Who is Jessi Slaughter?
Jessi Slaughter is the screen name of an 11-year-old girl who became the victim of extreme cyberbullying after she posted several provocative videos of herself on YouTube and other social networks. Schoolmates and other Web users accused her of having sex with a member of a band she was a fan of and attacked her with a barrage of mocking, hateful posts. She fired back with horrifically graphic and angry language in several videos where she screams, cries, and rages at her "haters."
In one video, the girl's father is in the background screaming at the camera as well. Unfortunately, some of his rough-hewn comments ("Ya dun goofed!" and "The consequences will never be the same!") and betrayal of complete lack of Internet know-how (telling the screen the "cyber police" are coming to get them and so forth) has made this video a viral meme and the subject of countless remixes and parodies.
According to Jessi, "I don't really get along with people from school that much," she said. "They don't like me because they see me and they think I'm weird." 1 Since getting along with friends from school was difficult, most of her social life happened online at sites like Stickam and Sticky Drama. There, she chatted with other users and posted videos and images of herself. Most of her original posts have since been removed, but allegedly, her posts bragged that she was cooler, better, and prettier than everyone else.
The video of Jessi and her father went viral almost instantly. The video was posted to FAIL Blog on July 16, 2010, under the heading "Understanding of Internet FAIL," and from there it spread to hundreds of other sites and blogs. 2 After less than a week online, the quotes (especially "Ya dun goofed!") became popular memes, inspiring remixes and parodies all over YouTube and the Web in general.
As the videos of Jessi began to spread, users on the sites 4chan and Anonymous got ahold of the video and decided to find Jessi's real-life whereabouts. They began harassing the family by making incessant prank calls, sometimes pretending to be the police. The family also received unwanted deliveries. The taunting and abuse online got worse as well, and Jessi found herself drowning in the assaults of schoolmates and strangers alike from all over the nation and world.
Jessi was temporarily taken into custody by mental health professionals, but was released shortly thereafter. She is receiving counseling and has been the subject of widespread media coverage, which she appears to be enjoying.
Concerns for Parents
- These videos are getting a lot of buzz, but they contain highly inappropriate content, as some of Jessi's comments are extremely graphic, such as Jessi detailing a morbid death. She ends the video by giving the camera the middle finger and then blowing a kiss.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe?
- Talk to your children about cyberbullying and do not let them become involved in either side of the equation! Be sure they know what is and is not appropriate to post online so that they can prevent becoming victims and so they will never, ever cyberbully someone else.
- As parents, be aware and involved. You can monitor web activity and know what sites your child is visiting, what material is available, and the attitude of that site's main participants.
- Warn you children to use the internet appropriately and not overhsare. Posting too much information, or innapropriate information, such as sexually provocative images, can make you an easy target for online predators and cyberbullies.
Where Can I Learn More?
Read this article covering the entire sequence of events related to the Jessi Slaughter videos.
Here's another samplng of the news coverage the story has received.