NROP: Going viral – the double-edged sword of social media.

Has your content ever gone viral?

Mine has not. Why would it? There is so much better content out there like the #BottleCapCallenge, a photo of a good looking guy working at Target, or a guy asking for $10 to make a potato salad (and receiving over $50,000).

Have you ever been bullied?

Who has not? (Seriously, tell me.) Throughout my life I have been bullied for a variety of reasons.

Google defines bullying as an act “seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable)”. Whenever we think of bullying, we imagine a kid curled up in a corner refusing to go to school, or a child stuffed into a locker. However, if you think of the meaning of the word, it is not difficult to realize that bullying is something that each one of us is prone to encounter on any given day as an adult as well.

My first memory of getting bullied is probably from my first year of school. My parents were not always around and I had no sense of fashion, which meant that I would put on the first thing I saw in my drawers. My grandmother was of no use in that department, either. She thought that anything that was clean and had no holes was safe for school. There were plenty of outfits that were out of style. (I have always been behind or ahead of my time…) Other kids did not approve of some of my clothes and thought it would be amusing to make fun of me.

Sometimes, in dire situations, my parents would cut my hair. My dad was the worst. While he was the one who made mistakes, it was I that had to live with his bad decisions. It got me into plenty of trouble with the “cool” kids. I was never the biggest kid to be able to protect myself, but I always stood up for myself, and I believe that paid off. There is no doubt in my mind that people talked and gossiped about me (and still do), but it rarely got back to me. If it has no impact on me, I do not care about it. People do not waste time on something that does not produce expected results. They can point fingers and laugh, but if you do not react, they will go away.

Have you heard about 8-year-old kids committing suicide due to bullying? I think it is a rather recent phenomenon encouraged by social media. Are kids different today than they were 20+ years ago? is one of my first posts that expounds on that topic.

A few months ago (Where did all the time go?), we talked about an Autistic boy who was given a private study room in his school. He was supposedly mistreated and so his mother took it to social media to post an embarrassing photo of him in a school bathroom that had been customized to fit his needs. You know what they say…

Whatever happens on the Internet stays on the Internet.

If a certain mother from Australia read my posts, she would have thought twice about posting all sorts of photos and videos of her son. She went viral when she published a video of her 9-year-old son crying and asking for a knife to end his life after being bullied at school. During the video, which is minutes long, he asks to be killed because the bullying is too much. What message does that video send? To me, it sounds like the mother is making a spectacle out of him instead of comforting her son and talking to him. It must be horrifying to hear your kid talk about committing suicide. Is recording them the first thing that pops into your mind?

The kid was born with dwarfism and the above-mentioned viral video was not his first public appearance. Aside from struggling with achondroplasia, he is also of Aboriginal Australian origin, which supposedly added to the bullying the boy had undergone.

The boy and his mom first went viral when she posted a video of him screaming “Stop looking at me” (2:11). It is filmed by the mother and shows the kid in a shopping cart, looking behind her. During the interview, the mother said that people walking behind them were pointing at looking at him. Where do you expect people to look when they are walking behind you and in the same direction as you? Yes, people’s eyes are always drawn towards things that are different and stand out.

As an adult, I still struggle with acting around people with various disabilities. It is not because I discriminate against them. It is because I simply am not sure how to behave. If you stare (normally), then you are a bad person because you are surely staring with privilege and pity. But when you avert your eyes, that is not good, either. Do you really think they are so ugly that you cannot bare looking at them? So which one is it? I try to make it as natural as possible. However, I imagine, if you are different-looking, it is not hard for you to pick up on abnormal looks. Sometimes they might just be benign…

What happened after the recent video? Various social media accounts of the boy and his mom are said to have been deleted. It makes me wonder why. Did the boy realize what happened and got upset that his mother turned him into another meme?

There is a conspiracy theory going on, which claims that the boy is 18+ years old. Is it possible that the accounts have been deleted to try and delete the evidence of that scam? That is still to be seen.

Before that happened, celebrities raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for this boy so he could fly to the US and go to Disneyland. The GoFundMe page for Quaden can be found –> here <–. Aside from the gathered money and supportive messages/videos from people like Cardi B and Hugh Jackman, the boy also received an invitation to walk out with the National Rugby League’s Indigenous All Stars, which was his dream.

Whether he is 9 or 19, is yet to be uncovered. If he is an adult and they are scamming people, then I hope they get the punishment they deserve. However, I will assume (for now) that everything in the story is true.

There are two things that stood out to me as I read all those articles and watched the videos. First of all, I wish we put more effort into educating our own kids on how to handle bullying instead of asking the Internet to deal with it. Second of all, what makes this particular boy so special? How do you think all the other kids feel who receive absolutely nothing for their suffering?

If you struggle with what other people say, take a look at one of my posts entitled “How to deal with harsh words“. Please pass it along to anyone else, who you think might benefit from my suggestions.

Do you witness adult bullying?

How did you/do you deal with bullying?

Stay golden,

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89 thoughts on “NROP: Going viral – the double-edged sword of social media.

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  1. As always, a good piece. I think the main difference between kids today and from when we were growing up is their PARENTS. When we were growing up, our parents taught us right from wrong, and there were consequences for bad behavior; consequences that came with personal responsibility,, and a lot of us were raised with the Golden Rule. Today, parents are to busy being “friends” with their kids rather than parenting them. No one wants to discipline their kids any more, and they just let them do “whatever feels right” rather than what actually is right. I have been in many arguments and uncomfortable situations because of this lately, and sadly, it is only going to get worse until people start to realize the error of their ways.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Precisely. That’s why I am panicking. I see my peers and know what they are capable of. Passing certain things onto our kids is a death sentence. It’s terrifying. That’s why I can only hope that we keep on working on ourselves and those around us. Logic and reason need to make a comeback.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I cannot disagree with you. However, I do think that it’s harder for parents to be parents now than it was a couple of decades ago. In today’s world, nothing stays hidden. A kid can post anything online, making the parent to be a villain. They have the ability to get their parents in trouble without much work. And then there are all these people around who tell you what and how to be. You start overthinking things. Plus, with everyone working 24/7, it’s not easy to make time to actually raise a kid.

      I feel like we are giving kids too much freedom so they can “figure out what kind of people they want to be,” which I think is absolutely ridiculous. You don’t dive into the deep end of a pool if you can’t swim. You ask someone for lessons and guidance. Life is a dangerous game. Why would you risk your kid drowning?

      It’s interesting to hear that you get in trouble. I know that people hate advice on their kids from people without kids. Sure, I get it, but at least listen to them. They might be onto something.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I used to also struggle with how to act around not only those with disabilities, but also those who I am ‘expected’ to treat different or special because of social pressure. Now I just look at everyone I see (regardless of who and what their position might be) and genuinely smile. Makes it so much easier. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I have been bullied at school and also at work by women, school teacher. I could never understand why. It may have become worse due to children becoming more feral than they were before. My Mother used to chop off my hair too. Then take me to the hairdressers to have it styled to her liking not mine.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Very thought provoking post Goldie! I couldn’t bring myself to click on any of the links, the description of the videos was enough for me lol I can be a bit sensitive at times and seeing kids hurting, no matter what their age or if they are possible scammers would be hard to remove from my brain.
    1. I have certainly experienced bullying at many ages and stages of my life.
    2. When my oldest son was 8 yrs old he made fun of another boys clothing. The next day I sent him to school in his most AWFUL play clothes. He went to school in tears, terrified of being made fun of. At the end of the day, much to his relief, he had not been made fun of, and swore he would never make fun of anyone again. Lesson learned.
    3. When that same son was 9, his best friend had a brain tumor which resulted in him going cross eyed and being confined to a wheel chair. The only classmate that treated him the same as before he got sick, was my son. His parents eventually pulled him from school but continued to have my son over. My son was the only person that made him feel like he wasn’t sick.
    4. My 2nd son was bullied by classmates and the vice principal. I would keep him home and we would work out together at the gym, go for hikes etc. When the principal called the police on me for truancy I marched into his office with the notes I had taken about the other children and his vice principal. The principal was unaware of all that was happening, and white as a ghost he apologized and never called the police on me again.
    5. My 3rd son whom was born as Clara and is now Archie waited to announce that he was transgender until he was out of high school. He has found his tribe in college and I am so grateful. He experienced eating lunch alone and being alone at recess for much of his schooling. I always encouraged him to take the time to do what he loved and he did. He is a skilled musician going to school for music therapy to help those with mental illness.
    6. As far as I know my 4th son has neither bullied or been bullied, but what do I know!?
    Wow, this is long winded……..I think there are countless reasons that bullying happens. Reasons that seem right to the person bullying at the time. It’s a sad reality.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I considered embedding the videos in the post, but I ultimately decided only to link to it. It gives the reader more freedom to choose.

      ad 2. Wow. Good for you for teaching your boy the hard way. I bet he never forgot that lesson.

      ad 4. That must not have been easy for you to feel like school was against your son and that you needed to protect him from it. Was it impossible to get to the Principal without going through the Vice? Why wouldn’t you speak up sooner?

      You’re right. There are plenty of reasons. We can eradicate some, but I think there will always be something else that would come up. Sounds like you taught your kids well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I honestly thought the principal and Vp were in on it together. When he turned white as a ghost and said he had no idea that was going on I was amazed.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I was constantly bullied as a kid. I was fat and unattractive and terrible at athletics. I wore glasses early on and was a nerd, but not a cute nerd that teachers liked. Nope, they didn’t stand up for me at all. I was alone and my parents worked and were busy arguing with each other most of the time. So, what did I do? I escaped into books and fiction. Eventually, I figured out how to get super high grades and then teachers began to like me a lot. Whatever. I didn’t have much use for them at that point. I also figured out how to quit eating like my parents did, lost weight, and looked good. Then boys began noticing me. It just made me understand how shallow people are.

    The problem today is social media. I do think kids have it worse. You can’t go home and escape into a book or tv show because your phone is sitting right there with all the bullies waiting to harass you 24/7. I think that would have driven me insane!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, yes to the “people are shallow” part. It’s so sad and tragic, but true.

      What do you think made you figure out the grades and healthy eating all on your own?

      Totally. There is no quiet space for you to escape others. That’s why I do believe in social media usage monitoring at certain ages.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My mom pushed me on the grades, but once I began getting them, they became a source of pleasure for me. I liked the feeling of accomplishment. Regarding the healthier habits… I was definitely motivated by celebs in magazines and the always slender (back then) heroines in romance novels. Sad to say, I believed that I would receive love only if I looked a certain way.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. If the bullying does not affect me directly, (Sticks and stones…) then I would ignore it. The last thing I would do is use social media to tell my story. It might backfire. Maybe he could try home school until he is older, when he can handle the talk behind his back or people looking at him.

    He’s unusually short, so people will look at him. Some might stare, but all will look. I’m thinking he might use the looking to his advantage. When people look, smile back and say hello. They need to know he is the same as everybody else…just short.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I was blown away by your comment. So wise. “When people look, smile back and say hello.” Genius. He can’t change the fact that he is short, but he can change his perception of things. Surely, it can’t be easy to be “different.” It seems like people want to be the same but different. I wrote a post about this a while back. It’s something that really confuses me. Make the best of your reality. Turn your weakness into strength.

      Why do you think some people are able to ignore such things more than others? Do you think that comes with age?


      1. I think it depends on how you are raised. I was the youngest and was teased in a family friendly way, no bullying.
        I had a best friend that teased his sister without mercy. To this day she is defensive and can’t take criticism.
        Raised in a healthy way, you can be different and strong.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not convinced he’s 18. However, I am curious about two things. Have you, as a 9-year-old, ever gone to a b-day for an 18 year-old? I sure haven’t. I don’t think that would be appropriate (unless it was a party for family). Also, why were accounts taken down? It’s not like he was a private person anyway.


  7. Having bi-racial children I knew that it would be important to build their self confidence since they could easily become targets for discrimination and bullying. When they were young I attended a lot of their school field trips and other events. I knew a lot of the students, parents, and teachers. One time when she was in middle school I found one of my daughters crying in her room. I asked her what was wrong and she said a girl was mean to her. I aske who the girl was and she said it was a new girl. We talked about how hard it must be to be a new kid in school and I suggested to my daughter that she try to befriend the new girl. Maybe she could start by paying her a (sincere) compliment. I’m not sure exactly what my daughter said or did but it wasn’t long before she and this girl were good friends and remained so throughout high school.
    Also they didn’t have social media accounts or even their own phones until they had a job and could pay for them.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I think self-confidence is definitely an important thing to have. Well done on knowing that ahead of time.

      What a fantastic tale about your daughter and the new girl. Sometimes people who are rude/mean can be turned into great friends. Kudos to your daughter for knowing how and you for nudging her in the right direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post! I believe we all experienced a kind of bullying in childhood. Kids can be really cruel. I was not very good at resisting the attacks. In some cases, I preferred to pretend that nothing happened and to live in my own world. Maybe, that’s the reason I avoid any negative confrontation in my adulthood.

    In my opinion, going viral is tempting and risky at the same time. We all seek a sort of popularity, but if it goes too far, it affects our well-being. Whenever something gets popular in a short time, you may expect to have as many advocates as haters. It complicates a lot when your life becomes an object of judgment among people you don’t know and who don’t know you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very well said. The Internet is a great thing. Because there are so many people out there that we can reach, it increases our chances of having people agree with us, but it also allows the opposing team to be more visible. Therefore, a double-edged sword. You have to be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly.


                  1. When it comes to our close family, certainly it’s a big challenge. Though, I don’t have any issue with cutting ties with the extended family if necessary. Especially, if we’ve got no special relationships and we don’t engage in any kind of interaction.

                    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t say I’ve had much experience with bullying. Maybe I would have, had I gone to public school, but as it stands, my only experience with that kind of thing would probably be — now don’t laugh (too hard) — Minecraft. Many years ago (it feels like many, anyway… I don’t dare question how long it’s really been), I played it online a lot. Mostly with a friend, but not always. I came to love all things PvP; and while I was typically reserved, and almost never engaged with someone verbally unless they did so first… I could be a bit of a devil, myself. If someone tried starting something with me or broke certain rules of conduct, they would usually get more than they bargained for.

    Of course, there came a time when *I* broke certain rules of conduct, and someone did to me what I had done to countless others: He called me out, and beat me (mercilessly), when I had been playing cheaply — and I hated it. I wound up running into him a little later and tried paying him back; I was in a fury. But the story has a happy ending: we wound up finding common ground, swallowing our pride (mostly me swallowing mine), apologizing, and parting ways amicably.

    The moral of the story? Lots of people are (or can seem like) douches. Sometimes even you. And yet… still people. It can be easy to forget that; but I think life’s just a little bit better when you don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hehe… The really fun thing is tweaking those who seem to have broken their compass. I got a sadistic amount of pleasure from that. In retrospect, I do wish I had been kinder… But there’s this feeling when you drive into a blind rage someone who has been ruining things for everyone. Especially those times when, once they’re gone (often a rage quit, or ending in one; which I took as a great compliment to my abilities), you get something akin to a nod from everyone else, and the game then proceeds with a wonderful degree of honor and respect.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. School was difficult for me for a lot of the reasons you listed – I had very similar experiences – and in part because of my nature: smart, quiet, over-sensitive. I was bullied fairly regularly throughout school and excruciatingly for two years between grades eight and ten. It leaves scars. I think it’s worse now, I’m not sure by how much. I think social media encourages a pack mentality and that rarely goes well. As to problems with disabilities, I agree. I worry about how to act, how to look, what to say. Ignore, acknowledge, ask questions? I don’t want to cause harm by doing to much or too little. It’s a conundrum.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Who knew when someone thought something about me when I was in school? Only that person and whomever they told (a few other kids). Now, it’s so easy to put it on the World Wide Web. Everyone knows your weaknesses. Even people who don’t even know you. People who live continents away. That can’t be helpful.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. I think it’s a combination of crossing our fingers and needing so much to be part of the group that we pile on and ignore what foresight tells us, even when piling on is wrong, because being on the outside, being ostracized is so fundamentally terrifying.

            Liked by 1 person

  11. The video hit home.
    As I said in one of my posts, I was crying and shouting for a knife as a child.
    My parents had different reactions and it was never the right one.

    And then one day, a classmate told me he wanted to stab himself (I was 10 years old) and I just didn’t know how to react. I just send down next to him and we cried for a while.
    I never spoke to him after that.
    I can’t remember, he is now a distant memory I haven’t thought about for years. I hope he found happiness.

    It’s easy to say what you would do if someone would be in that desperate state, but the reality is different.

    But I know for sure I would never film it and post it to the internet.
    She blames the children, but what about adults? 7
    Teachers. Parents.
    I remember one teacher of mine being burned out because he couldn’t handle the bullying of the class.
    Yeah well, you signed up for that.

    I never stood up for myself when bullied.
    Nowadays, I just avoid people, because I know that I still wouldn’t be able to stand up for myself. Best to avoid it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cannot even imagine the anguish of a child thinking about hurting themselves…

      How do you wish your parents would have reacted?

      I still remember having this conversation with a classmate when we were in middle school. Probably about 14. We had just gotten into a fight and everyone blamed him (because he WAS at fault). He was a trouble-maker. I was not. At least not publicly. A priest that was teaching the class told us to go outside and talk it out. The guy broke down when we were alone. I just couldn’t believe this big, bad bully completely in pieces. I wonder how he is now… I know he had demons. I hope he found peace. He might have forgotten that conversation, but I never will. We did part ways after middle school.

      What do you think would have helped you stand up to bullies?


      1. Good question.
        I wish I had a more normal childhood.
        But I guess at that exact moment, a hug would be the most needed.

        Pretty intense story.
        I was pretty shocked to see that a former bully was helping out children in Africa.
        People never only bad or confident.

        How do you even stand up to bullies?
        You could return the insult, or fight, or makes a smart ass comment and then be considered funny and maybe even liked.
        I wish I could be the latter, but I am not and never will be.
        I always start crying and can’t stop the stupid tears.
        How did you stand up for yoursrlf or seen others do it?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve seen bullied people bully others, weaker than them. It helped them retain some of the control. I’ve seen people confront bullies. (I did and got my ass kicked, but was left alone afterwards because of that. The bullies were impressed.) I’ve seen people talk it out. (I’ve done that. Sometimes we would speak our peace and realize it was pointless and the issues would stop. Other times, we agreed to disagree, at which point I refused to pay any attention to it.)

          I think mental bullying is the worst. You don’t really know if they are doing it intentionally or not, what their reasoning is, and how to fight it. I think your approach of walking away is the best. When I was young, my parents told me that caring about what bullies did would only encourage them. And I believe it to be true. Not giving them the satisfaction of knowing they hurt you is the biggest win. But I know it can be easier said than done, especially when you cannot control your tears.


  12. Did you not have school uniforms?
    I don’t really remember being bullied. Maybe my memory is just bad. Or maybe I just never considered it as bullying because I decided to not be affected. Don’t know.
    I have been following Quaden’s story and yes, it’s sad that the mother posted it. Seeing a 9 year old speaking about commiting suicide, it’s just sad. I just didn’t know how to react when I saw the video. When social media has the power to do good things, it has the power to destroy things too. Content on the internet is unlimited. You never know what your child is accessing. There needs to be some restriction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I did not. They always talked about it, but we always managed without it, which I was happy about. To me, uniforms felt like prison jumpers. Everyone has the same. They would implement uniforms a couple of years after I left each school.

      Most definitely. Parental supervision is needed when it comes to the Internet. The mother should know better than to post it. Yes, you will get some support, but there will always be some kind of backlash. Is it worth it for you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They did feel like prison jumpers sometimes to me too and I was really excited to go to college to wear casuals. But then, the uniforms also reduced the social differences we had outside school. We were all one in that same uniform.

        I mean, even you need to post about bullying, be more sensible. Showing how you child is wanting to commit suicide to the world.. that world might include other children of your child’s own age. How would it affect them? Speaking up is fine but there could have been a better way

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Been on the wrong end of bullying many times in my life. I’m sad that you had to encounter as well. As I got older and get older I realize it’s not only the kids. Adults are worse. I got no time for at all and if I can I make sure call the person out for it. Just treat people with respect and if the person is an idiot by nature, just avoid avoid avoid…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve seen the video on social media. I despise bullying but I don’t like people posting it on social media. Parents should raise their kids properly and teach them to respect others. I was raised with an iron fist and I got beaten by my parents when I did something wrong. But they taught me and my brothers what’s right and wrong and I appreciate it now.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow! Thought-provoking question. I have noticed bullying on social media. It seems like we cannot speak our minds in, especially in the realms of politics and religion, lest someone who disagrees with our opinions begins railing against us. Look at our president – he has disparaging names for all of his supposed enemies. Whether you agree with his politics or not, what kind of example does that set?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Do you witness adult bullying?
    I have, and I struggle with not stepping in. My natural instinct is to defend/shield the person being bullied, but I also know that isn’t always optimal.

    How did you/do you deal with bullying?
    I left my last job because of it, and it did quite a number on me. I’m now even more empathetic towards others who are/have been bullied than I was before, and that’s saying something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can totally relate. Bullying is not right, but you don’t always have all the facts to make an educated decision. Plus, there might be other negative consequences if you step in.

      I’m glad you’re at a better environment now.

      Liked by 1 person

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Cathleen Townsend

Faerie Tales and Fantasy Worlds


writing science-fiction and fantasy since tomorrow

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