A cyberbullied teen from Texas is making the news this week! Dannie McMillan’s bully, who is her high school classmate, went as far as making a whole Twitter account with the sole intent of making fun of Dee (as Dannie is called) on social media.
The cyberbully hurtfully called Dee a “fat whale” on Twitter. Dee used what was meant for bad and turned it to good. She reached out to plus-size model Laura Lee about this issue and came up with the idea to create a t-shirt that supports the cause of saving whales.
That’s not a teenager being overly emotional; that’s a Cyber bullying victim. There are many negative consequences associated with Cyber bullying that reach into the real world. Many targets of Cyber bullying report feeling depressed, sad, angry and frustrated. Victims who experience Cyber bullying also exhibit less desire to show up at school. In addition, research has revealed a link between Cyber bullying and low self-esteem, family problems, academic problems, school violence and delinquent or antisocial behavior.
Even scarier, cyber bullied youth also report having suicidal thoughts, and there have been a number of examples in the United States where youth who were victimized ended up tragically taking their own lives.
When it comes to suicides related to Cyber bullying, some names have made national headlines in the recent years. Ryan Halligan’s death in 2003 may be the earliest known case of suicide provoked by Internet taunts, but unfortunately, many others have followed.
Some of the victims were cyber bullied alive, like Ryan Halligan (2003), Tyler Clementi (2010), Michael Joseph Berry (2008) and Megan Meier (2006), others were continuously bullied after their deaths through their Facebook memorial pages, like Amanda Cummings (2011) and Phoebe Prince (2010).
Ryan Patrick Halligan was “a sweet, gentle and lanky thirteen year old fumbling his way through early adolescence and trying to establish his way in the often confusing and difficult social world of middle school”, says his mum on his memorial website. Ryan’s family, from New York, had early concerns with his speech, language and motor skills development as he neared kindergarten, which was why they sent him to receive special education services from pre-school through fourth grade. By the time he was at fifth grade, he was assessed to be no longer in need of special education; however, he was always aware that he was not as academically strong as his peers, which continued to bother him, despite his emotional intelligence. A few kids started to pick on his poor academic and physical performance, but since he was not physically bullied by them, his parents advised him to ignore them and walk away.
Her new t-shirts, available for sale on booster .com read, “Dee the Fat Whale Saves the Whales.” Laura Lee’s fans and many others supported Dee in her efforts to save the whales and, in doing so, also supported standing up to bullying. At this time, the amount that Dee has raised to save the whales totals $3,380!
What a happy ending to this saddening story of cyberbullying! Consider partnering with Dee to help support saving the whales. Do you have a story about cyberbullying that you would like to share with us? If so, please get in touch today. We want to hear from you!