A 13-year-old boy who was bullied for having a book review Instagram account has gained 361K followers.
The internet isn’t always the kindest place. 13-year-old Callum Manning from South Shields found that out the hard way when the book review Instagram account he was running became a target for online bullying. Students at his new school saw the Instagram account and started a group chat to make fun of it and, by extension, him. For added cruelty, they then added Callum to the chat so that he could see what they were saying about him.
But, in spite of stories like this, the internet can also be pretty wonderful. After finding out what happened, Callum’s sister Ellis took to Twitter to lament the cruelty of the kids who were bullying her brother. She tweeted that she couldn’t believe “how awful kids are”, and said that the bullies had been calling her brother a “creep” and mocking him for the account and his love of books.
That tweet ended up making the rounds though, and it currently has 24.5K retweets and 189K likes.
But going viral isn’t where this story ends. Her tweet has been seen by some big names, and since posting at the end of last month it has had responses from #Merky Books, Neil Gaiman, and Malorie Blackman, to name just a few. Callum has also been offered free books from authors including Matt Haig, and theatre tickets from the Shakespeare’s Globe Twitter account.
Not only that, but Callum’s Instagram account went from having only a few followers to having 361K. They’re very active followers too, with hundreds and sometimes thousands of people commenting on every post. They act as a great antidote to the bullies who tried to trample his spirit, by flooding his account with messages of support and encouragement.
This seems to have acted as a great motivational force. In the past couple of weeks Callum has been flying through the books, and posted pictures of The Hobbit, a selection of Roald Dahl classics, and one of my personal favourites, The Book Thief.
One of his most recent posts was a picture of Callum at the Waterstones in Gateshead holding a bag full of books. In the caption, he thanks the shop for letting him and his sister choose some books for free – so we will certainly see more posts from Callum in the coming months.
Image credit: Unsplash