The Dark Side Of Social Media
Rebecca Ann Sedwick is a face that will not be soon forgotten for the lives of so many that she touched. The twelve-year-old Lakeland Florida resident reportedly jumped off of a tower to her death after months of online cyber bullying that convinced her that she was better off dead.
With social media now becoming mainstream, even for young teenagers, or pre-teens in this case, it has opened another avenue for evil minded people, especially bullies, to pray upon the weak. For Rebecca, the countless and seemingly endless online bullying was far more than she could handle. Following a series of threatening messages from about fifteen different students last year, Rebecca enrolled in counseling, changed schools, had her cell phone taken away and her online accounts monitored – but that unfortunately did not stop the middle school bullies from finding other social outlets to enter the mind of young Rebecca and force her to take a horrific leap.
Rebecca’s mother thought that by getting her counseling and monitoring her online accounts that she would be okay, but her mother did not know that the bullying had continued. While Rebecca had always been open with her mother in the past, she remained distant and quiet in recent weeks leading up to this tragic event, most likely caused by the pain and guilt that she was facing on a daily basis. People, especially young teenagers, often fail to see how much their words carry meaning and influence the thoughts of others. It seems hard to imagine why fifteen or more students would want to pick on or intimidate and bully such a young innocent girl into committing such a terrible, horrific act on herself. Local Sheriffs have reported that an investigation is underway and that criminal charges may be filed in the near future.
With social media providing easy and seemingly private access to literally anyone these days, more awareness programs need to be started and procedures implemented to prevent bullies from attacking any more victims and to insure that tragic events such as Rebecca’s never happen again.