Are you ready for another cyber literacy story? Today we’re talking about the ugly duckling story… with a twist! This is a tale about 3 ducklings and cyberbullying.
Once upon a time, there lived three “ugly” ducklings in three different locations in the world.
One of the ducklings lived in the country – he liked to play near an old farmhouse, and he enjoyed taking pictures of beautiful nature with his phone camera. He would look up interesting nature facts on his computer to learn about the world around him.
The second duckling lived in the city – she loved hopping, skipping, and jumping outside, and making phone videos of herself having cool adventures exploring the world around her. She shared these videos and experiences with friends and family online.
And, of course, the third duckling lived in the suburbs. They spent most of their free time reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks on their tablet. They would always review these books after they were done, and looked at the recommendations list to pick what to read next.
These three ducklings were extremely unique and did not know each other in any way! The one thing they did have in common was that all three of them used Quackgram: a social media platform most of their fowl family and feathered friends were on.
Duckling #1 would post the nature pictures and facts to his Quackgram story – he loved updating people on his hobby and gushing about his passion.
Duckling #2 shared her videos and talked about the adventures she had in the big city on Quackgram: she loved showing how much fun she had with the little things in life.
Duckling #3 followed many book recommendation accounts on Quackgram. They even ran their own page dedicated to talking about their favorite books and what they liked about them.
The ducklings were all about to start a brand new school year at a brand new school. They were a little nervous about it, but their moms, dads, and parents told them not to worry, that everything would be fine! So, off to school all three little ducklings went.
Duckling #1 was already struggling as soon as he got on the bus to school. No one talked to him, and he sat alone on the ride there. Many of the other drakes in his class stared at him and ignored him as he was introduced to the class.
The only highlight was Science, where he talked about his Quackgram stories and mentioned how much he loved plants, that is, until other students started teasing him.He was almost in tears, and stopped talking for the rest of the day.
When he went home, he quickly ran up the stairs into his room and flopped onto bed.
“Could this day get any worse?” he thought.
It wasn’t until later that he opened his Quackgram account and saw a flurry of activity that he felt sick to his stomach.
Nearly all the students in class had followed him!
Not only that, several people started replying to his nature QG Stories with mean comments.
“What a nerd lol”
“No wonder you don’t have any friends”
Duckling #1 cried, not knowing what to do, and decided not to post nature stories anymore.
The second duckling wasn’t having much luck with her first day of school either. In her first class, she could feel everyone’s eyes on her as she walked into the room.
This one girl tripped her as she walked to her desk!
Most of the students laughed, and embarrassed, Duckling #2 sat down and kept her head down.
At recess (her absolute favorite part of school), she started skipping, hopping, and jumping as she usually did. Once again, several ducks from her class snickered and walked past her.
“You’re such a weirdo!,” one of them yelled.
Duckling #2 felt sad, and when she tried to talk to the teacher about it, he dismissed it as teasing and said things would get better soon. She hoped he was right, and as they day finished she had actually made a couple of friends – a Hen and a Dove! She gave them her Quackgram handle and accepted their follow requests.
When she got home, she posted a few new videos of her “hop, skip, jump” adventures, as she called them, that she had taken at recess. Then she noticed something strange.
Hen and Dove had tagged her in a post. It was a video of her from when she had tripped that morning! It said UGLY DUCKLING in big, bold letters across the top, and the shares were already reaching hundreds. Duckling #2 was shocked – she thought she had made two friends, but she actually made frenemies!
How could someone pretend to be her friend and do this?
Why would all these people share such a mean video?
She deleted all her videos from her account and ruffled her feathers up on her bed.
Meanwhile, Duckling #3 was not doing much better. They were extremely gifted and intelligent, which meant that they got sent to an advanced class every day. This excited them – until everyone started spreading rumors about how they were a strange, odd duckling.
After having a nice conversation with one of the teachers, a few students shouted “Teacher’s pet!” at them, startling them and causing them to squawk, and drop a couple of their favorite books.
And guess what these students did next? The classmates stomped on Duckling #3’s books and even ripped pages out of them! One of the students stole their writing notebook and dropped it in the water fountain. By the time the duckling got it back, it was soaking through and through.
When Duckling #3 got home, they were in tears. Above that, their Quackgram was bursting with notifications of people directly messaging them, telling them how strange they talked, and that they should just go back to where they came from – only they weren’t using the right pronouns! Ugh.
Several of the students even made memes of the book incident, telling Duckling #3 that they deserved it and they didn’t want them at school. Duckling #3 was so hurt that they refused to look at their tablet to read their books.
After about a month of this treatment at their new schools, all three ducklings had had ENOUGH.
These ducklings weren’t sure what to do, but they knew they had to do something, because it was terrible that their classmates were being this mean to them in person and online.
The first duckling decided to talk to his parents about it. His parents suggested that he should block people who are mean. His therapist taught him an affirmation to recite everyday: “What others say doesn’t define me!”
Duckling #2 went to her teacher first, and talked about everything that had happened, and she set up a meeting with her parents and the principal of the school. After collecting the evidence that was left, the principal ended up taking action and disciplining the other students who had been bullying and cyberbullying her.
Duckling #2 was relieved that real consequences had been put in place to stop the bullying, and she slowly got comfortable enough to start posting her “hop, skip, jump” stories again. She also learned that it was important to not delete evidence if something like this happened again.
And finally, the last duckling, after talking to their mom and dad and their teachers, decided that they wanted to make a bigger impact and find a way to share their story. They were searching #cyberbullied on Quackgram and found Duckling #1 and Duckling #2 because they had shared their experience to help others by spreading awareness. Duckling #3 decided to message these two brave ducklings.
All three ducklings ended up becoming cyber pen pals and they all turned into amazing friends!
Even though they lived thousands of miles away from each other, they could bond over the pictures, videos, and book recommendations they shared, while keeping each other strong and safe from cyberbullies.
They even came up with an acronym, SWANS, to remind others and themselves that no one is ugly or weird:
We are all SWANS!
And they all lived Happily Ever Cyber!