I've had to deal with some really horrible bullying and cyberbullying. But I've tried to fight the good fight and to do something about it on a bigger scale, especially because I kept meeting others who were struggling, too. With my mind and heart heavy due to my situation and that of others, I started to research cyberbullying. Ryan Halligan, Megan Meier, Jeffrey Johnston, and more and more names kept coming up. Reading their stories and the decisions they made to end their cyberbullying cut me deeply. I remembered an organization my mom had told me about called DoSomething.org. It's a place for kids and teens to do something to better the world. I decided to create Unbreakable, a project to help me heal as well as heal others who were bullied. I didn't have much of a plan at first—I just knew my goal was to end cyberbullying.
Soon, I got more passionate and wanted to tell more people what was happening. I wanted to be a voice for all victims of bullying. I printed out hundreds of pages of websites made just to attack kids. I sent a letter describing myself, my Unbreakable project, stories of suicide, and pages and pages of bullying sites to media outlets, politicians, law enforcement, celebrities, school superintendents, and anyone else I hoped would listen. The Tampa Tribune, ABC News, and Bay News 9 responded. Soon I was on a media train with Unbreakable. I created an Unbreakable Facebook fan page. My page targeted cyberbullies and the creators of the cruel sites. It also told the stories of Ryan, Megan, and Jeffrey. In the beginning, the page was mostly a surge of congratulations to "whoever this is" speaking out. (Before the media buzz, I didn't tell people that I was behind Unbreakable.) One student who had previously cyberbullied people posted, "I don't know who this is but you are an inspiration to me. Thank you for standing up and speaking out." I think it's awesome that my project has encouraged others to change their ways, and that Unbreakable got a lot more students to think and care about this important issue.
On December 17, 2010, my daughter was a victim of cyber bullying. There were four children involved in a chartroom within their e-mail accounts. One ring leader who seemed rather angry with my daughter started name calling, letting her know nobody liked her, and even went as far as wishing she would die in a hole. This obviously was a very hurtful conversation which led to my 11-year-old daughter to even consider death as an option. I thankfully monitor my child's accounts and was able to copy the conversation, and bring this conversation to my child's school. They acted quickly, and knew the severity of the situation. My hope is that there will be a positive outcome, and the four involved will have the opportunity to learn from this. Education and positive guidance are important tools to use as you do not want it to repeat, nor for you want it to fester in the minds of these young souls.Father of 12 year-old girl from VA