Last Sunday, the movie Cyberbully aired on ABC Family. I am glad to see a movie addressing this issue. Of course, it is Disney related and everything must end on a happy note with a neat little bow. The movie did some things well.
First, I thought it showed how many people in a position of authority are reluctant to touch bullying and really do something about it. Those of us who have watched a child go through the trials of bullying know how hurtful and demeaning it really is. Law makers and administrators feel their hands are bound. Because it is so tough, they choose to do nothing. Not because they don’t think it is important, but they simply do not know where to even start. While I realize it is overwhelming, not starting at all is the same as doing nothing.
I also thought they showed how quickly it can happen. The main Character, Taylor, was not a target and then all of a sudden she was the target of a vicious attack. Those who bully, are like a pack of sharks, once they smell blood, the carnage begins. It is very hard for a teenager, or adult for that matter, to just turn their backs when being attacked. Taylor wanted to keep looking online and seeing what was being said because she felt a need to defend herself. I think that is a very real reaction. Her desire to remain in contact with others socially prevented her from simply disabling her account. I think these reactions are all very real in the world of cyber bullying.
The raw emotion that comes for someone being bullied is so real and the movie did a great job showing that. It rocks who these kids are to their very core. As I stated in my last post, our children’s brains are being changed when they are bullied, and not for the better. I could also really identify with the emotions of the mother. The need to fight back can become all-consuming. They many walls that she ran into are also very real and make fighting harder.
While the ending was a little too neatly tied up, I did appreciate a couple of small things about it. When all the kids did finally stand up to the girls who were known bullies, they did put in a phrase in there about how the girls doing the bullying were the ones who needed help. It also was a testament to the power of kids standing as one.
I had mixed feelings over all. I realize that a movie often wants to leave us feeling good and this movie did just that. It left me feeling that the main character was going to be o.k. In real life, that isn’t always the case. The fight must continue to bring more attention to this topic. Once we realize that it is o.k. to hold people, both children and adults, accountable for their actions, we can start to make a real dent in this issue.
This movie is on again tonight at 8 (CST) on ABC Family