Online Bullying Really Not That Common

from the moral-panics dept

To hear some people tell it, "cyber bullying" is some huge and awful problem where "something" needs to be done. It's a classic moral panic situation, but usually seems to involve parents totally overreacting. We've pointed out in the past that kids don't view it as bullying and now some new research from the folks at Pew have pointed out that online bullying and general "meanness" really isn't all that common. Yes, it does happen. And it sucks for those who are the target of such bullying. But that's no reason to overreact and need to pass crazy legislation to wipe out the First Amendment in some quixotic effort to outlaw being mean.
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Filed Under: bullying, online

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  1. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), 12 Nov 2011 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Misrepresentation of bullying going on

    No flame wars here - I can get behind this 100%

    Lots of bad things that happen to a person, and even that a person does themselves, are not really their fault - indeed there's a philosophical slippery slope that makes it easy to attribute ALL behaviour to circumstance, upbringing, etc.

    And that's not bad - it's good and human to have some amount of sympathy for everyone from perennial victims to addicts to those who are simply directionless - and even for the violent and criminal. But that must be balanced with a recognition that there is simply no better remedy for anyone than personal, proactive change - even in cases where it is arguably "unfair" to place that burden on the person.

    The funny thing is that society tends to waffle around this when a person is partially or wholly responsible for their circumstances, but not when they are innocent. If someone has a physical or mental disability, we know what to try to do: not coddle them, but help them as much as necessary to empower them to still live a self-directed, dignified life. We help them overcome their disability. But if someone is antisocial or foolish or weak, we go to great lengths to frame it as a disability, and then don't help them overcome it. It's bizarre.

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