Sihle Kibido Advocates for Anti-Cyberbullying Movement



Social media is a great way for everyone to interact, follow the latest news, trends and boost one's own profile but like everything else in this world, there is a dark side to it.
According to Wikipedia, Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means. It has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers. Harmful bullying behavior can include posting rumors, threats, sexual remarks, a victims' personal information, or pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech). Bullying or harassment can be identified by repeated behavior and an intent to harm. Victims may have lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of emotional responses, including being scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed.

Aspring South African face model/make-up artist, Sihle Kibido has taken it upon herself to make a difference!

"Cybersiv (Cyber + Abusive) is an anti-cyberbullying movement aimed mostly at teenagers. The aim for this movement is to withstand such damaging forces, to encourage the youth to remain united. To educate people about the effects cyberbullying has on one’s mental health.
"I called it Cybersiv because of the power and abuse social media has and how quick it could take one’s life", said Sihle.

Kibido herself fell victim to cyber-bullying earlier on in life and told herself that she would do everything in her powers to make sure that no other teen ever has to face the same predicament.

"Being an aspiring model, I started experimenting with make-up, taking pictures and loving fashion at a very early age. Because of this my social media accounts grew popular and as this happened a lot of hate came my way. Older girls started criticizing and hating on me for no particular reason. I’m guessing it was because of jealousy; because I could do things that many of them couldn’t do at that age.
"I can’t honestly say that cyberbullying didn’t affect me because it did. During that time my parents weren’t aware of what cyberbullying was so I chose to keep quiet but would spend my nights crying because I had no friends at all. People that I thought were my friends entertained what was happening and instead of looking out and standing up for me, they saw it as some kind of joke. It seemed to become a cool thing for Capetonian kids to bash me as they were influenced by older ones and this then made it tough for me. I was scared to use public transport, walking in public or even doing what other kids do. At times I felt like drowning myself, it felt like they world had turned against me, like I was being punished for everyone’s sin", she said.

"Surely, there can’t be anyone out there that doesn’t know what it feels like to be disliked, rejected momentarily or over sustained periods of time. Perhaps it is merely indifference but it may also be hurt. Imagine being hated on for things that you cannot change or things that you have no control over. When this happens it is to some consolation to know that hatred or dislike is unjustified - that you don’t deserve it. If you have family or friends who care, the emotional toll/ damage is reduced.
"We often think of this as something we’ll get over in a few days or something that will make us strong and build us but that is not always the case. Some people it leaves a permanent scar, some may not be strong as many are. I mean, being humiliated over and over and accepting rejection as legitimate makes you want to give up", she added.

Sihle said that her hope was that this issue gets the attention that it deserves and that enough awareness is put out there because there are so many kids suffering in silence who could use a helping hand, hopefully before it's too late!
"What I would hope to achieve is for this movement to get the attention that it deserves and spread across the country and if possible to other nations as well. When one experiences cyberbullying most grow beyond it however some collapse silently and the death of self esteem could occur quickly and very easily. Through this platform I hope people start to stand up for each other on social media especially teenagers and stop unnecessary drama.
"This is a platform that teenagers could approach to talk about their personal experiences with cyberbullying. This movement also aims at educating parents on cyberbullying, for them to constantly check up on their kids, to talk to them about the dangers of social media", she said.

The beauty who one day hopes to pursue a career in modelling also went on to say that this was a cause that everybody, not just one person, needed to fight for and that she was in the process of trying to bring in more influencial individuals/organisations to join the movement.

"Being a newbie in the Industry, I have no experience at all but I would love to work with many celebrities to help reduce the amount of depression that causes suicidal thoughts in teenagers because of Cyberbullying. Right now, I am hoping to achieve this by getting support from Twitter to approach the right people to help this project come to existence", said Kibido.



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