Cyberbully (2011 film)

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Promotional poster
Written byTeena Booth
Directed byCharles Binamé
StarringEmily Osment
Kay Panabaker
Kelly Rowan
Theme music composerJames Gelfand
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Jesse Prupas
Editor(s)Simon Webb
Running time87 minutes
DistributorMuse Entertainment Enterprises
Original releaseJuly 17, 2011 (2011-07-17)

Cyberbully (stylized cyberbu//y) is a television film that premiered on July 17, 2011 on ABC Family. ABC Family collaborated with Seventeen magazine to make the film, and hopes the film will "delete digital drama". The film tells the story of a teenage girl who is bullied online.[1] The film was released on DVD on February 7, 2012.


Taylor Hillridge (Emily Osment) is a teenage girl who is being raised by her single mother, Kris (Kelly Rowan), along with her younger brother, Eric (Robert Naylor), living in St. Louis, Missouri. She is close friends with two other girls, Samantha Caldone (Kay Panabaker) and Cheyenne Mortenson (Meaghan Rath). Earlier, Taylor made a seemingly innocuous comment to one of her classmates, Lindsay Fordyce (Nastassia Markiewicz), to which Lindsay took great offense.

She receives a computer for her seventeenth birthday from her mom. At first, Taylor is excited by the independence of going online without her mother always watching her. Meanwhile, her crush, Scott asks her to the dance, to which she says yes. Cheyenne is happy for her, but Samantha does not like Scott because she previously went out with his friend, who later dumped her after he had sex with her. Taylor soon finds herself the victim of cyberbullying when she becomes a member of a social website named Cliquesters.

Things begin to go wrong when Taylor's brother, Eric, hacks into her account and writes "I'm a naughty girl, somebody should spank me" on her profile, having been angry at her when she refused to let him use the laptop. She condemns him for the hacking and Eric is then severely punished by Kris. Students at school write horrid comments about her and she becomes afraid to face her friends at school. Taylor also meets a guy named James online and thinks he is just being nice, but winds up spreading a rumor that Taylor slept with him and ended up giving him "the clap". Taylor gets pegged as a "slut" and "whore" as a result of the bullying. The abuse that Taylor receives from the hands of her schoolmates pushes her to a breaking point. Scott also tells Taylor that he cannot take her to the dance because of an excuse that obviously sounds made up (that his mother is forcing him to take another girl) and Cheyenne and Samantha begin to turn their backs on Taylor.

Overcome with depression, Taylor posts a video online saying that she can no longer live with herself. Samantha sees this and quickly goes to Taylor's house and finds her trying to commit suicide by overdosing with pills, but cannot get the cap off; in the ensuing scuffle, the pill bottle spills on the floor, scattering pills over the bathroom floor. Taylor is then sent to a hospital. Taylor's mom learns from the incident and takes on the school system and state legislation to prevent others from going through the same problem as her daughter. Taylor's mom recommends that she go to a support group and get help. Meanwhile, Samantha finds Scott at a cafe and insults him for leaving Taylor. Taylor finds that Caleb, one of her classmates who is gay, is going through the same exact thing, only he is targeted for his sexuality. Taylor finds support in the group and deals with the bullying much better. Samantha confesses to Taylor that she was the one who created the "James" profile and set Taylor up. Samantha feels guilty and becomes a victim of cyberbullying herself. Taylor finds out about this and tells her about her support group and eventually forgives Samantha, rekindling their friendship.

Samantha and Taylor return to school, where they are quickly teased by Lindsay in the cafeteria. Samantha urges Taylor to ignore her, but Taylor does the opposite and confronts Lindsay, calling her out for her online abuse. Scott, Cheyenne and Caleb appear and side with Taylor, condemning Lindsay for her bullying. Their actions are received well with other students present in the cafeteria, who spread the word about Taylor's courage and Lindsay's misdeeds, eroding Lindsay's support within the student body. Meanwhile, the state legislature passes a bill criminalizing cyberbullying, which is then signed into law in honor of Taylor and all victims of bullying.


  • Emily Osment as Taylor Hillridge, the main protagonist. A 17-year-old girl who gets her own laptop computer for her birthday.
  • Kay Panabaker as Samantha Caldone, Taylor's best friend.
  • Kelly Rowan as Kris Hillridge, Taylor's mother. She divorced her husband three months ago.
  • Jon McLaren as Scott Ozsik, Taylor's crush.
  • Meaghan Rath as Cheyenne Mortenson, Taylor's friend.
  • Nastassia Markiewicz as Lindsay Fordyce, the main antagonist and the queen bee at Taylor's high school. She constantly harasses people online.
  • Jade Hassouné as Caleb. He is a gay student at Taylor's school, and is also a victim of cyberbullying.
  • Robert Naylor as Eric Hillridge, Taylor's brother.


The film received a generally positive review from Common Sense Media, who gave the film a 4 out of 5 star rating, stating "Cyberbully is a great jumping-off point for talking to teens about the very real dangers that exist online. The movie does a good job of working in most of the hot-button issues related to this topic, including the anonymity that exists online, the legal loopholes that enable cyberbullying, the social pressure on teens to partake in digital relationships, and the emotional devastation that bullying inflicts on its victims and their families."[2]

Cyberbully gained 3.4 million views on its official release date. It was TV's number one telecast for the 8-10 p.m. time slot and became the week's number one TV film, and the second most viewed TV film of the 2010 and 2011 season.[3] The film has gained popularity in recent years through online streaming, with an unofficial upload of the film on YouTube having amassed over 79 million views.


ABC Family created "badges" that people could add to their profile pictures on sites like Twitter and Facebook; the badge says "[delete] digital drama!".[4]

On July 14, 2011, ABC Family hosted a live event called "The Rally to Delete Digital Drama" in Glendale, California. The rally included appearances from Shay Mitchell, Tyler Blackburn, Daren Kagasoff, Skyler Samuels, Grey Damon, Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, Emily Osment, and more. Emily Osment performed her song "Drift", as well as other songs. There was also an autograph signing and gift giveaways.[5]


Emily Osment released a song called "Drift" which was featured in the film. It was released on July 12, 2011. The movie also features "Breathe Me" by Sia. TV spots of the movie contain the song "Perfect" by Pink.

Awards and nominations

Award Year Category Recipient Result Source
Prism Awards 2012 Best TV Movie or Miniseries Cyberbully Nominated [6]
Best TV Movie Performance Emily Osment Won [6]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special – Supporting Young Actor Robert Naylor Nominated
Canadian Society of Cinematographers Best Cinematography in TV Drama Pierre Gill Nominated
Directors Guild of Canada Direction - Television Movie/Mini-Series Charles Binamé Nominated
Canadian Screen Award 2013 Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Series Kelly Rowan Nominated
Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series Charles Binamé Nominated
Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series Teena Booth Nominated
Best Dramatic Mini-Series or TV Movie Michael Prupas, Jesse Prupas, Joel S. Rice Nominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series Emily Osment Won

See also


  1. ^ Jacobs, Tom (2011-06-30). "Don't miss ABC's Family movie "Cyberbu//y" on July 17th, 2011". Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  2. ^ Ashby, Emily. "Cyberbully - Television Review". Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  3. ^ Seidman, Robert (2011-07-19). "ABC Family Original Movie 'Cyberbully' is Week's No. 1 TV Movie Across Key Demos and No. 2 Movie of the 2010/11 Season in Females 12-34 - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Archived from the original on 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  4. ^ "ABC Family - Cyberbully - Delete Digital Drama". Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  5. ^ "Rally to Delete Digital Drama". 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  6. ^ a b "EIC Announces Nominations for 16th Annual PRISM Awards Including Performances by Claire Danes, Tommy Lee Jones, Nick Nolte, Helen Mirren, and Russell Brand". Retrieved 2013-07-21.

External links