One Way To Deal With Child Bullying: Have The Whole Internet Stand Up For You

from the may-the-force-be-with-you dept

We were just talking about the issue of bullying in schools, and the fact that many want to paint the internet as part of the “problem.” However, in some cases it can be the solution as well. A few folks pointed us to the story of the first grade girl who was getting peer pressured by other students because she was a Star Wars fan, and “Star Wars is for boys.” Her mother wrote about this on her blog, and one thing led to another, and a whole bunch of folks on the internet popped up to support the girl, Katie, including some actresses from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, who stepped up in support as well. Other kids spoke up, and other schools sent support. Apparently, the message has been received loud and clear at Katie’s own school, where they’re hosting a “Proud to be Me Day.” I’m not sure there’s really a lesson for bullying here, but I guess it means you shouldn’t mess with Star Wars fans.

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Comments on “One Way To Deal With Child Bullying: Have The Whole Internet Stand Up For You”

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Geek Hillbilly says:

Such support is great-here is 1 1st generation Trekkie that could help in something like that.

In my younger days,I was also a bullying victim until the night when 6 bullies went after me and I put all 6 into the ICU using a tire iron.Local police called it self defense and that was the last thing said.To this day,the former bullies avoid me like the plague.

RikuoAmero (profile) says:

This is just plain wrong

This shouldn’t be. This girl is a victim, made to feel small by her tormentors. Instead of teaching her to feel proud of herself, she should have gotten the media to spin this story out of control. She should have gotten the bullies arrested, with a mark on their files that will last the rest of their lives, and had their internet access, their phones, their computers taken away. /sarcmarc

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This is just plain wrong

She is not a victim she is a learning person growing up that if lucky have parents that will teach her how valuable she can be and that there is nothing wrong and people can gang up on others for silly things, evade those people.

Furthermore she got a bigger crowd to gang up on her tormentors.

Supertec2U says:

Re: Ugh...

You said it yourself, DH… “having been through high school myself” you know that there is a high probability for continued bullying because you know that kids are just like that. Unfortunately, many kids will be subjected to bullying behavior and most of them will handle it and move on through life, but some will not and those will be the ones that will break down emotionally and “go crazy” to the point you see it in the news. It’s a sad thing, but it’s also human nature.

(btw, I read one of your books and enjoyed the story)

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ugh...

“You said it yourself, DH… “having been through high school myself” you know that there is a high probability for continued bullying because you know that kids are just like that.”

Yeah, but let’s be aware of potential unintended consequences. Bullies go crazy when the one they are bullying gets help, particularly adult help. All the things we talk about with regard to scale on the internet could apply here too, refocusing vast amount of bullying back on this kid once she’s out of the protective limelight of her 15 minutes of fame. This could actually REALLY end badly, though I hope it doesn’t….

“(btw, I read one of your books and enjoyed the story)”

Well, thanks! Which one? (Can’t wait to get reaction on the latest one, Digilife, once I actually figure out what to do w/it)….

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Ugh...

Here you go. The E-Book version was made by me so don’t blame DH if the formatting is off (and it’s the unfinished version). I’m glad it’s still up on MegaUpload, means that someone’s downloading it.

Is there a place where I can find Midwasteland (or at least the first few chapters)? I’m trying to catch up on DH’s work, but I’ve only found Echelon.

Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ugh...

>> Yeah, but let’s be aware of potential unintended consequences. Bullies go crazy when the one they are bullying gets help, particularly adult help.

It depends on how it is handled, but many bullies assume the other person has no support among “important” people. And many that support bullying in lesser roles are probably amenable to influence from numbers. [The girl has numerous folks participating, and they likely won’t abandon her.]

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ugh...

The thing that worked for me at school was keeping a super low profile. Be completely gray: don’t show interest in sports, don’t show interest in anything at all, because it can be used against you. Hide everything and don’t let anyone know how you feel or where you stand on things. I loved star wars but nobody knew 😉

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ugh...

“The thing that worked for me at school was keeping a super low profile.”

It’s funny, because I actually did the opposite. I actually didn’t get bullied all that much (probably because I’m a relatively big guy). I played sports, but not the popular ones (golf/volleyball), I wasn’t quiet but I wasn’t particularly loud, my mother worked at the school which could have been really bad except most everyone liked her.

But I made a habit of being weird for weird’s sake. I walked around w/my Timothy Zahn Star Wars books and told everyone how much I liked that stuff. My trapper folders one year were all Winnie the Pooh because I thought that shit was funny. I went out of my way to mock the unmockable and apparently did it well enough that people thought it was funny rather than a sign of jealousy.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but the big ole “fuck you, this is me” thing worked for me in high school….

pringerX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ugh...

I have a theory. It’s not bullying that’s dangerous, it’s isolation. Almost without exception everyone gets hit by some bullying (if you didn’t, then you were probably the bully), some people more so than others. The ones who can’t cope (that we see in all these news stories) are the ones that don’t have a place to ‘belong’. I got picked on for being smart, but I had a small group of friends who shared my interests. They got targeted too, but we made it through because we were all in a group that accepted each other.
Bullying isn’t going away. But I think kids these days are becoming increasingly disconnected emotionally, which makes them easier to become isolated. And this is exacerbated by the increased communicative connections (Internet, etc.), which makes it easier for bullies (intentional or passive) to pick on them.

anon says:

Re: Re: Re:3 if you move around

If for whatever reason you manage not to be affected too negatively (or much at all) by what others say, and maybe even be a nice person more or less, then I think it probably becomes difficult for others to try and abuse you.

It’s important if you think certain bullying can hurt you or not. If you think no, then everything will be fine, and your behavior will come get that point across. If you do feel threatened (eg, physically, emotionally, intellectually, etc), then it can snowball and get out of hand if you aren’t careful.

This can be easier said than done or it could actually end up being fairly easy to do depending on what you are like (which can be very complex and a result of many influences).

As with anything else, if you can find a way to focus on something beyond, then it will be easier (think, ignorance is bliss). If you think of fearful things, then this can end up causing you to be negative in behavior and appear even as a potential threat to others. Believe it or not, thinking well of people in general and having hobbies to keep you busy, leads to subtle things like giving benefit of the doubt, not being worried, willing to start fresh frequently, not interested in revenge or thinking very long on things, etc. Also, not letting your mind bog down enables you to be a bit more sharp and physically strong. If you think you are in the right, then that adds strength, etc. However, it would probably help if you have confidence in yourself for whatever reason and if your likes are fairly mainline (or even in agreement or empathetic with whomever might have been a bully).

Anyway, I know that some people get passed by because there are easier targets, but it does help if you tend to offer “niceness and peace” (or anything else positive) but turn up the heat slowly as necessary in growing amounts based on people being unjust. The clearer it becomes they were not wronged and don’t have a legit claim, the clearer it is that they are in the position of trying to get a leg up on you and on all of society (ie, on anyone else in my shoes). This feedback condition promotes peace, I think. Also, by trying to be just, you really do have your back covered by everyone, whether they say so or not. And you have an incentive to be just as much as possible or else you get weak. In particular, when you find out you are being unjust, you really need to find a way to end that unless you want to adopt the hobby of being a bully yourself (including hiding behind money used to pay others to carry out your wishes for you). That’s not to say that you can’t do bad things, but it’s at your peril, in particular, if you don’t change as you become conscious of the problem. [Oh, yeah, it’s fine to make mistakes. Forgiveness of others, and by “extension” of self, is the norm.]

I don’t know if this sounds corny, but I do think people that generally are in good spirits and don’t like abuses of others (ie, who keep their reservoir of internal fire ready for occasions where you give a reason to be backed by people) have extra strength. BWAHAHAHAHAH ;-O

[Note that no matter how many muscles you have, if you lose that internal will, it’s just flab. Meanwhile, having that internal spark at the right time can spell lots of potential pain for others if they aren’t careful. This is true of animal physiology+mind, I suspect. It’s why morale can make such a difference in competition and work, though, it helps to keep some skills or abilities in decent shape.]

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ugh...

Even more important, she has the assurance from several women who make a living in the SW franchise that it is indeed suitable ‘girl stuff.’

io9 had an article that pointed out, correctly I think, that this wasn’t so much nerd bashing as gender norming (SW is for boys, silly girl.) Katie then went on to give support to a boy who liked My Little Ponies.

Joe-da says:

Scoundrels with hearts of gold.

I like to think of the online community as the Mos Eisley Cantina on a massive scale. A wretched hive of scum and villainy, populated by a lot weird looking people. But even with all of the trolls, and sociopaths that sometimes seem to pack the online world, there are some things that seem sancrosanct:

1) Pets – Though you should never abuse a dog or cat, put it online, and you guarantee swift internet (an likely legal) justice.

2) Geeky Hobbies – Unless you’re clearly a fan, don’t speak out against it, unless being harassed online is your idea of a great time.


ShellMG says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I didn’t whine to mommy. I stuffed my nemesis in a locker.

And I’m a girl.

It was a surreal day…the woman principal (whom we were all convinced wore cast-iron bras) berated *me* while the sniveling little git bawled. I didn’t cry, and consider it one of my proudest moments.

I was a geek growing up in the 80’s and was so strange nobody knew how to deal with me…which was just fine. I wore a Dr. Who (6th) scarf, read SF and fantasy, loved Star Wars and Star Trek, played in the band, won awards in art and failed miserably at math. Looking back, I wish the internet had been around just so I didn’t feel quite so alone, and I think Katie will do just fine.

I do think there will come a day when she will have to make a stand for herself. Heh, hope her reckoning isn’t as loud as mine was!

Anonymous Coward says:

Bullies have always been around and still are. I know of lots of grown-up bullies and many of them are in positions of power right now. Janet Napolitano is a bully. John Bohner (boner no matter how you look at it) is a bully. Sarah Palin is a bully. All 4 political parties are bullies. Most religions are bullies that preach some form of hate. Anyone that harasses another person with malice is a bully. It’s a no-brainer. Be warned if you are a bully because most people don’t woose out and commit suicide, they shoot back. If you believe my definition of bullying check the Wikipedia.

Overcast (profile) says:

Freakin’ tards – there would be a *line* of potentially rich nerds to date this girl.

My wife likes Star Wars, Video Gaming, and Star Trek even.

We have a wonderful relationship!

But I’d guess the ‘other students’ who felt they needed to prop up their own egos by bashing the girl, will be those ones you read about in the news later on, in horrid divorces, drunken violence, and such.. But hey – they are ‘cool’ unlike us nerds, lolz.

I try to true to my faith and not look down or take pleasure in the demise of others. But.. I couldn’t help feel pity and victory at the same time as I drove my SUV through a drive-in pony keg and looked face to face with one of the brats who gave me a hard time in high school.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Except that they really don’t because they were winging it the whole time and emotionally invested to boot. Strong emotions don’t tend to lead to rational thinking. And yeah, they have hindsight but that’s rarely any better than a third person perspective. Empathy for your tribulations is not the same as better judgment.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“they were winging it”

And now they’ve already done it, gaining knowledge along the way.

“and emotionally invested to boot”

Of course. So what? Because there’s emotion involved means they don’t know anything about the subject?

“And yeah, they have hindsight but that’s rarely any better than a third person perspective.”

You’re saying experience in something rarely leads to more in depth knowledge of it than a complete lack of experience. I heartily disagree.

“Empathy for your tribulations is not the same as better judgment.”

I wasn’t talking about either empathy or judgment. I said people who have raised kids know more about raising kids, not that they have better judgment.

Is it something special about raising kids? Do you think people who have raced cars don’t know any more about racing cars than people who haven’t?

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

…It is funny to hear so many people with no kids tell parents/kids what they should do yet few if any other parents agree with them…

It’s funny to hear people make seemingly factual statements, without any idea of whether or not their statements have any passing resemblance to the truth.

Where exactly, DanVan, did you see a group of people without children tell a group of people with children what to do, who were in turn disagreed with by the group of people with children?

In other words, citation needed.

123 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 er, *who* is being humiliated by posting on the net?

whichever is the better propagandist needs to ensure that the “audience” believes the ‘enemy’ started the dispute.
however, a forced introvert would often compensate by acquiring better “communication skills”. so, I’d expect usually, the bullied would win the propaganda battle(s).

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Ok, I have to know. Since when does ridiculing someone’s opinions qualify as bullying? I mean fuck, we do that all the time here.

Bullying is someone harassing those who cannot defend themselves. It works great in the physical realm because physical ability is difficult to change quickly and is easily estimated with a glance. For mental social interaction, we’re pretty much all on the same level since we’re all perfectly capable of go fuck yourself at the very least. Ergo, it is not bullying.

Seriously, what the hell? Was there a memo I missed that said we should all whine like little emo kids at every opportunity? Parents, if you can’t manage to teach your kids to stand up for themselves in non-physical situations, I’ll be happy to make up some printable response cards with phrases like “get bent, fuckface”, “blow me, asshat”, and the time tested “fuck off” for them to use until they’re able to come up with their own replies.

123 says:

Re: that's fine when *you're* the one holding the tire iron

i didn’t seriously consider bringing weapons to school, but was sure I’d be the one to get in trouble if i only (counter) *threatened* bullies who outnumbered *and* individually outweighed me.
really, the *adults* need to do *something*.
but (itrw) the adults often do nothing. and the bullied kid assume the adults know and are *deliberately* doing nothing.

turning all aspects of life into an arms race with preemptive strikes is politically correct in this conservative era, but it will lead to societal collapse.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 hmm, i just noticed that you'd restricted your scenario

There’s some serious irony in a guy who stands 5’6″, grew up in the rural mid-west, and understood algebra in first grade having bullying explained to him.

You may take it as a given that I know precisely what I am talking about on matters of bullying.

123 says:

Re: Re: Re:4 hmm, i just noticed that you'd restricted your scenario

yet you included only verbal aspects. when i mentioned the normalcy (ime) of physical threat or attacks you replied, “You have just thoroughly confused me by replying but not remotely saying anything related to what I said”.

(in fact, i don’t recall much verbal bullying. it was mostly physical, though not much or often “violent”. for example suddenly I’d be shoved from behind to the ground. that would be mildly violent. non-violent and non verbal would be having bits of junk thrown at me.)

my experiences weren’t rural. they were oversize/mega schools and semi-urban or suburban. there were different bullies at different times of the day, but some were less reliable than others. 😉

and, everyone else is not necessarily like me or like you.

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