to get a reaction and take pleasure in causing grief.
The other girl highlighted in the report was just 11 years old. Watching the videos of 11 year old was just heartbreaking.
Another victim of cyber bullying is Cher Lloyd who was 4th in the X Factor. You can watch what she has to say about how this has affected her below:
The panorama team managed to track down some of these trolls who showed a total lack of conscience or responsibility for their action. One offender was prosecuted and served 9 weeks in jail. Another referred to this and laughed stating this was nothing.
Surely harsher laws must be introduced to stop the cyber bullying that is going on. I hope politicians have been watching and take notice soon.
I also hope parents take note and ensure they are aware of the dangers that their children may be in. Please take the time to read Facebook Privacy rules under “help” on Facebook and make sure your childrens’ settings are set appropriately. There is some excellent advice for both parents and children on internet safety at http://www.childline.org.uk/Explore/Bullying/Pages/CyberBullying.aspx.