At the age of 24 Monica Lewinsky fell in love with the wrong person (who happened to be the president of America at that time) and became the first victim of online worldwide humiliation. Her life changed overnight and created a digital revolution that controls our lives nowadays. The news were delivers only by newspapers, television and radio before that, but this story was the first one to boom online and changed our lives. She calls herself :”a patient zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously”. Even though it happened in 1998, before social media were around, people still were able to comment and share information online. She became #1 “joke” around internet and people used this story to sell newspapers and banner ads online.
She was shamed all over the world for being “that woman” and this is how cyberbullying first time ever appeared. She lost almost everything and was publicly silenced for a decade. Her friend taped their phone calls, and made the personal information they contained, a public property. There she confessed her love for the president and people made her life unbearable as they, without any compassion, used her own words against her. Since that time, any scandal was discussed online and people gathered together to ruin lives of others, that only happened to make a mistake. And when Monica was strong enough to survive this, people like Tyler Clementi finish their lives by suicide. He was only 18, when he jumped off the bridge after his private affairs with another man were filmed by his roommate and online world literally shamed him to death.
If you never experienced cyberbullying, consider yourself lucky, because around 60% of kids, teenagers and young adults experience it worldwide as of 2020 and around 6-8% of them attempt suicide. And parents usually learn about it when it is too late.
When Monica heard about Tyler’s story in 2010, she decided to do something. She became an activist to make people see cyberbullying as seriously as any other health epidemic. Not so long ago she started an anti-bullying campaigne “The Epidemic” and her campaign video helps people to see the pain caused by online harassment and how to deal with it when you are a target.
Right now online bullying takes more lives then offline, and this statistic is horrifying. A research from 2014, shows how humiliation is a more intensely felt emotion than either happiness or anger. And online, technologically enhanced shaming is amplified, unconfined and permanently accessible.