The internet is a powerful tool, and we are constantly being reminded of the need to use it responsibly. Unfortunately, for a 10-month-old baby in the US, one person could not have cared less about the rules.
Little Landon Lee became an internet meme for all of the wrong reasons this month, after someone stole his image and used it for the purposes of a fat-shaming joke.
Mum Jessica Benton was left horrified when a stranger took an image of Landon from her Instagram page, then created a meme referring to him as ‘Stuff Curry’ – a play on words referencing basketball player Stephen ‘Steph’ Curry.
The image quickly went viral, with more and more social media users sharing the meme and adding their jokes and laughter to the mix – at Landon’s expense.
Naturally shocked at the cruelty of the situation, Jessica reached out to the person who created the meme and was left frustrated when he blocked her. When she proceeded to report the incident to the powers that be at Facebook, they informed her that nothing could be done because no rules had been breached.
In an interview with Buzzfeed.com, Jessica revealed just why this case of online bullying was one hundred times more traumatic – she lost her 20-year-old son to suicide while she was pregnant with Landon, and he had been bullied throughout his life.
“I want to protect my children probably 100 times more than the average mum because our family has been affected by suicide, one of the worst things a family can go through. I don’t want another child hurt,” she said.
So, when placed between a rock and a hard place, Jessica decided to take a unique approach to her son’s shaming: she embraced the name and resolved to use Landon’s platform in a positive way.
Now, she told Buzzfeed, people contact her telling her that images of Landon have ‘brightened their day’ and inspired them along their own bullying journeys.
There is no doubt that Jessica is one incredibly strong woman to take the high road, but she did go on to share an important message with anyone reading.
“You never know how deeply your words can affect somebody else, people have no filter online and it’s really sad. I hope that when Landon gets older he stands up for other people who are bullied,” she said.
What are your thoughts on how Jessica dealt with this traumatic situation?