by Brittany Weekley
The film Cyberbully sends the perfect message, but all is not what it seems.
It premiered on ABC Family in 2011, and it was inspired by Megan Taylor Meier, who died of suicide due to cyberbullying. The makers of the film, including Seventeen Magazine, hoped it would shed light on the seriousness of cyberbullying. The film stars Emily Osment as Taylor Hillridge, the 17-year-old protagonist.
Young Taylor receives a laptop for her birthday with strict instructions from her mother. The reason for the purchase was to support Taylor’s dream of being a journalist. Upon receiving the laptop, Taylor joins a website called Cliquesters in order to interact with her friends from school. Taylor experiences bullying from a girl in her class named Lindsey (Nastassia Markiewicz) on the site, but disregards it. Things take a turn for the worst when Taylor’s younger brother, Eric (Robert Nayler), hacks into her profile and posts nasty things on her status.
At this point in the film, we can see the effects that cyberbullying is taking on Taylor. She becomes obsessed with checking her account, torturing herself each time she does. Throughout the film, Taylor’s friends and classmates turn against her, which leads to a suicide attempt. While Taylor’s emotional health is slowly deteriorating throughout the film, she completely falls apart. She can no longer handle the bullying.
As stated on StopCyberbullying.gov, “Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.” Cyberbullying takes place through the use of technology, as we can see in the film. “Kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, skip school, experience in-person bullying, be unwilling to attend school, receive poor grades, have low-esteem, and have more health problems.”
Cyberbullying, as this film tells us, can be just as bad than in-person bullying. It affects a person emotionally and sometimes physically. This film puts viewers in the shoes of someone who is experiencing it. In addition, the film gives good advice throughout. For example, talk to a parent, join a support group, and stand up for yourself.
In the end, the film was educational, despite its lack of realistic events towards the end. The reality is that not all victims make it out alive; some succumb to the pain of bullying. Some don’t make up with their friends, so this is why it’s important to know everything there is to know about bullying. Loneliness doesn’t help with the suffering. Everyone needs someone to talk to. Always find a support group, and when it comes down to it, walk away from social media sites that affect your mental health.
StopCyberbullying.gov (2017) What is Cyberbullying? What are the effects of Cyberbullying? Retrieved March 3rd, 2017, from https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/