BUL­LY­ING

Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY -

adults. She’s also sched­uled to speak about bul­ly­ing Thurs­day at Palm Beach Day Academy and Fri­day at Palm Beach Pub­lic School.

Her book is “a very pos­i­tive book about how to pre­vent bul­ly­ing and how to ad­dress it if you’re go­ing through it,” said Rachel Schip­per, direc­tor of the Four Arts li­braries. The Four Arts ar­ranged the talks.

May­rock de­scribes bul­ly­ing as an in­ter­na­tional epi­demic. About 28 per­cent of Amer­i­can stu­dents in grades six through 12 have been bul­lied, ac­cord­ing to stop­bul­ly­ing.gov.

“Of­ten bul­ly­ing is looked at as kids be­ing kids,” she said Tues­day. “When you don’t take some­thing se­ri­ously, it builds up. When so­cial me­dia is in­volved, it can be­come a 24-7 at­tack for peo­ple all over the world. I don’t think hu­man be­hav­ior has changed, but the ways we can bully and dis­crim­i­nate have pro­lif­er­ated.”

May­rock knows about on­line rep­u­ta­tion sab­o­tage from per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence.

She thought she’d left the bul­lies be­hind af­ter her fam­ily moved from New York to Cal­i­for­nia when she was in the eighth grade.

Then she re­ceived a text mes­sage with a pic­ture of one of her for­mer class­mates dressed up as her for Halloween and parad­ing around school wear­ing a sign bear­ing her name. The bul­ly­ing be­gan again, only this time it was on­line.

Her so­lu­tion was to delete her so­cial me­dia ac­counts and change her phone num­ber. She laid low for sev­eral months and when she re­turned to so­cial me­dia, she was much more dis­crim­i­nat­ing about how she com­mu­ni­cated on­line.

She rec­om­mends cau­tion to any­one who uses so­cial me­dia. Start with em­ploy­ing the plat­forms’ pri­vacy set­tings, she said.

Be­yond that “it’s most im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that what­ever you post, com­ment on or like is there for­ever,” she said. “Ev­ery click and in­ter­ac­tion is pub­lic.”

And the pit­falls don’t end there.

“If you like a post or pic­ture, you’re not just lik­ing the pic­ture or post,” she said. “You’re lik­ing the page or per­son who posted it. That per­son might seem harm­less. But if you go to their page and look at the rest of their con­tent, it could con­flict with your morals and be­liefs.”

May­rock, who’s also an ac­tress and screen­writer, over­came bul­ly­ing with help from car­ing adults and through cre­ative ex­pres­sion. She’s even learned to see the up­side of the ex­pe­ri­ence. Among other things, it’s made her stronger and given her a mis­sion, she said. She’s shown that bul­lies don’t have to win.

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