Tuesday, January 26, 2016


This is a real-life digital mystery, even though it's fiction.

Let's face it. It is a fantasy of anyone who has ever been cyberbullied.

It starts with a video of a girl passed out at a party, and the video, including suggestive viewpoints, was posted on YouTube. As what might happen in real life, there is a piling on of shaming and laughing at the subject. Her response was to post a video of her own: of her shooting herself in the head.

On the first anniversary of her death, a group of friends, who were part of the shaming, are trolled in a Skype call by an unknown guest who is using the dead girl's account. One by one, each of the group gets picked off and murdered online for all to see. The mystery person seems to be in control of their devices and they can't shut them off.

It's revenge on steroids.

While this movie only received one star in the cable description, I thought it deserved at least two and a half. 

Anyone who lives online like I do, who communicates mostly through video chat and Facebook, will not be able to look away. The entire movie takes place inside a Skype call and a Facebook chat. If you live in that world, you'll be able to relate.

It's a brilliant way to capture the essence of how this story line might impact the characters. The aesthetics could be better in that it was difficult to read the screenshots.

There may be a lot of people who don't understand the concept of this screenplay, not because of a generational gap, but because of the digital-analog gap. If you use your phone simply for telephone calls, you may not get this movie, outside of the creepy terrorizing part. 

But for the targets of cyberbullies, we can only dream.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cyberbully, the Movie

Adults sometimes forget that a teenager's world view is much smaller than theirs. For the child, school, family, and friends are their world, with an emphasis on friends. These friends are most likely people they've met in school, so their world is even smaller.

When the Cliquesters zero on a target, it's fast and furious and a group assault. It's a mob mentality as friends join enemies to pile on. Most know the mean rumors aren't true, but that doesn't seem to matter. Everyone acts as if they are true. What makes it worse is when the key instigator is a fake profile that helps to egg on the mob. 

For the target, he or she feels isolated, like they are the only ones going through this. Because their world is so closely tied to what people think about them, when the Internet betrays them and they are exposed and vulnerable, they don't have the wherewithal to handle the abuse. So they internalize it. They can't stop reading what comes next. They might even retaliate with a mean post of their own, but it just elevates the assault. Friends turn judgmental and people believe the lies. Without the mental capacity to bolster their own self-esteem, the target feels lost and may see only one way out: suicide.

The target is not alone, as the lead character Taylor Hillridge (Emily Osment) discovers when she attends a group session, where she meets other cyberbullying victims. They find strength in knowing they have an ally. They also learn how to take back control of their psyche. 

The key tips the movie advises a target of a cyberbully to do are:
  1. Print the evidence. Have physical proof of each verbal assault that shows names, times, and platform.
  2. Block them. After gathering the evidence, one by one, go through and block every person who has trolled the feed.
  3. Tell someone you trust. Whether it's a parent, adult mentor, or teacher -- make sure it is someone who you think will be sympathetic to your predicament and not sit in judgment. 
  4. Report them. There may or may not yet be any laws in your jurisdiction, but the only way it can start is if someone tries to file a statement with law enforcement.
Cyberbullying is not the target's fault, no matter what they've done or were perceived to have done. The four points listed above help a target empower himself or herself against their bullies. It's a start, and knowing there is a block and delete key is a powerful ally.

Cyberbully the movie is a good portrayal of how easily the online experience can deteriorate for a teenager, or an adult. It was written by Teena Booth and directed by Charles Binamé. Kay Panabaker, Meaghan Rath, Kelly Rowan, Jon McLaren, and Robert Naylor also star in this film.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Twitter Trolls, Sharp Knives and Labor Laws: Inside the New Kids Reality TV Trend

One concern common among any television show featuring kids, though, is the intense scrutiny faced by anyone in the public eye. When Season 14 of “Project Runway” wrapped its run last month, winner Ashley Nell Tipton immediately received enormous backlash on social media, with users claiming she didn’t deserve the title, only winning because she designed for plus-sized women.
But the spinoff show has taken some measures to protect the kids.

Twitter Trolls, Sharp Knives and Labor Laws: Inside the New Kids Reality TV Trend

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Twitter Pooping

+Michael Nuccitelli Psy. D. describes Twitter Pooping as: "a colloquial expression used to define the cyberbullying tactic of using Tweets to disparage and humiliate a target ... Twitter Pooping tends to be frequent insults and provocations that often use 'net lingo' to fit the harmful message the cyberbully is attempting to convey."

Tweets can be dispersed in rapid succession, much like an AK-47, by numerous people, sent at the same time.

We know there is a legion of Twitter trolls who respond with insults and unrelated garbage when they take issue with a tweet or someone's existence. Twitter Pooping actually takes that to a new elevated level. Such as if your cyberbully enlists 10 of his friends and they set out to spend the next three hours firing off hateful tweets to your @twitterhandle at breakneck speed, flooding your Inbox and Mentions for seeming eternity.

These are not just off-hand comments. This is a planned and targeted attack with one goal in mind: destroy the psyche of the recipient.

There is no thought or remorse about what the end result might be. Most of these creeps are anonymous, but often, some are not. The only power they can ever feel about themselves is behind a keyboard when they beat up on someone else, whether it's someone they know or they just decided to poop on someone at random.