Meet Ryan Nixon, a 21 year old student from the UK who started the increasingly popular Facebook group, Bullying by Social Networking Awareness. Just started last October, the group already has nearly 3,000 members.

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Taken from the group’s About page,

“BSNA’s aims are to support victims of cyber-bullying by: creating a forum for expression and connection for those afflicted; cultivating self-esteem in those affected; propagating awareness of the topic; and ultimately to elicit a positive response from the relevant parties.”

Before the holidays, I had emailed Ryan because I was interested in how and why he started such a fast-growing group. While I had been a member of the BSNA for some time, Ryan had posted a video on the group’s Facebook page which featured him talking to a round table of bullying experts in Northern Ireland about the need for bullying awareness and why he felt it was necessary to start an action group.  I was blown away by Ryan’s humbleness and poise and wanted to know more about him.

Upon emailing Ryan, he sent me the kindest email back explaining how his own experiences with childhood trauma and being relentlessly bullied were the main inspirations behind his interest in bullying and anti-bullying awareness.  As for the group he created, Ryan was specifically inspired by Amanda Todd’s story, which he explains here:

“I set up Bullying by Social Networking Awareness in response to Amanda Todd.  Amanda’s story broke me as it was so sad.  I thought at the beginning that 30-50 people would have joined by now however, it has exploded.  I am really happy to help people because there wasn’t a service available for me when I was going through the pain.  The response has been amazing and I think it is my time to do something to help prevent it.  I do believe everything happens for a reason, this is my reason.”

I think one of the main reasons I am drawn to Ryan’s story is because of how honest and compassionate he has been with regard to how personal experiences have shaped his current engagements and the way he is choosing to live his life.  I just think the world of him and all the good he is sharing with the world.

Please click here to find the Bullying by Social Networking Awareness Facebook group.

Please click here to following the Bullying by Social Networking Awareness group on Twitter.

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From Casey’s YouTube profile:

“I founded The Kris Snary Project in May of 2011 after Kris passed away. We were both bullied but had different outcomes.
I want to help people avoid his result. The world needs more love.
Talk to me at facebook.com/thekrissnaryproject or on Twitter @CaseyInRealLife”

And Casey’s Testimony:

I met Kris while going to college in a small South-Eastern Ontario city. We had a few mutual friends and it didn’t take long before we were able to talk openly to each other about certain things. Just for the heck of it, I used to call him my gay best friend and I was one of his straight best friends. After Kris moved back to his hometown, we lost touch a lot of the time, something I kick myself for almost every day. Coming home to see his name in Facebook obituary-style statuses on October 17th of 2010 was one of the worst experiences many of us here will never forget. 

The Kris Snary Project was formed months later in an attempt to take on bullying and suicide issues while integrating Kris’ favourite thing in the entire world which was music. In May of 2011, four bands (The Dead Sparrows, Unbound, Fingers X’d and Stealing Patience) gathered at our local pub and we fundraised with a concert for a bursary created in Kris’ name (The Kristofur Edward Snary Memorial Bursary).

The video served as an attempt to reach out to friends, family and strangers alike to try and create a connection with them whether they knew Kris or they were bullied themselves or knew someone else going through something similar. There are two versions; the orignal featuring “Invincible” by Hedley and the newer version featuring “All I Know” by Toronto’s Faint Reflection.

Up next, we have a Toronto rock band, Riots and Revelry, going into the recording studio to create a single for the project in order to keep that musical connection while still remembering why the project was started in the first place; Kris.

I can’t tell anyone at this point how to fix the bullying issue nationwide. That being said, after the experiences of the past year, I will say this:

You can tell a child not to touch a stove in case it is too hot but they will likely continue to do it behind your back until they get burnt.
The same thing goes for bullying. You can tell someone not to bully another but they will likely continue when you’re not looking until they feel the burn.

The Kris Snary Project can be found online at http://www.facebook.com/thekrissnaryproject

After such a great post in which Casey talks about The Kris Snary Project, her last sentence really made me stop and think. I would gather that the majority of people in this world know it is not okay to bully others and that it’s not okay to be mean to others, but people still do and they still are. So really, why does it continue? Are there not enough consequences for people who bully others? While laws are getting tougher, should lawmakers start cracking down on individuals who bully/harass/torment others no matter where the bullying takes place, who it offends, or what the bullying entails? Does the fact that Casey’s friend was gay change the degree of punishment or change the way people feel punishment should be handled- does it make the ‘making fun’ of someone okay? I certainly hope not, but are there people out there who would disagree with me? I’m sure there are.  Let’s continue to stand up for what’s right and let’s continue to stand up against bullying no matter WHO the bully or victim is or what they themselves stand for.

What do you guys think? Please comment below!

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