Here’s 11-year-old Agnes’ story. She had her secret leaked on Snapchat. She was going to use the app to keep in touch with her friends, but it became a medium for spreading the details of her family problems among the kids at school. See how she handled the situation and even came out as a winner.
It was my birthday last month and I was so excited because my parents finally got me a phone. I immediately downloaded Snapchat because I always see my friends on it and it looked like so much fun. I wrote my Snapchat name on a piece of paper and sent it around my class in school because I wanted to have as many friends as possible. I got lots of friend requests and accepted them all. What I didn’t know was that somebody took my Snapchat name and sent it around the whole school. I thought I was really popular having everyone add me.
There were a lot of things happening at home that nobody knew about. My parents weren’t getting along and decided to get a divorce. I kept this private because I felt embarrassed and I knew everyone would treat me differently. The only person I wanted to tell was my best friend Tracy. But a boy in our class, Gavin, overheard our conversation. Then when I wasn’t looking he grabbed my phone out of my hand and posted a picture of me on Snapchat saying, “My parents don’t love me! They’ve split up!”
I deleted it straight away but 15 people saw the picture and three people took a screenshot of it. They then posted it back on Snapchat and there was nothing I could do about it.
I told my parents what had happened and they came into school with me the next day and talked to the school Principal about the situation. The Principal talked to our class as a group about what happened and the potential damage such behavior could have, not only on the person involved, but also on their family. After the talk, Gavin and the other people involved came up to me and apologized. They let me know that they were there for me through this tough time and wouldn’t do anything like that again.
The school nominated me as their social media ambassador and I now deliver talks to groups on positive and responsible social media habits. I feel I can educate my peers on the dangers of ‘making fun’ of others on social media.