Safer Internet Day 2020: Online kindness matters too

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People rarely understand the importance that words have. I was only 14 years old the first time I experienced cyber bullying.

After being bullied at school for a few years the girls in my class started this rumour that I had talked about them behind their backs, of course what they needed was a reason not to look guilty in front of others. And so they confronted me. And I tried explaining myself but they were clearly not looking for an explanation.

When I got home they had opened Facebook group chats where they would continue talking mean things about me even though I would beg them to stop. Then they went on posting quotes on their profile that were about me and people would like and comment.

I remember I didn't even have my own phone. I used to take my dad's phone to log into my Facebook account now and then to see if they had stopped. I remember the internet connection was low and the loading sign would appear and my heart would beat so fast. I still get anxiety when the loading sign appears on my phone.
I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I remember going to bed, crying for hours, falling asleep and I would have terrible nightmares and than I would wake up in the middle of the night remembering that it was real, it wasn't just a nightmare. I would than cry myself to sleep again.

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I still get anxiety when the loading sign appears on my phone. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat.

That moment when you wake up to these comments being made by others about you that do not even represent the truth, reading what a terrible person you are, how you don't deserve to have friends while you are still just a little kid is heartbreaking.

At school we never learned about bullying, so I never talked to my family about anything that I went through. But being cyber bullied was the last hit.

I was devastated. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I didn't want to log into social media, I didn't even want to go to school. I had this terrible feeling all the time. It was as if this big black shadow was over me, just haunting me. I felt as if everything was my fault. It was the only time in my life that I felt like I did not want to be alive. I did not want to wake up into a world like that anymore.

Then my parents noticed. They saw my messages. My mom asked me and I tried so hard to convince her it was nothing. But she came to school the next day. She went straight to the principal's office. I will never forget that day. Me, the girls bullying me, our teacher, my mom and the principal.

My mom was talking about the things she had read and my teacher said "Well maybe she should just delete her account" and I didn't understand then how wrong that suggestion was. But I do now.

Maybe it could have been different if we were taught about bullying. If we were taught of the importance that words have. About the consequences of our words. Being cyber bullied left a few marks in me, but it taught me to always be kind and careful about the words I use towards others.

Maybe it could have been different if we were taught about bullying. If we were taught of the importance that words have. About the consequences of our words.

Except for picking my friends wisely, I now keep all my accounts on private, I communicate with my close ones only and don't use social media as much. I try my best to stay safe online and make sure my friends and loved ones are safe too.

When being cyber bullied one shows a variety of symptoms that we can notice. You can help them by supporting them, standing up for them in a constructive and assertive way, and reporting the comments or pictures if they are shared to public. In my case reporting the case to the school helped, my family standing up for me helped. But the first step is to be able to tell when you are being bullied, and to know it is not your fault and that there are ways to find help.

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Kosovo (SCR1244)