Messaging on your cell can seem like a harmless after-school activity when you’re texting your BF or your crush, but you may wanna think twice before hitting send.
Hope Witsell, a 13-year-old middle school student, sent a graphic pic of herself to a boy hoping to get his attention. Sadly, it grabbed more attention than she would have liked. The pic was seen by kids all over her school and was even sent to the inboxes of students at several different schools, and fast. Hope started being constantly harassed and bullied while she walked the halls. And eventually, the taunts and name-calling became too much for her to bear and she chose to end her life by committing suicide.
Hope’s tragic story, if anything, should be a wake up call for young girls everywhere. Sending a text or pic that you’re not 100% comfy with other people seeing (no matter how much you feel you can trust the person you sent it to) can land in the wrong hands. This goes for anything you may choose to send over the internet, too. With technology these days and constant cyber communication, messages can be sent to millions with just a click of the button and can live on the web for the rest of your life, haunting you for years to come. Even if something doesn’t surface immediately, it doesn’t mean it can’t eventually.
The effort to encourage youth to speak out and stop digital abuse is growing stronger. MTV’s new initiative, A Thin Line
, recently launched to help stop the spread of emerging online abuse, such as “sexting,” cyberbullying and digital dating abuse. A study done by MTV and the Associated Press, revealed 50% of people aged 14-24 have experienced some type of digitally abusive behavior. The study also found, teen girls are more likely to be targeted than guys.
If you ever feel as if you’re being pressured, be strong and tell the person to stop, or seek the help of a trusted adult. You have the power and the choice to say no.
By: Taeler Lottino
POSTED ON 12/3/2009 4:15:00 PM