Bullied Homecoming Princess Saved by Facebook Love

bullyingTechnology gets a bad rap when it comes to bullying. Facebook is seen as a place where people go to publicly hurt one another. And don't even get me started on sexting.

All you have to do is think of some of the major cases of bullying -- Tyler Clementi's suicide, Karen Klein's bus bullying, and Phoebe Prince's suicide -- to realize so many of them started and ended with Facebook or YouTube or texting. But technology didn't invent the bullying. Kids have been doing that for ages. And in the same way technology has aided and abetted these bullies, it has also stopped them. Crazy. But true.

Consider the story about Whitney Kropp, the high school "nerd" who was voted into the homecoming court as a joke. It's the kind of story that just pulls at your heart and makes it ache. But it also has a happy ending.

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Not only did Kropp hold her head high on the football field when she was crowned, she also had 100,000+ supporters. On Facebook. Yes, her story spread through Facebook and social media. Without Facebook, she would have just been another bullied girl like so many others.

Facebook made the story spread. It did the same with the Karen Klein story. Sure, the kids could use YouTube to humiliate her, but that plan backfired beautifully. The only humiliated ones were the kids.

Technology is a double-edged sword. It gives so much and it also takes so much. But bullying has been a problem in schoolyards since the day most of us were born. Technology is actually helping to improve lives for those who are bullied.

Bullied kids can have a wider social network. Dan Savage's entire "It gets better" campaign used YouTube to send messages of hope to so many shamed and humiliated kids who might otherwise be alone.

It isn't technology's fault that some jerks use it to bully and be mean. Just read the comments sections on most blogs and you will see so many angry and crazy people. But there are also moments of great love and compassion, moments that wouldn't exist without social media and the Internet.

Technology is changing everything, including bullying, in ways both good and bad. But mostly, it may be the key to stopping bullying for good. Don't be so quick to dismiss it.

Do you think technology is a bad or good thing when it comes to bullying?

 

Image via Eddie~S/Flickr

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