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Film: Cyberbully
Words can hurt.

"I can't get the cap off!"
— Taylor (Emily Osment)
[Delete] Digital Drama note 

Cyberbully is a 2011 Made-for-TV Movie starring Emily Osment. It is a Ripped from the Headlines story about a girl named Taylor who is bullied online after offending a classmate.

The film was made by ABC Family and the magazine Seventeen. They began a campaign against cyber-bullying and released online "badges" that can be added to profiles on sites like Facebook. The "badges" read "[delete] digital drama".

The film has earned minor internet fame. The base is divided between a dedicated Fandom, which is very glad that the movie deals with bullying and raises awareness while occasionally featuring great acting, and an equally active community of detractors who criticize it due to it featuring a combination of possible Critical Research Failure, New Media Are Evil and what is seen by an important part of the base as Narm.


This film contains examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: Lindsay.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Eric, to Taylor.
    • Probably a Deconstruction, as he goes from annoying to irresponsible to the point it might endanger his sister's well-being... because she refused to lend him her computer.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The solution to cyberbullying is apparently to monitor every single computer and make trolling illegal.
    • As mentioned in Critical Research Failure, it would not only be extremely expensive and time consuming, it would also be infringing on various privacy laws as well. So it's pretty probable that they wouldn't even bother with it.
    • Mitigated by the fact the politician says he will try to pass a legislation making verbal harassment on the internet illegal. Which basically means that reporting insults made somewhere on the internet to the police office like the mother tries to would be constructive. It would just cause prosecution for repeated, willingly insulting comments about a minor, given they are reported, and their existence is proved, and the case would most probably be brushed away by the judge as a stupid feud between teenage girls unless one of them's sexual orientation or her ethnic origin are invoked.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Samantha, who pretends to be a boy online to lure her best friend Taylor in, and then spreads rumors about her. She regrets it later on after realizing the damage she's caused.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Lindsay's bitchiness to Taylor is retaliation for a comment Taylor made in Health Class that Lindsay assumed was directed at her. It wasn't.
  • Driven to Suicide: Taylor tries to kill herself by overdosing on aspirin, but is stopped when she's unable to get the childproof cap off.
  • Easily Forgiven: Samantha. Seriously, after setting up a fake student account, flirting with Taylor, and breaking her heart like that, it's a little hard to imagine that Taylor would just take her back like that.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: For all her evilness Lindsay's group of friends includes a Latino, black and Asian which is more diverse than the protagonist's close circle.
  • Freudian Trio : Cheyenne as Id, Taylor as Ego and Samantha as Superego
  • Hypocrite: Played Straight with Lindsay, who lashes out because of the anger caused by a misdirected comment from Taylor, but then bullies her and all the people who have nothing to do with this story, but of whom she can easily make fun, despite the fact that, for some of them, they had common enemies and she had no reason to hate them, but she goes along remorslessly because that's the trend, nicely proving both how self-centered and shallow she is.
  • If You Taunt Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Arguably a secondary message of the film. Discussed during the support group.
  • Jerk Ass: The Alpha Bitch and her father are rather laughable examples due to their portrayal.
    • Although it is realistic in that they never get a real comeuppance and Taylor's speech involves five people and a ten-second long applauding before Lindsay tells them to go and regains her status, still being followed by her friends, and getting some gossip as there probably were before exchanged about her. Also, it is revealed that they may have a Freudian Excuse, and the father reacts as most parents would, except for the way he says what he says. Plus take Evil + Teenage Girl + Popularity + Internet, and you've got Lindsay in Real Life.
  • Life Imitates Art: Emily Osment, who plays Taylor Hillridge, was bullied on her twitter account. The story went a different road because she is a teenage popstar, and has better repartee than her character (who already wasn't stupid). Just read this : [1].
  • Lifetime Movie of the Week: It's an ABC Family movie, but it fits the formula.
  • Memetic Mutation: The "I can't get the cap off!" scene.
  • Moral Dissonance: The apparent happy ending is to monitor every computer at all times so that even good-natured ribbing of others is considered illegal. Does this remind you of anything?
    • Not to mention that they ignore the Unfortunate Implications.
    • It likely could have worked like harassment cases in real life: if a minor reports being harassed maliciously and repeatedly, then they would have some legal standing to stop it, even if it was "just" online. That wouldn't require monitoring at all.
  • New Media Are Evil: Probably the reason why there's so much Critical Research Failure.
  • Recycled Premise: The film shares a few too many similarities to the 2010 film Easy A. Notably it stars a previously-invisible everygirl who becomes well known to her school primarily for being a supposed slut (who's actually a virgin) based on rumours started by a local Alpha Bitch and an old friend, who ends up falling out with her because of this Slut Shaming; she has a gay friend who gets similar bullying because of his homosexuality that's been going on far longer than her bullying but she doesn't really sympathise with him until she sees how badly the homophobia hurts him, she's got a crush on an attractive nice guy who doesn't believe the things people say about her and, in the end, stays by her side, but before that she meets a seemingly nice guy who's really two-faced and makes the situation worse (and in Cyberbully's case, isn't really a guy). And, in both films, the protagonist makes a video that the school watches after having an emotional breakdown of sorts. While the details of the tropes and such are different, the film's got more than a fare-share of similarities.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The film was inspired by the many stories of young people committing suicide after they are bullied online.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Taylor wants to date a football player.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Tries to do this with the bullies, that they will blindly and savagely switch targets in the blink of an eye (shown as the gossip and lies stop featuring Taylor and start featuring Sam, after they find out what the latter had done).
  • Teens Are Short: All the main characters are about One Head Shorter than the adults.
  • Totally Radical: The teenagers in the movie use a lot of slang that teens in real life stopped using LONG before the movie was made. Among these slang terms used are "bling" and "the clap".
    • At the end, when the word is getting around via texts that Taylor and her friends told Lindsay off, one of the responses that can be seen is "That's fab!"
  • TV Teen: So much.


Crazy Stupid LoveFilms of the 2010sA Dangerous Method

alternative title(s): Cyberbully
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