Reporting Bullies Online: Helpful Or Not?
from the bullies-will-be-bullies dept
For years, there are a group of folks who regularly raise a stink about the rise of cyberbullying and how something needs to be done to “protect the children.” Of course, the solutions never make very much sense. At one end, you have things like people dressing up as Spiderman and telling kids to stop bullying each other, and at the other extreme, you have people saying that there should be laws outlawing cyberbullying.
But what about relying on the same technology that enables cyberbullying to potentially be a part of the solution? The AP is running a story about a website that lets kids anonymously report bullying activities (beyond just cyberbullying) to school officials, so that they can take care of it. It’s an interesting idea — and to be honest, my first reaction on reading it was more surprise that such things hadn’t existed for years. How hard is it to set up a form on a website that doesn’t require logging in and identifying yourself?
However, I wonder how well it actually works in practice. Perhaps it is effective, but it’s difficult to see how this actually solves the problem the article claims it solves: which is that whoever reports the bullying will be called a “snitch.” In plenty of cases, I would imagine that the bully would simply blame the bullied. And, depending on the situation (i.e., depending on how scared the bully is of further retaliation), it could just get them even more riled up against their victim, naturally assuming that’s who reported them. However, if it can be shown to be an effective solution to help stop bullying, then perhaps it does make sense. I certainly wouldn’t condone any kind of bullying, but at some point you have to realize that there are always going to be bullies of some kind, and while any solution that can alleviate the suffering of bullied individuals sounds good, they need to be grounded in reality.