The Facebook Bully
There once was a boy called Sunjay who was 13 years old. His full name was Sunjay Baumann. At school, all his friends were talking about how Facebook was so great. Until then, Sunjay hadn’t been especially interested in computers. He didn’t know very much about them at all. But to stop himself from looking stupid, he sat down at his mother’s computer one afternoon and set up a Facebook account. He signed up using his normal name and was very surprised when he quickly received a message from someone called “Digda”. The name meant nothing to him, but it seemed to be a funny guy. They chatted all afternoon. Suddenly, the other guy wrote a message: “Once upon a time there was a fat man called Sunjay Baumann. Sunjay Baumann was his name, farting loudly was his game!” A smiley face then appeared and laughed at him. Sunjay replied that he didn’t find that funny. A short time later, Sunjay received a text message. It was from the same Digda. He wrote that he would post the attached picture on Facebook if Sunjay didn’t agree to give him 100 euros. Sunjay was to hide the money on the statue in the park in two days’ time at 5 p.m. and then clear off at once. The crazy guy repeated that he was serious and that was the end of the message. Sunjay opened the picture. He couldn’t believe his eyes! The photo showed him coming out of the shower at home yesterday evening, and of course he had no clothes on. How could Digda get this picture? Sunjay realised that someone must have taken the photo from his garden. That meant that Digda had to know where he lived – and it was also obvious that Digda had his mobile number! How else could he have written a text message? They hadn’t swapped phone numbers when they were chatting online. So it must be someone who knew Sunjay.
Sunjay was desperate. What should he do now? He couldn’t ask his mother because he had used her computer without her permission and signed in to Facebook, even though she had always forbidden it. He didn’t have the courage. He began to think. “Where am I supposed to get 100 euros so quickly?!” There was no way he could find a job that quickly and earn the money in two days. He could also ask all of his friends if he could borrow a little money, but then he would have to tell them about everything and that would be unpleasant. It was hopeless! That evening, Sunjay could not get to sleep. He was up all night thinking about what to do. When his alarm went off the next morning, he was exhausted and the last thing he wanted to do was go to school. All he could think about was that he needed 100 euros by the next day. So he decided to put an end to it: “I’ll stand up in front of the class today and explain everything. Maybe someone can help me or offer an idea.” He quickly ate some bread and butter and walked to school. The first lesson was maths with Mr Herrmann. He was nice. He would definitely let Sunjay say something to the class – and so he did.
Sunjay explained what had happened. Although a few people giggled, he kept on track. He said very convincingly that he had even informed the police. This is something that suddenly occurred to him, and he watched very carefully how the others reacted when he said those words. He saw that Fat Peter, someone he had never liked at all, was fidgeting nervously in his chair. Lying, he said that the police already had a strong lead and were hot on the heels of the perpetrator. Fat Peter became more and more nervous, and beads of sweat ran from his forehead. Sunjay was sure that he had found his blackmailer. He wanted to torment him a little more and explained that the police had already said that the offender could expect a severe punishment and would even have to go to jail. Suddenly, Fat Peter cried out and said, stammering, “I, er, I really have to ... go to the toilet.” Peter ran out of the room. Mr Herrmann, who understood some time ago what was happening here, winked at Sunjay and sent him after Peter. Peter had locked himself in the toilet. Sunjay stood in front of the door and said, “The name “Digda” suits you pretty well.” Peter opened the door. Sunjay wanted to kick him in the shin, but he pulled himself together and simply asked, “Why did you do that?” Peter explained that he wanted to feel strong again. Everyone was on his case because he was so fat, and in truth he had no friends to speak of. He only had his computer, where he sat every day eating his favourite doughnuts. Sunjay said, “You could have just asked me if we could do something together one day. I mean, I like eating doughnuts as well.” Fat Peter was very embarrassed. He apologised to Sunjay and invited him to Müller’s bakery in the afternoon for a couple of doughnuts. Sunjay accepted – but only on the condition that Fat Peter deleted the embarrassing photo in front of his eyes.
That evening, Sunjay went back to the computer and deleted his Facebook account.
Benedikt Zundel is in year 5 at Phorms Taunus Campus. Last year he took part in the Hochtaunuskreis district children's literature competition, and his story was placed in the top ten entries. The award ceremony took place on March 18th, 2014 at Bad Homburg district office.