Craig Finlay Memorial Competition - Social Media in Midlothian

St David's High School, photo by Leigha McCormack and Lucy Stewart.
St David's High School, photo by Leigha McCormack and Lucy Stewart.

Social Media is becoming a concern in Midlothian with young children and older adults.

Young children are getting pressured to do things that are inappropriate for young and older people. Social Media is beginning to take over their lives such as bullying, inappropriate content, suicide, and lots more.

Cyber bullying affects people from any age or walk of life, including children, teens and adults who all feel very distressed and alone when being bullied online. Cyber bullying can make you feel totally overwhelmed which can result in many feeling embarrassed that they are going through such a devastating time, and not knowing what support is available to them. 

Many children feel unable to confide in an adult because they feel ashamed and wonder whether they will be judged, told to ignore it or close their account which they might not want to do.

This is Lucie’s story: “My Name is Lucie, I am in 10th grade and I am writing this to share a story about my cyberbullying experience so that other people can see that they are not alone and hopefully learn from my experience.

“In January, there was a big party at a place called LIFE that a lot of the girls and boys in my grade were going to.

“I really wanted to go but had other plans made for that night. I was so upset that I couldn’t go, I wrote a mean post on my spam account on Instagram that was immature, angry and rude, directed to some of the people going to this party. Rather than accepting that I couldn’t go, I made it seem like I didn’t want to go in the first place.

“About a month later, a girl in my grade somehow came upon this post and shared it with other kids in our grade.

“People started to say terrible things about me while I was within earshot. Hearing this, I decided to go up to four or five of the girls and apologised immediately for the post and tried my best to make things right. They all said that they understood and that was the last I heard of it for the time being.

“Fast forward six months later and I posted a photo of myself on Instagram with the caption “Life is good”. A bunch of people including a boy I previously was hanging out with attacked this post with really mean and rude comments about me.

“I was so upset that I privately texted the girl who seemed to be leading these comments asking her why she was writing these hurtful things and she replied by saying ‘it’s a joke and we are just having fun’. She then continued to write more mean things about me and even made a post about me on her spam account, purposefully so I could see it.

“She threatened me saying ‘I deserved this’ and that she would hurt me and live stream it for other people to watch. I was scared and devastated when students from my grade who I thought were my friends commented about how funny she was and how annoying I was.

“People from other schools that I didn’t know even chimed in! I felt attacked and all alone. My close friends tried to comfort me privately, but no one had the courage to actually defend me on social media.

“I had this horrible sinking feeling of everyone hating me and talking about me behind my back. Some of my sympathetic friends even wrote to me that they would “hang themselves” if people were writing these kinds of things about them.

“I was so confused and sad that I decided the right thing to do was tell my mum and my family. My mum reached out to my school advisor who reminded us that my school has a code of conduct policy that includes a cyberbullying section that all students sign.”