I have written the following to give a face and voice to the victims of cyberbullying, and to empower them to stand in their goodness as we stand with them in the fight against this senseless crime.
You, the faceless one, who hides behind empty words. You, the unhappy one, spreading your misery through harassment and humiliation. You, the angry one, trying to feel powerful by intimidating others with your hate. Instead of choosing to positively impact change in this world, you have chosen to inflict pain. Instead of celebrating differences, you have chosen to mock them. There is no value in what you do, no goal, no achievement; nothing to aspire to. You choose to tear down the world around you. I choose to build a better one.
I refuse to let you hurt me.
I have purpose in my life. Life may not always be easy, but I enjoy each and every day. Your messages do not harm me. I will not allow them to.
What I will do is to make the following pledge of actions:
1. I will report your abuse to my parents or at least one adult I trust. I will not be embarrassed because I have done nothing wrong.
2. I will report any threat of harm by you to my school and if necessary the police. I will contact all law enforcement agencies and my family will prosecute you to the full extent of law.
3. I will report your activities to any Internet service provider or web site you use to target me. I will not be a target, but will help place a bull's eye on you.
4. Bullying of any kind is illegal in most states. That is why I will save every email, text message, and screenshot you send. I will bookmark any web page you use. I will document the dates and times as well as print hard copies.
5. You may be relentless in your attacks, but I will be even more diligent in reporting your actions.
6. I will never pass along a cyberbully message about other people for I know that is wrong. I will report any message I see as if they were about me.
7. I will block your email address, cell phone number, and de-list you as a social media contact.
8. I will not give you the satisfaction of the reaction you seek.
9. I will not waste my energy responding to you with anger.
10. I will limit the availability of my personal information and strive to use social websites that protect my privacy.
My voice will speak out against your hatred. My voice will stand with others to remove the fear and anger you promote. Our voices combined will silence yours and those like you.
Note: Every October, schools, organizations, and communities across the country encourage all of us to take proactive action, speak out against, and reduce cyberbullying. Let's do this all year!
Follow Mark Weinstein on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MarkWeinstein