Cyberbully (2015)

Following the story of Casey Williams shows reminiscence of a bygone error as she is trolled by a hacker, only to discover that she herself has been cyber bullying for a long time and ignorant as to the consequences of her seemingly innocent actions. I am not going to give a play by play of what happens, but rather a commentary on the real life situations this film attributes too including the seemingly forgotten case on Amanda Todd whose name still resonates within certain circles.

During the course of the film it is clear that the ‘younger’ generation seem to be abhorrent towards one another and the online norm is to slate what others attempt including the actions of Jennifer Li, this young woman posts a video of herself singing for pure enjoyment. As innocent as Jennifer’s actions were it opened her up to ridicule from her peers who said she was a ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ who would never be good enough for ‘x-factor’ (which in my opinion is pretty dire in itself) in an attempt to lower her self-esteem and ridicule the poor girl. As you would expect she moved away, changing schools and her life in order to try and live a normal life; after several weeks however her peers discovered the old ridicule and began to jump on the band wagon by even dressing as Jennifer for Halloween and sending the pictures to her family. When Jennifer could take no more she took her own life.

Now Casey was the first person to take Jennifer’s video (along with a few others) and ridicule them for being who they were behind an anonymous name. It has often been said that the facelessness of the internet can cause people to be irrational and say things that they would not dare in person; this is one of the many reasons Facebook and Google+ require you to use a real name in order to make an account, as I have said previously this has caused issues for drag  queens and alike whose accounts have been suspended or removed because they can not prove that they are who they say they are.

Casey herself is made fun of in a public Twitter post, to which you can now report abuse, but it may not be acted upon for a distinct period of time by which point an unlimited number of people may have seen and screen-grabbed the post. Peoples stupidity have been the butt of many a web and television series including RudeTube and Why Would You Put That On The Internet. When she gets the chance to post on the persons account as them she implies they have erectile dysfunction, her actions in themselves are referred to as a frape (originally a Facebook rape, which in itself is a disgusting name, but in this film for some  reason is applied to Twitter (maybe people are getting stupider or I’m just old)) and the onslaught of this innocent boy begins.

Whilst the whole film is going on the hacker is threatening to post images of Casey that she took for her boyfriend, which in itself should tell you their nature. This is always a risky thing to do, and illegal for those under 18 to take, especially with the amount of revenge porn websites in existence (as demonstrated if you take Media Law) and the fact that when you are in a relationship you tend to connect with some of one another’s friends so if they post an inappropriate image it is there for the world to see and can be copied to any number of places.

Casey’s images are never posted but ones of her friends are from her account which can, and presumably did, cause irreversible damage to that persons public image and relationships as a whole. In the film a video was also posted outing one of her friends as homosexual, to which her class mates replied with an onslaught of homophobic posts and personal attacks which should appal. Unfortunately these kinds of responses are common place if you go on YouTube and look up whoever ‘come out to’ whoever you will see these kinds of ugly people are everywhere in the world.

One last point before I summarise, although a far fetched story elements of it alone can apply to most peoples lives, the webcam in your device can be hacked and turned on without your knowledge and if you are on an unsecured or public network it is so easy to take control of your device and steal your content without you knowing.

Here’s the clinch, Amanda Todd. Now if you do not know her story watch the video below but in essence she exposed herself to someone she trusted who threatened to expose her publicly if she didn’t ‘put on a show’. Amanda stood her ground but the image was sent out and she developed depression and got involved with drugs. The guy made a profile with the images of Amanda before proceeding to add people at her school who then alienated her to the point where she self harmed so that she had some sense of control in her life, and as a reminder she was human.

As Jennifer did, she ended up moving schools and everything was working out again so she thought she could reconnect with a friend who said he fancied her even though he had a girlfriend, he invited her over and she regretted it as they ‘hooked up’. Not long after a gang of peers told her no-one liked her and that she should go before getting physically violent and recording the incident.

After years of abuse she drank bleach and tried to kill herself, when she recovered and went home she saw a barrage of abuse on Facebook saying how she should have ‘done it better’ and ‘deserved it’. She moved again but as things were online they just followed where ever she went until finally she committed suicide. Below is one of the many uploads of her story and the start of the trend of the card holding in videos.

The film in itself shows how one small thing can spiral out of control and ruin someone’s life, and although a one room film with essentially one actor and very little overheads, it hits home with its point and although derivative of Amanda Todd and many other similar stories throughout the world it is well executed and will hopefully help make people think before they post.

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