Another teen has committed suicide after experiencing cyberbullying. Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old from Williamsville, New York, routinely blogged about his struggles with sexual identity, friendships, bullying and suicide.
As one article documents:
“I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens,” he wrote Sept. 9. “What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”
On Sept. 8, he wrote: “No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you’re the ones calling me [gay slur] and tearing me down.”
He put up a separate post that day letting everyone know it was National Suicide Prevention Week.
Then he posted the lyrics to a song by Hollywood Undead:
I just wanna say good bye, disappear with no one knowing
I don’t wanna live this lie, smiling to the world unknowing
I dont want you to try, you’ve done enough to keep me going
I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine for the very last time
On Saturday night, he posted a lyric from Lady Gaga’s song “The Queen” on his Facebook page: “Don’t forget me when I come crying to heaven’s door.”
Then around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Jamey posted two final messages to his main public Tumblr blog. One said he really wanted to see his great-grandmother, who had recently died, and one offered thanks to Lady Gaga.
That was his last entry.
We all probably experienced some form of bullying as we were growing up, but for most of us, we could find refuge from the neighborhood or schoolyard bully inside the safe walls of our home. Today, however, kids are using technology to target their peers, meaning that kids like Jamey experience bullying from peers 24-hours-a-day, seven-days a week through the Internet.
Cyberbullying is bullying or harassment that happens online or through connected devices. This willful and repeated harm, inflicted through technology, might involve rumors, name-calling, images or videos posted on someone’s profile or forwarded or shared online for others to see. Sometimes a bully will even impersonate a peer or create a group or page that makes fun of an individual or makes them feel left out.
Cyberbullying victims experience the same negative effects as those bullied “offline” (low self-esteem, depression, anger, school failure and avoidance, and in some cases, school violence or suicide) but often to a much larger degree since messages can be made public online for an unlimited audience to view. If you are a parent wondering how to protect your kids from cyberbullying, watch out for the warning signs.
Your Child May be a Cyberbullying Victim If He of She…
- Is reluctant to go to school or outside in general
- Stops using the computer and/or their mobile device
- Becomes angry, frustrated or depressed after using the computer
- Is nervous when an Instant Message, text, email or post appears
- Becomes withdrawn from family and friends
- Has a sharp change in mood or behavior
- Has a sharp change in performance at school
- Has a change in sleeping patterns or appetite (some girls who are bullied begin to struggle with eating disorders or may become caught up in self-mutilation or “cutting” behaviors)
If you do discover your child is a victim of a cyberbully, remind them that those who bully want to make them feel as if there is something wrong with them, but the victim should know that it’s the bully who has the real problem. Remember to tell your child you love them and to affirm them. We also recommend that parents use monitoring software, like SafeEyes to help you keep tabs on what your kids are doing online. And if you do find evidence that your kid is being bullied online, keep the evidence and consider talking to the parent of the perpetrator or your school administrator or local law enforcement if the bullying is placing your child at physical risk.
If you ever believe that your child is considering taking their own life, call 911 immediately.
Our prayers are with Jamey’s family.