The emotional turmoil and social isolation a person tries to impose on others by bullying, harassing, threatening, and pressuring them to send or share pictures or videos will seem mild compared to the emotional and social isolation felt after being convicted of one of the above laws. Separation from being forced to attend a different school, going to jail, not having access to the internet for years, and the additional impact on your future life (jobs, college, relationships) is not worth it. If you need help to learn how to not bully or harass others, please seek help from a licensed counselor, another mental health professional, or a trusted adult.
Right now, you may be thinking:
- That would NEVER happen to me.
- My parents or guardians would protect me or fix it.
- I am only kidding around; it is not serious.
- Nobody will ever find out.
WARNING - Those are your Cognitive Biases LYING!!
All these young people thought that too!...
If you have already made some bad decisions, then:
- Someone may be currently blackmailing you.
- You may be worried that your digital tattoo will haunt you.
- You have sent pictures out you regret.
Do not give up, life is not over!
If you are being blackmailed, then contact the authorities or the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
You cannot erase your digital tattoo, but you can apologize, delete hurtful items, and become an advocate.
- In person, be specific. Tell the people you have hurt that you are sorry.
- Online, do not mention the names of those you have hurt but share you are now aware that your past (bullying, harassing, begging/sharing, photos, etc.) was wrong, that you are sorry, and that you are changing your ways.
- All your pictures, text messages, empty trash, and cloud backups. Go the extra mile and reformat your hard drive.
- All your old, hurtful, and negative posts. Then delete the account and start a new fresh account. This will not stop a deep data recovery if someone wants to find your past posts but doing this sends a message to everyone that you are not that old person anymore.
- Become an advocate
- Use direct and indirect intervention methods when you see, read, or hear bullying occurring.
- Be consistent, remembering that your digital profile is you, your friends, and everywhere your phone and IP address go.
Everybody respects those who make positive changes in their life.
Nobody wants to be associated with a criminal.
Remember, you do not take your social status with you out of high school, but your digital tattoo will be there waiting for you!