*The names of the victims have been changed to protect the privacy of the affected families.
At just 14 years old, Rana was being threatened by her boyfriend who was 17 years old. At one point, he told her, “I want to post on instagram all the photos and videos you sent me if you don’t go out with me.” It was later apparent that these photos and videos were so hurtful to a girl her age.
Cyberbullying is a dangerous new development and its results are destroying families and young children. It makes the victim feel devastated mentally, emotionally, and physically. In Issam’s case, the outcome of him being the target of cyberbullying was fatal. At 21, Issam decided to put an end to his life due to a naked video of him which was spread all over social media. One self inflicted gunshot ended his life. He was misled by a fake account pretending to be a beautiful girl who seduced him.
Another young girl just 12 years of age also killed herself after being blackmailed for months by her friend and boyfriend. The little girl felt helpless against this insidious and deplorable misconduct.
Cyberbullying is now prevalent throughout the internet, and its reach spreads through popular apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, emails, and other social media platforms. The offensive images or videos go viral quickly and this causes great harm to the victim, especially young boys and girls in their teens.
Something can be done for these Lebanese teens, especially those in the CHOUF region of Lebanon which is a home to a significant Druze community. In June 2019, Latifa el Hassanyeh started an anti-cyberbullying campaign to stop cyberbullying through awareness via social media and workshops. After details of this campaign went public, many volunteers joined the cause and are now helping to accomplish this critical mission.
So far, many potential victims have called in to speak with Latifa el Hassanyeh who has assisted them confidentially. The campaign has gained significant intertraction on twitter among Lebanese citizens where public figures participated in the hashtag #ما_يبتزك_نحن_حدك.
The campaign sends a message out to victims of this horrible act, “we are here to rescue you from cyberbullying!” Both Arabic and Lebanese media stations covered the campaign and acknowledged its importance as an initiative for the entire Middle East region.
The anti-cyberbullying campaign’s first workshop will be held at the National Library in Baakline el Chouf on August 16th, 2019. The workshop focuses on kids and teens ages 12 to 18 along with their parents and is later followed by a panel on cyberbullying including highly regarded guests.
In the workshop, teens are trained to spend more time away from the internet, and to share activities with their families and friends. The campaign organizers believe that the youth are not ready to be left alone with technology due to their impressionable and susceptible state of mind.
The aim of the campaign is to encourage anyone who faces cyberbullying to call for help. The message to any victims who are reading this, “Don’t face cyberbullying alone. We are here beside you and we will support you. Together, we can end this problem.”
For victims or their families, or more info on how you can help,
please call: +961 3 502 721, or email email@example.com.
To support the cause via Twitter, contact @hassaniehl.