At first, I didn’t know what was going on. Other kids at school were telling me I had said horrible things about them, but I hadn’t done anything.
It started one afternoon after lunch. A few of the girls who sit in front of me in maths began to whisper to each other, then they turned around and glared at me. They were secretly checking their phones under their desks and talking. I wasn’t sure what was going on.
When the bell went and we all got up to leave, one of the girls stopped to have a go at me: ‘Why would you say that? I can’t believe you’d trash the way I dress!’ I had no idea what she was talking about. I tried to explain but she cut me off and brushed past me as she left.
On the bus going home, I messaged my friend Claire to ask if she knew what was going on. Claire messaged me back saying, ‘I didn’t think it was you!’ She sent me a screenshot of an Instagram account that looked just like mine. There were all these posts with pictures of other girls from my school, each with nasty posts beneath them.
I couldn’t believe it – someone was pretending to be me online.
How could anyone think that I could be that mean? It was so humiliating. The first thing I did was report the account to Instagram. But it didn’t stop. Every time I reported a fake account, another one would appear within a day or so. And fake accounts using my name and profile pic were starting to pop up on other apps. It went on for weeks. It was so hectic. I kept having to explain to my friends and other kids at school that it wasn’t me.
Eventually, a friend told me about eSafety. I made a cyberbullying complaint to eSafety who got in touch and provided me with support and help. They contacted the social media services and were able to get the fake accounts removed. It was such a relief. The fake accounts finally stopped. I’m really glad I was able to get the help I needed.
Note: Carla’s story combines experiences and emotions of a number of individuals in this situation. Stock photo. Posed by model.