“The sudden change from a public to a private school was a lot to take in. I used to be a sociable and outspoken kid with lots of friends. At the new school, the number of students in a class were bigger, which meant that the teachers couldn’t check in on us and soon I found myself in a scenario I would’ve never imagined. My friends stopped talking to me. I didn’t know why. I started receiving hate messages online. The big group of friends I had, soon became smaller and smaller until I resorted to hanging out with my cousins. With time, all the girls in my class stopped talking to me. I felt lonely, estranged, and left out. Although I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, I felt terrible.
I started getting rubbish in my bag and hate messages from fake accounts. I cried to my sister every day. It was difficult as it wasn’t just a single person who bullied me. When I posted something online, it attracted negative attention. Everyone my age was on social media too, but it seemed I was the only one bombarded with negativity. I wish people were taught to be responsible and kind on the internet on how much words can impact someone. I couldn’t go off social media simply because of the hate I was receiving since I needed it to stay connected to my parents, who weren’t home.
It’s been years and I’m still hesitant to truly trust people. My self-esteem has drastically dropped. I have social anxiety and the bullying affected my relationships at home too. I’m in Australia now with my mum. It’s better here. The people here are good to me. I’m still working on getting back to the person I was meant to be. I remember back in school when the teacher asked me to present in front of the class, they’d laugh at me and mock me. I still can’t face the crowd without suffering from severe anxiety. A few months ago, I had to do an interview and I had to cry in the washroom before going in. I hope we learn to use social media wisely and not spread hate just because we can hide behind a fake identity. I am sure my bullies weren’t even aware of the effect their words and actions had upon me. If they knew, I like to think that they’d try to be kinder. ”

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