Cyber-bullying claimed my sister's life

A heart-rending speech from a 17-year-old Vaiola College student whose sister took her own life because of cyber-bullying shone a light on the pit-falls of social media speaking to the topic of spending time on social media is a waste of time.

Jeran Teikanoa's speech won first place in this week's Savai'i Colleges' English Speech Competition. The speech is reprinted below.

Spending time on social networking is a waste of time

By Jeran Teikanoa

If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of -- Bruce Lee. 

Standing in front of you is truly a remarkable opportunity. And it is my pleasure and privilege to give honor to our judges, distinguish guests, my dear fellow competitors, friends, ladies and gentlemen. 

I’m so grateful to have a childhood before technology and social networking addictive and manipulative. This technology and social networking is your phone, the computer and internet sites that you wasted almost the whole day watching. 

Therefore I raised my voice [and] concern that spending time on social networking is a waste of time. It’s not that I completely agree about it, however, there are several reasons why it is become a time waster. It also has multiple effects that has the possibility to make our lives miserable. Such effects includes: blind dates cyber bullying and idleness. 

Now, sit back and relax.

First of all, blind dates. 

Social media has given every human being the opportunity to enjoy and to advertise their whole life on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube etc. Well, usually adults don’t really give too much attention to these types of activities because their one true love is always right there beside them. 

As for the younger generation the only valid reason why some of us use social networking is to hopefully find a lover. If you are [engaging in] such practices, I strongly recommend that you cease. Because it can blind your mind to what will ensue in the future. 

For instance, blind dates have become such a common practice and have caused many people to fall into traps [with] strangers they’ve never met before. As a result a lot of people, more specifically females,. have been abducted and never seen again. In close association with social networking [this] can be a massive threat to our lives especially young people.

Second, cyber bulling. 

Cyber bullying is when a person or a group of people post up offensive content on social media that are meant to hurt someone. 

Some people are very sensitive when it comes to bullying. Some bullies attack on social media which is something that everyone can access and view. It lowers victims' self esteem and causes them to feel lonely, self-doubtful, and insecure. Some might be so offended that they even commit suicide. Thinking that death is the only way to stop all calamity.

Years ago, one of my cousin's sister got married to a man who is 20 years older than her. Her mother disagreed with their marriage, and so she posted a very insulting status on media pertaining particularly to her daughter and her old husband. Rumours about the post spread all over, and my sister accessed it too. 5 days after the incident she went home and found it empty. 

She entered silently into her parents room. And she [wrote a] note asking her mother for forgiveness telling her how much she loved her. Then [she] placed it nicely on the bed. Then she hanged herself. 

Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, my advice for this is that if you are being bullied on social media just know this the only reason why they do it is because they’re too scared to face you. So don’t lose hope. And if you are bullying people on social networking I beg you to stop!

Third, idleness. 

When we fully embrace social media we can expect within ourselves the lack in realising how much time we have wasted. Being idle means no motivation to do anything. This is obvious but the biggest mistake that many people make is identifying themselves as idlers. There are times where I hardly realize how weak I am, not until I finally let go of my laptop and assist with family chores. That’s when I came to a realisation that my being busy on social media was devouring my strength without actually engaging in any physical activities.

Being preoccupied with social networking is a waste of time. 

Nevertheless, I would exhort each of you to try and at least avoid utilising social media for the wrong reasons. Spend time on things that are necessary for your family and more particularly to you. Reading a book, taking a walk outside, and spending time with your families is the best way to combat idleness. 

Indeed, spending time on social networking like Facebook is a waste of time. Time is very precious, so we all need to handle our time wisely and in a very responsible manner. Like reading books, and spending time with our family members. We should use most of our time engaging in things that are far more necessary and beneficial. 

Too much time spent on social media leaves us nothing but pain and misery, to a certain degree. 

So, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, let’s stick to the fact that embracing social media for unnecessary stuff is a waste of time.

* The text has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

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