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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cyber Bullying by Janet Gurtler & Giveaway

Janet Gurtler has joined us to speak on cyber bullying as well as donate a copy of Who I Kissed for  a giveaway.
Cyber bullying obviously happens on line. It opens up a completely new assortment of problems for todays’ kids. In my day if someone were to tease me, it would travel by word of mouth and would probably take a while to reach a whole group of kids.  In today’s world a posting or forwarded text can reach hundreds, thousands, even more --in seconds.  The effect is larger and it is quicker.
Like talking behind someone’s back, cyber bullying allows bullies to hide behind something.  Words on a screen are permanent though.  Even if nasty or bullying postings are taken down, screen capture can keep things around for a long and damaging time.
In WHO I KISSED,  the main story line is put into action by a tragedy, a death that happens at a party. The impact that it has on the main character’s life is immediate. Kids have cell phones and they can text and post to Facebook or Twitter and the word spreads like wild fire. By the time my main character gets home, everything is out there.
And people comment. They say nasty things about her on Facebook. Everyone knows. Everyone has an opinion. The only way the main character, Sam can cope is to isolate herself from her social network.  But she doesn’t even want to do that.
When I wrote my book, I talked to a couple of journalists about professional ethics in a situation like this. Whether or not a young person would be named if they caused an accidental death. The journalists agreed that conventional media would respect a teen’s name in a situation like the one I set up in my book. However, social media doesn’t have the same kind of ethical restrictions.  I don’t know the legalities of what putting information on Facebook or Twitter, but things go up quickly and are seen, even if they’re taken down later.
Anonymity is a dying luxury.  In my character’s case, comments that in the past would probably have stayed behind her back were now being posted for the world to see. For her to see.
My character punishes herself by seeking out information on-line. It’s a concrete thing that is part of her mourning. She’s exposed. Standing in her underwear in the middle of the school hallway.  With virtual pictures flinging around the globe. It’s a vulnerable place to be. Cyber bullying takes things to a completely new level.

RITA ® Finalist Janet Gurtler lives in Calgary Alberta, near the Canadian Rockies, with her husband and son and a chubby Chihuahua named Bruce. She does not live in an Igloo or play hockey, but she does love maple syrup and says "eh" a lot.


One lucky winner will receive a copy of Who I Kissed.
US Only
Winner must respond within 48 hours
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I was ten years old...big crush on my neighbor :)

  2. I was a late bloomer. I was 17 and had already graduated high school. I felt so lame because I felt no one want to kiss me. Now I kind of wished I'd waited a lil longer for someone that really cared about me. For some reason at that time I let what other people, especially boys, think about me matter more to me than how much I cared about me. I'm now very happily married and I kiss my husband any time I want. :)

  3. I have never been kissed, I want to save it for the right guy.

  4. Um, is it bad if I say I can't remember? Honestly, I have no idea. I think probably 12 or 13. I can barely remember yesterday, nevermind twenty years ago ;)


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