Everyone is susceptible to cyberbullying.
No matter what you look like, what job you have, where you live, what you wear — if it's online, you're a target.
Personal trainer and body positivity advocate Chessie King recently partnered with a team of digital experts and The Cybersmile Foundation to show the extent to which even she suffers from cyberbullying from online trolls.
Earlier this week, King posted a video on Instagram, wherein she radiates self confidence and happiness. She said:
“It's my body and it's taken me years to embrace it. I'm finally proud to show it off in my underwear!”
She acknowledged that she still has “wiggly jiggly bits,” but has embraced them in full. Raising her arms toward the sky she declared, “I don't care!”
Most people were impressed and inspired by her declaration. However, for every kind comment she received, a troll hit back with a negative one of their own.
In response to her body positive post, King received a private message that said “she so fatty.”
Using her team of digital experts, King posted another photo to her Instagram story, this time with edits.
After taking in her waist to unrealistic proportions, trolls continued to insult King. First, they called out her muscular arms, said her legs were “soooooooooo big it's the worst,” and commented on her lack of cleavage.
So she edited more:
Kinda freaky, right?
King began to look more and more alien as trolls commented on her mustache-like eyebrows and her thin lips.
By the end of her Instagram story, King was an unrecognizable skeletal barbie.
She captioned the picture:
I'll never be able to please everyone...
The final image on King's highlighted story is a distorted nightmare:
She captioned the video:
If we changed our body for every troll, listened to every cyber bully, we would be monsters. Whether you have 23 followers or 3 million, NO ONE should have to deal with regular hate online.
Although Instagram stories typically only last for 24 hours, King saved hers as a highlight on her page for one month.
Her partnership with The Cybersmile Foundation has gotten a lot of attention, gaining over 150,000 views in the first 12 hours of posting. King told The Independent:
“I’m working with Cybersmile as this campaign is spreading such an important message. Trolling can affect anyone, from a 16 year old who has 100 followers to a celebrity who has over 1 million followers and these can have extreme consequences.
I have been through an exceptional amount of trolling these past six months since I’ve opened up more about my life on my Instagram platform and this has attracted such negativity from trolls and haters."
The TeenSafe website reports that 87 percent of youths have witnessed cyberbullying. While girls are more likely to experience cyberbullying, a majority of those impacted will be negatively impacted by these comments.
“Trolling is such an important issue to tackle because people cannot get away with hiding behind a computer or a phone saying things they most likely would never say to someone face to face and this needs to stop.
I feel a huge responsibility online but especially to spread the word offline and protect people who are getting trolled. It is a form of bullying and it cannot carry on.”
Bullying is an issue that affects many youths, but parents can teach their kids how to prevent and understand it. Teach them to be kind and communicative. Model good behavior and provide a safe outlet for them to come confide in.
For more tips on how to best prepare your child for bullying, visit the Stop Bullying website.