“You should die.”
“Wait a minute, why are you still alive?”
“Go kill yourself.”
It’s impossible to comprehend another human being, let alone a child, sending such hateful messages to another person, but according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in Lakeland, Florida, these messages are all too real.
They were sent to 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who ultimately jumped to her death in September, he said. The messages didn’t come via the social networking sites many of us are familiar with: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. They were sent via newer, lesser-known social applications called Ask.fm and Kik, according to Judd.
“These apps are free, and as a result … you can either go up anonymously or create a fictitious identification, and you can torment other children, and it is frightening to see that occur,” the sheriff said.
Sheriff: Taunting post leads to arrests in Rebecca Sedwick bullying
“A lot of times, you’ll hear from your children’s friends before you hear from your own child,” he said.
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‘Say those few kind words’
Scheff, the parent advocate and author, believes parents and educators can also teach our kids to be “cybershields” for other children.
She wonders what might have happened if any of the 15 or so kids believed to have been cyberbullying Rebecca Sedwick decided to protect her instead.
“Wonder if they decided … ‘Hey listen, we can do something to be kind to this girl. Let’s say … your hair looks nice today. You look pretty today. Don’t listen to these girls. You have a reason to live. You don’t have to do this. … Don’t think you have to end your life,’ ” Scheff said.
“All it would take is a few words in the opposite way, and that’s what (kids) need to learn, how to say those few kind words.”
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