The video is heartbreaking to watch. And yet with the distressing cries of Quaden Bayles, nine, it’s hard not to be affected by it.
By posting the video to Facebook, Quaden’s mom Yarraka Bayles wanted to highlight the effects of bullying after her son suffered at the hands of other school kids.
Little Quaden was born with Achondroplasia, a form of Dwarfism. Yarraka explained in the video that he was constantly bullied for his disability.
"I’ve just picked up my son from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal, and I want people [to] know, parents, educators teachers, this is the effects that bullying has, this is what bullying does," the mom from Brisbane, Australia, said.
The video has since gone viral and attracted the attention of comedian Brad Williams who also has Dwarfism.
"I’m setting up this GoFundMe to let Quaden know that bullying will not be tolerated and that he is a wonderful human being who deserves joy. I want to fly Quaden and his mother to America, get them a nice hotel and bring them to Disneyland," he wrote on the GoFundMe page.
His aim was to to raise enough money to send Quaden and his mom Yarraka to Disneyland.
"This isn’t just for Quaden, this is for anyone who has been bullied in their lives and told they weren’t good enough. Let’s show Quaden and others, that there is good in the world and they are worthy of it," Williams further added.
At the time of writing, the campaign already raised $180 000, overtaking its $10 000 goal.
Quaden’s viral video highlights the ongoing bullying going on around the world, particularly in South Africa.
The country has the highest prevalence of cyberbullying, based on a majority (54 percent) of South African parents who know of a child in their community who has been the victim of cyberbullying, up 24 percentage points from 2011.
This month, the controversial platform TikTok launched family safety mode in a bid to stop concerns about harmful material like the mind-boggling skull breaker challenge.
While the platforms may institute policies, and determine how users should engage or behave on their platforms, there is no guarantee that your children will be safe.
“Not only is there bullying, but also concerning, are children objectifying themselves as they mimic their favourite celebrities, young boys mouthing the words to rough videos. So the question remains, is this even the right platform for kids?”, explained 1st for Women’s Casey Rousseau.
Cyberbully expert and founder of SaveTNet Cyber Safety NPC, Rianette Leibowitz, shares her advice on what parents need to consider.
“It is almost impossible to be clued up on all the various platforms our children are exploring and we do rely on the mainstream media to help stay informed but as parents you can also join groups on social media, attend seminars and also see what educational sessions your children’s schools might be offering. You need to try and stay as informed as possible,” she advised.
Here’s how parents can protect their children in the meantime:
- Tell them what cyberbullying is, what the symptoms are and how to recognise it. Help them to identify and articulate this in their own language.
- Check out the privacy settings, terms and conditions and usage rights of the platforms your children are on.
- Set up a social media or internet usage agreement with your children so that you are both on the same page of what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour.
- Get on to the channels yourself, set up a fake account and try and think like your children in terms of the content or things they would be interested in following. But do not use this tactic to try and infiltrate their world. Rather ask if you can join.
- Understand that even if an account is set to private, and other users cannot see your children, they are still being exposed to the content. So make a call – is this platform a no-no.
- You can also wear pink on February 28 to visually symbolise standing up against all bullying – both online and offline.