Cyber Bullying: Liza's Prosvirova Story (2017)

Cyber Bullying: Liza's Prosvirova Story (2017)Kung Fu for Kids, Kung Fu of Golden Dragon at Santa Monica
First of all, I love my iPhone. It can do lots of cool stuff like playing videos, posting funny pictures, and you can even make mini movies with it. But I like it the most because it helps me stay in touch with friends and use the internet. It's like having the world at your fingertips. But sometimes you can find things that make the world seem bitter and dark. Some people use the internet only to make other people feel bad or threatened. Those people are cyber-bullies, and when they attack people on social media for no reason, they make the whole internet look bad. It's even worse when they can bully you by contacting you personally, because then you don't feel safe, and you feel like you can't use your phone for things that you're used to.

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One time I wanted to text with my friend Josh who trains with me at my dad's kung fu school, so we traded emails. I also emailed him my number so he could call or text me if he wanted to. I guess when I entered his email, I mixed up a letter, because I texted him a few days later and it wasn't Josh. I didn't know right away, because the person on the other end just texted me and started making funny silly jokes. I laughed, so I didn't really think much of it. Then he started making jokes and comments that I thought were inappropriate. I asked him, “Josh, when did you start talking like that?” He said something weird like “I always have,” so I decided to test him.

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Since we both train in kung fu and are in the same Tigers' Class, I asked him how to do a combo that we did in class. He started talking about how cool karate movies are, and he asked me what my favorite kung fu movie was. After I told him, I asked my question again. He still didn't answer, but tried to change the subject. So I tricked him. I told him that the teacher was really secret, and we never get to talk to him. We said he felt the same way. That was when I knew something was not right, because the teacher is my dad. And when he's not teaching us, my brother Dima is teaching the class. Now I was totally confused.

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When I figured out that it wasn't Josh, I told the person that I thought it was not cool to lead me on and that we shouldn't talk anymore. After that, the person started to be really mean. He called me all kinds of names, some that I can't even say without getting in deep trouble with my parents. I was even afraid to tell them because I thought I would get in trouble too. It went on for a few days, and I didn't say anything back. But it hurt my feelings so much, and I got tired of getting these stupid messages from this mean stranger. So I told him to leave me alone and find something better to do.

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After that he started sending me memes that he made, with ugly pictures saying that I was as bad or worse looking than them. No matter how I tried to ignore them, they would always bug me. They kept sending emails saying they were going to tell my friends things about me that weren't true, and that my friends don't really like me anyway. I didn't know who it was, so I didn't know if he could actually do it or not. But it was scary to think that somebody I don't know might be able to tell my friends things that would make them not like me without being able to speak for myself. For a while I just stopped using my iPhone and stayed off of YouTube and all my social sites. That didn't solve the problem though, they kept on picking on me.

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I told my mom and dad, and they sent the person a message telling them to leave me alone or the cops would be called. Then we blocked them and deleted all the hurtful junk mail they sent me. I just can't understand why some people want to bully other people and make them feel bad. My brother Dima says that people who are sad inside want to make others just as sad as they are, but that doesn't make sense to me. When I'm sad I try to make others feel happy, because then they try to make me feel happy too. Plus it's so much easier to be nice to people than to sit around thinking up ways to hurt them.

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One important thing I learned from my dad and brother about kung fu is that action is more real than words. They always tell me that people who are strong or brave enough to do something never talk about it because they're too busy doing it. When bullies threaten people online it's usually because they are scared in real life of getting into a real fight. My dad always tells me do not start fights, but if you have to fight, strike first, strike hard, and strike last. It's easy to call someone names and talk bad about them when you don't have that person right in front of your face, but those people are the ones who just want to make others feel as scared or sad as they are, and are not brave at all. As our family friend and instructor assistant Bo would say, A barking dog never bites. Sometimes barking can be scary or make you feel bad, but it's never as bad as being bitten.