Cyberbullying—Death By Twitter

Jerrold Parker is dead.

Jerrold tweeted that another boy, 19-year-old Devin Legget, can’t rap.  This one tweet set in motion events that are becoming far to common amongst teens today,  violence stemming from social media, or, in this case–death by Twitter.

That one tweet led to other tweets, which led to the boys getting into a physical fight. The situation ended in murder.

This death is tragic. The loss is tremendous. One teen is dead. Another charged with murder and facing a long prison sentence.  A family, hundreds of friends, and an entire community forever changed because of one Twitter post.

Screencap from video.
Screencap from video.

These types of incidents are occurring more frequently and becoming far too common. We read about Twitter wars, Instagram beefs and Facebook fights regularly. Cyberbullying is now a “thing,” and parents, school officials, and law enforcement agencies are scrambling to cope.  There are horrendous accounts of teens being bullied so badly via social media that they attempt suicide.

Kids today are growing up in an entirely different world than kids just 10 years older did.  Social media is an intricate and vital part of their social existence. So, what do we do?

The newer anti-bullying campaigns are a great start but are they are not enough.  Laws and regulations governing social media, especially in academic settings are slowing becoming more stringent and effective. But, we need more.

Cyberbullying has to be taken seriously.  This is paramount.  One of the largest hurdles facing this issue is that parents, school and law officials cannot agree on what constitutes inappropriate interactions on social media.

Kids need to be taught new coping skills, and social media etiquette. Schools spend countless hours teaching appropriate peer interactions and how to deal with face-to-face, in-person bullying. Time should also be dedicated to instilling in students values and tools to cope with all social media interactions.

They must be made aware that once they post something–it is basically permanent.  They should be taught that the age-old adage, “Don’t talk to strangers” applies to social media platforms as well. And the most important lesson–by far–that must be instilled in their developing minds is don’t say virtually what you wouldn’t say in person.


Denise is currently a writer and editor for a federal agency in Washington, DC. Prior to that she served as an elementary and middle school teacher in Charleston, SC. She is an open-minded free spirit always read for new adventures. She enjoys traveling and relishes being exposed to alternate points of view. She is passionate about what she does and does everything passionately. Faith, family and finances are the core of her value system. She follows her own path and marches to her own beat. She is a dream chaser and with her husband and best friend by her side, she plans to take over the world.