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.