Monday, 23 July 2007

A Personal Account and Reflection on Cyberbullying Well at the time of writing, I feel as if the world has turned upside down and me along with it. At the time of publishing this today - 7 months after - New Worlds and a New Me After dealing with online bullying in what I considered a place of work and learning, leading to me electing to disengage from an online forum that had been a part of my life since 2003, I have been through some major ups and downs. Blogging I felt may be a great way to connect with others who have similar interests, so I have given it a go. All was well when I was on top of my game. Not so now. I continued to explore as may online social networking tools as humanly possible. Not wanting to know only how they worked, but: what drew people to them which were the most popular who used them why did they use them did they use them socially or for business or NFP how could they be used for learning within TAFE environments (and other educational levels what educational program that would be accessible to all could be created, to counter the current 'terror' attack by the media, who are pushing the 'stir up the parents' buttons, 'scare them', when educating, learning experiences, engagement and current information would be far more appropriate and the list goes on The journey was amazing, the learning continues but at a lesser pace than before. Why, because any form of bullying can get you down. I began to blog less, I have not engaged as often in the social networking environments, I established, joined and was active within. Have I lost interest in the area I was so intrigued by, No, but motivating oneself gets harder and harder. In the back of the mind a worry that maybe someone will track me down and it will start again, one that you think leaves you but is ever present. I am angry. Angry after feeling I had no option but to leave an online world as there was little support from management, and no assurance of protection in the future. Disconnected from many I had been engaged with since 2003. Confidence waxes and wanes, posts get deleted and so it goes on. Hopefully I am now on the road to recovery and can trust and let go of what has been a nightmare for me and those close to me. If you know of anyone who has been or is being cyberbullied, please take the time to understand them as until you have been there, you have no idea of how it feels or the impact it has on your life. To all those who have been cyberbullied - remember for everyone of the predators there thousands of neat people who are out in cyberspace and will rally around you - support you, understand you and eventually help you back on your feet in the worlds that you rightfully belong. At the time of publishing this post 7 months after the events, I speak from experience. I had an amazing support group - many of whom I have not yet met in person, but I hope to someday. They rallied, they supported publicly, they understood when I was quiet, they understood when I was quite manic, posting all of a sudden, flooding email boxes with links and things I had found, they left me be or so I thought at times when I just needed to be invisible - finding that many had been supporting the work I had done in the past and quietly ensuring I was still visible. I did not understand why at the time? Why did I deserve such support? Why did these people, many of whom did not even know me at the time and have still to meet me in the flesh? Why did it matter if one voice vanished from online discussion of any form? Finally that turned around in my mind, to a feeling that is often rare. A feeling of support from people who believed in me, believed that I belonged in discussion, were willing to watch over me and I knew would protect me from harm in the future, if I returned. Unconditional support - Wow - Once it kicked in, I bounced back. Slowly to start with and now there seems to be no end to this new journey. My experience like for all those cyberbullied, was horrid - BUT now I look back and am thankful, yes indeed - if it had not happened I would not have been shot into the blogosphere, returned to myspace and explored so much since, creating a new future in my worlds, with my friends. Never say Never - If You Have Left - Come Back - We Need You and Together Will Watch Out For You.

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