Best friend breakups are just the worst, especially when you’re 14 years old… and one of the most famous children on the planet. After spending her childhood hidden behind a mask, Paris Jackson has recently become a much more public figure — thanks in part to her interview with Oprah Winfrey and in part to her increasing social media presence.
Paris’s Twitter isn’t very different from that of your average 14 year old, except for the fact that she’s got 800,000 followers. Otherwise, she tweets about normal stuff: Justin Bieber, movies, her pet rabbit, and how “guys suck.” Oh yeah — and the fight she’s having with her former BFF, Spencer Malnik.
“lol so i guess spencer malnik gave out a fake number saying it was mine for followers on instagram. liar. i’m never trusting spencer again,” Paris tweeted on Thursday. Instantly, Paris’s followers turned on Spencer, calling her hateful names and cursing her out. We’d print some of the vile tweets, but they’d have to be asterisk-ed beyond readability. They’re pretty shocking.
In fact, things got so bad Paris had to intervene. “guys leave spencer alone. our business is private,” she wrote a few hours later. Of course, Paris made the business public herself, forgetting, for a moment, that she doesn’t have the privilege of a private cyber-war like other kids might.
Paris used her twitter as a venting platform the way a normal teenager might, and the consequences were inflated by her huge number of followers — enough to make headlines on sites like Jezebel. It’s a good example, though, of what’s happening on a daily basis, albeit on a smaller scale, in high schools and middle schools now. This sort of back-and-forth cyberbullying is incredibly prevalent — the fake phone number being handed out via social media, the retaliation, and the unwarranted and abusive response from people emboldened by their anonymity.
The moral of the story? Keep an eye on what your kids — or any kids in your guardianship — are doing online. Innocent-seeming pranks can snowball into serious bullying very fast.