Cyberbullying case: 16-year-old Mariam received a message on Facebook from an unknown boy, 24-year-old Gigi. Gigi was asking Mariam for a date every day for almost a month. Finally, Mariam reached out and they became friends.
The girl had never liked anyone this much before. Gigi frequently complimented her y and was persistently asking for her selfies. They rarely managed to meet and when they did it was a short date. Mariam’s parents would be very angry if they found out she had a 24-year-old boyfriend. The girl liked Gigi and she didn’t think long when he asked for her nude selfie, but she didn’t have the courage to fully undress.
Next day Gigi asked for another nude selfie, with her hair pulled back. Mariam didn’t like this request, but Gigi jokingly told her he would publicly post yesterday’s nude selfie. At this moment her mother brought her closest friend Nuka into the room and Mariam quickly put away her phone. She was worried about Gigi’s request but didn’t have the courage to tell her best friend.
It turned out that Gigi was not joking. He was asking for more and more photos. Mariam knew that each photo would be followed by a new request and threats. She finally confided in her friend Nuka. Her friend was angry and told her to break up with Gigi if she wanted their friendship to continue. Otherwise she would be mocked at school and her mother would be angry too. Next day Mariam noticed that her friends’ attitude had changed and they treated her coldly.
Gigi was persistently asking the girl to meet him and was becoming more angry. “Why did you send me your nude pics if you didn't’ want to?” - he shouted at her.
That evening father scolded her for being late, while mother recalled her bad grades at school. Mariam was unable to tell her parents about the problem, as she believed nobody would understand her.
Even Mariam’s favourite teacher Nata blamed her failed homework on her “teenage complexes and complications”. Mariam was unable to tell the teacher her secret either.
Meanwhile Gigi made a video of her photos. Mariam imagined all the negative comments beneath it and decided to finish it all. All she wanted was everything to end soon. So she threw herself out of the window on eleventh floor.
Questions for a discussion
- What problems can you identify in the case study?
- How is Mariam’s emotional and psychological state in the beginning and in the end?
- How could Mariam’s parents and the teacher guess that she had a problem?
- What was the parent’s mistake?
- What was the teacher’s mistake?
- What mistake did Mariam’s friend make?
- How should have Mariam acted?
- How should have her parents acted?
- How should have Mariam’s friend acted?
- How should have the teacher acted?