TV MOVIE REVIEW: CYBERBULLY (2011)

Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Cast: Emily Osment, Kay Panabaker, Kelly Rowan, Meaghan Rath
Director: Charles Biname

I’m a sucker for teen movies. I still remember when I was a teenager and I said stupid things and did even more stupid things but at the time I thought I made smart, adult decisions. So when I watch a teen do something dumb in a movie I tend to be very sympathetic.

I do have a point to make- the teens in this movie keep making one dumb decision after another, but it’s important to remember when someone is 16, 17, and 18 years old you can’t expect them to always make the right choice. That’s why they need parents to guide them.

Cyberbu//y premiered on ABC Family back in 2011, but in October 2012 I found it on Netflix and watched it. This movie is pretty decent, and I do recommend it. It’s about a 17-year old named Taylor (Osment) who finally gets to have her own laptop and unsupervised time on the internet. Of course the first thing she does is create a profile on a Facebook-esque social network that’s already popular among the students at her high school.

We learn that Taylor, her best friend Samantha, and a third friend Cheyenne are not part of the ‘cool’ clique at school. They are tormented by some Clueless/Mean Girls wannabes who have perfectly styled hair and wear trendy, cutesy skirts and dresses. For the most part, this movie is very predictable. The leader of the Mean Girls wannabes torments Taylor online, and someone at the school creates a fake account and poses as a guy who attends a different school. Taylor makes the mistake of telling this “guy” some personal information and the imposter uses it to create lies abou Taylor. Who is this imposter? My dear, it’s called a twist. You’ll need to watch to find out who it is.

Throughout most of the movie Taylor cries her eyes out to her mom, who orders her to shut down the profile page. To the mom, this makes perfect sense- if you read something online that you don’t like, remove yourself from the situation and move forward. But for a teenager that is not an option, so Taylor continues to obsessively visit her page and read every single nasty comment that someone posts about her. That’s when Mom steps in, finds out the names of the people who started cyberbulling her daughter, and pushes to have state legislation passed that will punish online bullies.

Surprisingly, I found the acting to be pretty solid and very realistic of teenage behavior. If you have a younger teenager this movie may have more of an impact on them compared to teens at the ages of 17 or 18- they’ll probably ignore you instead. I don’t want to be preachy here, but if more parents would teach their children that real life takes place offline then I think more teens wouldn’t put so much importance in social networks where people often become meaner than they would be in person, face-to-face.

Have you seen Cyberbully? What did you think about it?

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