Does It Make Any Difference If Kids Get Bullied Online Or Off?

from the it's-more-fun-when-you-blame-the-technology dept

A new survey from the Pew Internet Project says that one third of US teenagers online have been “cyberbullied”. The kids say they’ve experienced at least one of the following: “having a private e-mail, IM or text messaging forwarded or posted where others could see it, the victim of an aggressive email, IM or text message, having a rumour spread about them online or having an embarrassing photograph posted online without permission.” Without wishing to downplay these incidents, which can certainly be very damaging, they don’t seem particularly different than the sort of bullying kids are subject to in school or elsewhere in the physical world. While there seems to be this desire to look at cyberbullying differently than offline bullying, the implication seems to be that technology is to blame, rather than the bullies. When permanent markers became widely available, allowing bullies to scrawl insults on their victims’ metal lockers with some permanence, where they singled out for scorn or special legislative treatment? Probably not. The point here is that bullying is a problem, no matter where it takes place, or what tools bullies use. Rather than focusing on cyberbullying, the focus should be on combating all forms of bullying, online or off.


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Comments on “Does It Make Any Difference If Kids Get Bullied Online Or Off?”

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18 Comments
dorpus says:

The Mathematics of Dead Children

Judging from the state death registry data I have available:

By far, the biggest killer of children under age 18 is birthing complications. They tend to die less often at 8am and noon, possibly related to shift changes at hospitals. Otherwise, children tend to die from motor vehicle accidents at night, tend to get shot or stabbed to death at 7pm, and tend to drown in the afternoons. 

http://www.mixedasians.com/member_pics/haplotype_1183150923.gif

By season, children tend to die from motor vehicle accidents in May, drown in July, get shot to death in January, and get aborted in April or October. Sepsis has a curious sine-wave pattern peaking in April and October; after brainstorming with co-workers, it’s probably caused by children who catch diseases after school starts in September, then sepsis rises when temperatures rise in April, then falls off during the Summer when school is out.

http://www.mixedasians.com/member_pics/haplotype_1183150872.gif

Anonymous Coward says:

Nothing new

Of course it doesn’t make any difference.

Human beings seem to have a predisposition to sadism. In childhood, any position of power (like being bigger, stronger or more popular) will be exploited, and used to make life miserable for the powerless. That’s just the way things are. It sucks. It sucks hard. But it’s not about to change, and the emergence of new media doesn’t impact it in any way.

The idea that you can combat cyberbullying, the very existence of the term “cyberbullying”, is just as preposterous as the idea that you can combat bullying, period.

The only thing you can do about bullying is survive school, grow up, get a job, make lots of money and then laugh your ass off at the now pathetic schmucks who once held so much power over you.

Coaster26 says:

It’s also the type of bullying. It used to be get a black eye and lose your lunch money, pretty visible and usually everyone was aware who was the bully and who was the target.

Online bullying hurts kids where it isn’t right there for everyone to see, and has the added problem of not putting the kids face to face, it’s a lot easier to say meaner, worse things, when you are not face to face with someone. Basically, it’s bullying for pussies. Which doesn’t make it any less – cowards are more cruel in their violence than others.

General Eskimo says:

Well... bullying is a limp word legally

From a legal perspective, calling it “bullying” is likely to cause setbacks. The nice thing about the internet is its infinite ability to catalog actions. So, when cyber-bullying becomes harassment and libel, things get juicy. The real issue is that when cyber-bullying gets serious (in the moment), nobody can throw a punch. However, as I said before, when you start pulling in lawyers and filing lawsuits, suddenly cyberbullying is MORE serious that other forms, as your evidence is commonly perfect, assuming your tech-guy isn’t retarded.

Anonymous Coward says:

Territories and Boundaries

We’re just animals. Regardless of age, we attempt to establish territory and elevate our status within the pack. Some use physical threats and violence, others use economic threats, and others jump into online comment forums and attempt to shout one another down, to name a few.

Physical/threat types of “bullying” happen more often with kids because they don’t come born with societal norms; they must be installed, often by people without the necessary skills to do so. But even when successful, all we’re teaching them is that certain methods are wrong. We still strive for dominance and status, just like any dog in a pack.

By posting as an Anonymous Coward, I attempt to not elevate my status within the comment group by assigning myself a moniker to be identified with. This is a high-minded attempt to deny my animal instincts. However I’m certain to express it later, in some other manner, and probably unconsciously, sometime shortly. I wonder what it will be?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Territories and Boundaries

For an example, see comment 5. The response is to use superior economic capabilities to dominate. This counter others’ superior physical capabilities to dominate. Economics are considered by society to be acceptable forms of trying to do the same thing.

Athletics is the only way in our society we advocate using physical stature and aggression to dominate, but even that isn’t uncontested. See some of the comments on Techdirt from earlier today on the posting about the NFL.

Anonymous Coward says:

Reduces Medical bill ...

The “offline” bully typically don’t just stick to using ugly words (he saying rubbing childhood scars)…

Of course, they are psychosomatic illnesses from the stress of any kind of bullying. But, the internet can almost create a “safer” envirnoment for children to learn a lifeskill that they will have to use sometime in there lives…

Bullies don’t naturely turn to better people as they get older… they typical just move to more inconspicuous means of bullying through deception and manipulation.

Joe Sharp says:

Are you tired of being bullied? We can help!

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