This question was submitted to Kids Help Phone by a young person and answered by one of our professional counsellors. Before you start reading, we want to let you know the following question mentions experiences of bullying and discrimination that may be upsetting.
Hi! I have been having having a lot of troubles online on [edit social media]. There was this post by a person named S********* something like that and I commented say “yay another video” and then a couple minutes later I got a comment by another person saying “shut up no one cares” so I got a bit mad. I replied say “wat did I do” and he said why don’t u just go blow some house up. And that mad me furious that he was making fun of me because I’m a Muslim. So I kept debating back and forth with him telling him to please stop saying that and just leave me alone. But then another person came along and said its not ur fault. That made me happy but then he had also commented after say it’s not ur fault it was ur parents fault when the used the planes and blew up the World Trade Center. And I looked at the comment shocked. Because again they made fun of my religion stating I’m a Muslim so I must be a terrorist. So I got super mad wanting to swear or do something bad also at them but instead I had left it alone and closed my phone. Then the next day I got 23 notifications from [edit social media] so I decided to check it out. Two were friend invites and the others were [edit social media]. All of them had a picture of two building and a plane or two building and a plane with two parents with there heads out of the window. I then threw my phone and started crying. I seriously don’t know what to do now because if I tell me parents tell get me in trouble for firstly talking to strangers and then saying it was my fault that this happened so I don’t now what I should do. Please reply back. And thank you.
I want to start off with saying how sorry I am that you are being bullied. No one should be a target for bullying because of their religion, cultural, orientation or any other reason. It sounds like understandably the comments that people were making to you because of your religion shocked you and that you are frustrated with what people have been saying. People feel like they can say things to other people on line that they can not say in person. At times this can be a good thing (i.e. youth feeling comfortable to write in about their problems to kids help phone) but other times it can be a negative because it allows people to make fun of others in a way that they would not necessarily do in person. It is understandable to feel angry, upset and hurt by things that others post online and judgements that people make based on something about you. From what you have written it sounds like you are trying to determine what you should be doing about the cyber bullying that you are experiencing and whether you should tell your parents about what is going on. I am hoping that by sharing my thoughts and asking you some questions that you will be able to figure out some steps that will help you decide what to do. It sounds like from what you have written you are worried about how your parents will react if you tell them about the bullying that you have been experiencing. How have you told your parents in the past about things that you felt they would get you in trouble for? Sometimes people find it helpful to talk to their parents when things are calm and when they will not be interrupted. Oftentimes youth find it easier to talk to one of their parents over the other (is this true for you?). I am curious how would you advice a friend to tell their parents if they were in the situation you are in what would you suggest that friend should do about the bullying that they were experiencing? I am wondering what have you been coping with these messages that you have been receiving? Some people find it helpful to talk with friends when they are going through a rough time or to go for a walk or listen to music or watch a movie or exercise. Having a friend or a relative who is there to support you can be very useful (can you think of anyone who you could talk to?). I want to let you know that if you need support you can always call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. Counsellors are available at all times by phone. It sounds like your worry that your parents will blame you for what happened. I want to let you know that what has happened to you is something that has happened to a lot of youth. You are not at fault for the bullying that you are experiencing. There are ways that you can lessen the chances of being bullied online and to try to put a stop to some of the bullying that you are experiencing now. One of those ways is to change your privacy settings on the social media site that you are using. Oftentimes people have their accounts set to allow anyone to post or message them. This leaves you open to receiving comments from strangers who may say things that your friends never would. Another thing to consider is blocking the user that has been bullying you (you can find out how to change your privacy settings and how to block users in the help setting of most social media accounts). This will result in the person not being able to message you. It is also important to keep in mind that when people post negative comments on social media that they are looking for a reaction and will continue to post comments if they receive one. I am wondering if you can think of any strategies that you could use that would help you not respond to the negative comments that people make. Sometimes people find it helpful to shut off their phone or talk with a friend or block the person right and delete the negative comments right away so that they do not have to see it. You may also want to consider reporting the inappropriate comments to the social media website. The help centre for the social media website can usually also suggest other things that you can do in order to protect yourself from cyber bullying. Social media is a great way to connect with friends and family and to meet new people. However, it also leaves you vulnerable to individuals that you may not want to be in contact with. It is always important to protect yourself. You may find this website http://www.cyberbully411.com/what-to-do useful in terms of learning how to protect yourself from cyber bullying. I am hoping that my thoughts and questions have helped you come up with some ideas about what your next steps should be. I want to encourage you to contact Kids Help Phone if you should need any support.