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"Cyber Bullying"

MedTechStudent

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So I was watching Global News just now and there was a story about the severity of "Cyber Bullying."  I don't have any links because I just wanted to discuss this in general. 

In my personal opinion, I think that kids are mean to each other, and that the internet is just a different way to act as such.  What I don't understand is how it happens!  They are saying on the news that kids are getting teased and pestered and such online, well stay off ****ing facebook!  Like from what I see in my sister(14), and her network of friends, people that age love going online and stirring up problems with others.  Facebook/ MSN/ Myspace are just ways to start confrontations without having to be there in person to handle the immediate ramifications.  Its immature, and its cowardly to put others down online yes, and I am greatly opposed to it. 

However, some of the fault has to fall upon the "victims".  If you are getting rude or hurtful messages online, block the bloody sender.  If it gets to be too much, delete your soddin' facebook acount.  People like to have the option of saying what ever they want to others online, but then get all shocked and shaken when someone says something back. 
You don't have to read those "hurtful messages", you choose to open the mail.  If its marked "I hate YOu Go Die ROFL!" that might be a good hint that its full of things you don't want to read.  I just don't see how online harassment can be as (if not more) hurtful that physical/ verbal abuse.  And thats how they are making it sound.  You have a choice to read it, always.  Its not like real life where you can't turn your eyes off to what people say right in front of you.

Everyone enjoys being equal online, but some people love to take that and twist it into immature and hurtful power struggles and ego trips.  They say here on the News that kids are committing suicide over this, its unbelievable that youth is either so sensitive or so hurtful that they take their own lives over a bloody Facebook group. 

I mean has "Internet Bullying" not been around forever?  Since the internet began?  What is going on that leaves the doors open so wide for harassment.  Is the ease of which personal information is acquired setting young kids up for abuse?  Is social networking doing more harm then good, making more enemies than friends?  Is it truly more entertaining for teenagers to be hurtful online that friendly?  What do you guys think?

I worry about young people, because I was 14 not long ago at all.  What are your thoughts on this issue?

I would be very interested to here specifically from any parents who have young teenage kids, who may have an opinion on Online chatting and networking.

Cheers, Kyle
 

Spanky

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Cyber-bullying is a serious problem, and you bring up a lot of discussion points.  As in any other form of bullying, there are different degrees.  Often times, the bullying is more than just a nasty message sent between a victim and a bully.  You're probably right - just block that individual.  There are many times when the bullying goes well beyond that level.  There have been situations where a bully will use someone "friendly" to the victim and log in as that person.  The victim thinks they are talking to the friend when in fact the bully is getting ammo to use.  Three way calling occurs when the victim doesn't know there is a third person - the bully.  Web-sites and blogs have been established by bullies where individuals or groups are victimized.  It can be pretty serious. 
 

Zell_Dietrich

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There is also a problem with cyber bullying against teachers. Imagine getting back at that jerk teacher by sending death threats, or getting them attached to your fictional charachter and then embarassing them. (Bart Simpson did this)

The cyber bullying problem extends far beyond stirring up trouble.  There have been sites entirely dedicated to photoshoping pictures of a student and degrading them.

This is another tool for bullying,  and current laws aren't really equipped to deal with the particular wrongs that can be committed in this medium.  The laws need to be updated.
 

Jorkapp

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The trouble with the internet is jurisdiction issues. If a 14-year old were to grab a megaphone and start spewing hate-speech directed towards one person for the sake of gathering a crowd of people to hate this person, one could almost guarantee that there would be involvement from higher authorities. On the 'net, you can do just that, and no one can touch you. It's far too easy for that person to argue that it wasn't done in school, and thus the school authorities have no right to touch them, thus leaving the victim to take more drastic and time/money consuming measures such as taking the offender to court. Few have the time or money, so in essence, it's getting away with murder.

It seems with this avenue, schoolyard scuffs have turned into psychological warfare. I can remember a few occasions of being in front of the principal for having a verbal argument with someone, and it was dealt with in 10 minutes, simply because they had the right to tell us to shut up and get along, or else face a few days off school each. Now, these kids are coming out of high-school trained for a career in PSYOPS - Stalking on social networks, data mining, directed attacks, et. al. They've got the tools, they've got the training, shame they're being used in such destructive matters.

This is definitely a case of being in over our heads. We have a massive source of information and resources which we have few ways to regulate, and no way to get rid of. We're going to have to find solutions, or learn to live with it.
 

MedTechStudent

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It seams to me, that the biggest problem with harassment on the internet, specifically on Facebook and Myspace, is that the words are there for the world to see.  Any insult, comment, or cruel joke is there forever, for new people to stumble across and take in.
 

Spanky

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AEC Kapp said:
The trouble with the internet is jurisdiction issues. If a 14-year old were to grab a megaphone and start spewing hate-speech directed towards one person for the sake of gathering a crowd of people to hate this person, one could almost guarantee that there would be involvement from higher authorities. On the 'net, you can do just that, and no one can touch you. It's far too easy for that person to argue that it wasn't done in school, and thus the school authorities have no right to touch them, thus leaving the victim to take more drastic and time/money consuming measures such as taking the offender to court. Few have the time or money, so in essence, it's getting away with murder.

It seems with this avenue, schoolyard scuffs have turned into psychological warfare. I can remember a few occasions of being in front of the principal for having a verbal argument with someone, and it was dealt with in 10 minutes, simply because they had the right to tell us to shut up and get along, or else face a few days off school each. Now, these kids are coming out of high-school trained for a career in PSYOPS - Stalking on social networks, data mining, directed attacks, et. al. They've got the tools, they've got the training, shame they're being used in such destructive matters.

This is definitely a case of being in over our heads. We have a massive source of information and resources which we have few ways to regulate, and no way to get rid of. We're going to have to find solutions, or learn to live with it.

There have been cases where the school has been able to deal with the issue even though it may not have been done on a school computer.  There was an incident of cyber-bullying in my class a couple of years ago, and the bully was suspended, since it affected what was going on in the room. 
 

VM

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I agree that there are forms of cyber bullying, and bullying in general, which are serious issues that need to be addressed. But bullying on facebook or myspace? I just think who really cares, its not nice, but its not a huge deal in my eyes. Kids will be kids, and often times kids are mean cause kids only think about themselves. Lets fess up people, most of you thought the world revolved around you in high school, i know i sure did. Physical violence is a serious issue, but being really mean to a kid, or saying mean things to that kid? i say get over it (simply because everyone gets bullied at some point, and everyone gets over it pretty quickly, at least after highschool.)

My point is kids are mean, you'll never get rid of that so let the parents and teachers do their job the best they can. If a kid who gets bullied at school is going on facebook and becoming friends with the bullies then he/she is kinda digging their own grave.
 

dukkadukka

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VM said:
I agree that there are forms of cyber bullying, and bullying in general, which are serious issues that need to be addressed. But bullying on facebook or myspace? I just think who really cares, its not nice, but its not a huge deal in my eyes. Kids will be kids, and often times kids are mean cause kids only think about themselves. Lets fess up people, most of you thought the world revolved around you in high school, i know i sure did. Physical violence is a serious issue, but being really mean to a kid, or saying mean things to that kid? i say get over it (simply because everyone gets bullied at some point, and everyone gets over it pretty quickly, at least after highschool.)

My point is kids are mean, you'll never get rid of that so let the parents and teachers do their job the best they can. If a kid who gets bullied at school is going on facebook and becoming friends with the bullies then he/she is kinda digging their own grave.

I disagree in a way... Just... maybe last year a group of girls created an account of a boy and pretended to "like" this one girl, even the mother was in on it, sending her emails saying how much "he" loved her and then out of no where the mother AND teenage girls wrote an email breaking up with her, saying "I wish you would just die".  The girl killed herself.
It's a huge problem in my mind, teenagers are impulsive.  Their frontal lobes are not fully developed and it leads to impulsive, rash decision making.  Depression is a HUGE thing for teenagers and cyber bullying can contribute to that. 
Speaking from my own experience I was very depressed as a teenager, which lead to many horrible decisions.  Though I was never bullied, and the gal sticking up for those who were bullied... it seemed that everything was pretty rough.  Now that I'm older, I realize that I had life MADE.  I was a National caliber hockey player, had good grades, was pretty and had a ton of friends... but that doesn't hide the fact that teenagers problems are larger in scale than the actual problems are. 
AS a female, bullying is far more an issue than male bullying.  Male bullying is physical violence... where female bullying is based on word warfare, pushing someone out of a group, using their words to  manipulate and destroy a young girls confidence.  This can be done on the internet, BUT I do agree with MedTechStudent referring to, just deleting facebook/myspace or the like.  You can stop the internet based attacks by just staying off.  It doesn't mean that the problems will disappear (Face to face bullying in schools, or things being said about you online and you are not there to defend) but solely the responsibility does lie with the parents to be very attentive to their children.  Monitoring what goes on online and in real life.  The sad reality is that not many parents pay that much attention to their children. 
 

MedTechStudent

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I blame the internet.  Because we really do live in a world where meeting someone online and "falling in love" with them happens.  I mean with the exception of some very reputable online dating sites (no I've never used one) I can't imagine how people can commit to that.  I mean the fact that like you said, teenagers get so involved and attached with someone just from talking to them online, is unhealthy and leads to this kind of thing.  So that girl who killed herself should probably of had the common sense, if not the parental guidance to know better.  I mean I really can never say I know someone until I've been with them in person, for that very reason.  You really don't know who anyone is online, there are a lot of 45 year old male "girls" out there and its scary.  As I said the fact that we live in a world where its socially acceptable (at least for teens) to meet, talk, date, break up all without ever seeing the person, is insane.  In my opinion of course.

Cheers, Kyle 
 

dukkadukka

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MedTechStudent said:
I blame the internet.  Because we really do live in a world where meeting someone online and "falling in love" with them happens.  I mean with the exception of some very reputable online dating sites (no I've never used one) I can't imagine how people can commit to that.  I mean the fact that like you said, teenagers get so involved and attached with someone just from talking to them online, is unhealthy and leads to this kind of thing.  So that girl who killed herself should probably of had the common sense, if not the parental guidance to know better.  I mean I really can never say I know someone until I've been with them in person, for that very reason.  You really don't know who anyone is online, there are a lot of 45 year old male "girls" out there and its scary.  As I said the fact that we live in a world where its socially acceptable (at least for teens) to meet, talk, date, break up all without ever seeing the person, is insane.  In my opinion of course.

Cheers, Kyle 

Hey Hey Hey now... Don't knock the internet dating  ;D I've been there... I dated and moved in with someone I met online for 2 years... You can meet decent people online if you're careful and very good at screening.  It's nice for us loner types who don't really meet people in the real world cause we're socially inept!! Though I wouldn't recommend it for friggen teenagers... but for adults who lack basic social skills (ie. small talk, initiating conversation and maintaining it) it's actually a value. Though I do agree that you cannot make a full evaluation without actual meeting and actual contact...

I know the situation I brought up, the teenager who killed herself had a "falling out" with the girls who created this "boy" and the mother of one of the girls sent messages to the girl from the made up account.  I also believe she was charged.
 

MedTechStudent

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dukkadukka said:
Hey Hey Hey now... Don't knock the internet dating  ;D I've been there... I dated and moved in with someone I met online for 2 years... You can meet decent people online if you're careful and very good at screening.  It's nice for us loner types who don't really meet people in the real world cause we're socially inept!! Though I wouldn't recommend it for friggen teenagers... but for adults who lack basic social skills (ie. small talk, initiating conversation and maintaining it) it's actually a value. Though I do agree that you cannot make a full evaluation without actual meeting and actual contact...

I know the situation I brought up, the teenager who killed herself had a "falling out" with the girls who created this "boy" and the mother of one of the girls sent messages to the girl from the made up account.  I also believe she was charged.

It helps that you're an adult.  A 20 something year old using a online dating service is much safer that a 14 year old meeting a random new msn buddy.  And I'm sure lots of successful relationships start online, and some end in terrible ways.  I just don't like young teenagers doing it. 

My theory, is that there is no fear.  Its easy to engage other people online, because there is no fear of rejection or embarrassment.  So for a 14ish year old, its easier to try to establish a relationship that way.  But the over-reaction it can cause(suicide) is not worth the risk in my opinion.  Not to mention the added risk of that person you're talking to being someone completely different from who they claim to be.

Its a tough topic really.  Lot of stuff comes into account. 

EDIT:  I would have had the mother locked up for pulling that stunt.  Thats disgusting behavior from an adult, and a parent at that.
 

Spanky

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It just doesn't happen in high school.  Elementary school has it's problems as well.  Not going on facebook, or msn, or myspace etc is not always the answer.  Often times the victim may be bullied through rumour, gossip and whatnot.  They can spread these rumours to the entire world with the victim hearing about from third parties.  Telling someone to "get over it" really minimizes the problem and the effect it has on adolescents.
 

SprCForr

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Cyber Bullying. Been around the block on that issue. Twice.

In the experiences I went through it wasn't as straight forward as "DiE you Peeeg!!!111one!eleven!11" particularly when dealing with preteen/teen girls. Screenshots became my best friend along with logging all the text in those MSN things. The kids at school usually know who's up to no good and in the course of talking with them they'd let slip with something.

Anyway, long story short: Got all the threats captured and who was making them. With the help of the authorities, nonsense ends.
 

geo

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I dunno....
When I was growing up, there was plenty of "in your face" bullying
So it's migrated to the cybersphere..... t'was bound to happen.
Doesn't make it any better but, kids are mean and self centered at the best of time.
 

Spanky

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geo said:
I dunno....
When I was growing up, there was plenty of "in your face" bullying
So it's migrated to the cybersphere..... t'was bound to happen.
Doesn't make it any better but, kids are mean and self centered at the best of time.
I totally agree.  But for some reason it seems to have a greater effect on the victims than the "in your face" form.  Maybe it's the cowardice of the bully hiding behind a computer screen, or the fact that once it's on the net, it's there for ever, or it could be that the manifestation spreads like wildfire to all of the victim's peer group.  And it does seem to occur most often with girls.  I've seen some kids who were pretty devasted by what was going on.  One of my students a couple of years ago was suicidal over what she experienced.  She is fine now and much stronger after the experience, but it was a rough go for awhile.
The strategies suggested by SprCForr are really effective and are what the police suggested as well.
 

SprCForr

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Those logs and screen shots were worth their weight in gold. It rocked back every person who read them. There was always some initial level of skepticism(?) when the discussion starts, but it sure got serious after reading them. I had a real urge to do the me/father/man thing and go pounding on the door, but that would have been the worst thing I could've done. Instead I got real calculating and started gathering int. I talked to everyone I thought who may remotely know anything and managed to fit the puzzle together. Once I did that, every level (RCMP, school, school board, bus company) immediately took over and dealt with the guilty parties appropriately. After it was over I have to confess that I got more relief (and, frankly, satisfaction too) than if I had gone over with "blood in my eye."

I learned that it hits girls in the self confidence and worth department really hard. As a male, I had some difficulty in relating how exactly girls go about bullying each other. Mrs SprCForr had quite a few discussions with me and schooled me on the reality of teen girls. One of the best "Dad" things I could have done was getting the kids into martial arts. That paid off in spades in building the self confidence, physical abilities, and their mental well being. I see the "new" outlook they have and I'm happy that they're back to enjoying school etc.

Plan, be thorough, and keep your ears open. Don't go off half-cocked. Build the paper trail. (How many times have we heard that as staff?!)

The kid who was guilty in this case, turned around and did the same thing to another a few months later. The target was a kid of one of the parents I had talked to earlier, and they in turn knew exactly what to do.
 

JimMorrison19

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I find what I'm about to say isn't the same, but is similar; it's general harassment instead of bullying (if you define them differently).

I work in a call center taking incoming calls, and I can say from three months experience that people can and will be just as rude because of the semi-anonymity of the phone as they will over the internet - everything from hanging up on you in the midst of helping them to informing you that your company's competitive pricing is illegal because it's more than they happened to pay a year ago for the same place. You regularly get people that are pretty ignorant and snotty with a tendency to see how much they can push you if they aren't getting exactly what they want.

It isn't just that, either. I've seen a lot of instances where people will take time to make you look like a fool in a chat room just because you disagreed with them or there was something about your internet character they didn't like. I'm still participating in a few IRC servers that have this issue, but unfortunately the ops are sometimes the attackers. Same thing with some online games; degrade, undermine, exploit. It doesn't occur as much in games that are well-policed and have strong regulations. I've seen and heard some issues with my sister and actually stepped in at one point when she was getting harassed by a "friend" online. Girls seem to make it awfully obvious when they're trying to bully you or try and make you look bad or offend you - I actually had a friend once who assaulted me online one night, and even though she sat right next to me in class, wouldn't talk or so much as look at me even during class projects, and to this day I still don't know what the deal was. But that's stereotyping, and guys can really be just as bad.

My conclusion from my own experiences and listening to and/or reading others is that it's not necessarily a teenager that can do it - people of any age will be rude to you and cause trouble for you if it seems to get them some attention. As a person who likes to think he's got some ability to delve into psychology, it really seems like people act as they are on the internet and phone because they can get away with things that are suppressed in their every day lives and has that urge to do otherwise, just to see what happens when they don't do what they'd normally do as the "proper" or "appropriate" thing. It doesn't help in customer service situations that the company you work for wants to always be as nice and submissive as possible - the more you do that, the more people will try and walk all over you - but that's not quite the matter.
 
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