There was a story earlier in the week here in the UK about a woman in her 30s who was targeted by cyber bullies on Facebook and Twitter because of a photo she had posted of herself as a child.
As a child, Natalie Harvey had frizzy ginger her that lead to many playground taunts and episodes of bullying. She was also nicknamed ‘Orphan Annie‘ owing to her similar appearance to that of a children’s character of the time who had curly ginger hair. As soon as Natalie was old enough she dyed and straightened her hair, and has kept it that way ever since.
Since the abuse began, Mrs Harvey has deleted her Twitter profile and increased her Facebook security settings. She said: “I always hated pictures of myself as a youngster but three years ago I felt confident enough to post them on Facebook.” Of the bullying, she said that “something has to be done about online security. I am an outwardly confident person but it really affected me… It was so personal and nasty, and targeted directly at something that has affected me throughout my life.”
While you must have sympathy for her, you might also ask why she posted the photo on Facebook in the first place. If she knew that that image of herself lead to unhappiness as a child, why revisit a time of her life that was troubling? This is a very tricky one to call, as nobody deserves to be bullied in person or online, yet if you know that something has a history of bringing out nasty behaviour then why publicise it on Facebook?
As Natalie said, she now felt that she was confident enough to post the picture, but unfortunately the result was deeply distressing. Sharing photos on Facebook inevitably means that they are going to be viewed by a wide audience than you might anticipate and things such as cyber bullying can happen as a result of mass exposure. If you have things that you know have a previous history of eliciting unsavoury responses from people but you need to share them with somebody, you can securely and privately share photos with friends and family using DADapp.