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
    G Thompson (profile), 12 Nov 2011 @ 12:56am

    The old schoolyard rhyme was:
    Sticks and Stones may break my Bones,
    Though words will never hurt me

    The Nanny-state version is:
    Sticks & Stones are deadly weapons
    and words needs regulating for your own good

    The kids version is:
    Sticks and Stones? That's old style & wacked
    Lets Facebook, now that's our communication

    What it should be now:
    Sticks and Stones can break your bones
    Though words may hurt your feelings ... Life WILL hurt even more

    I'm actually in the process of putting together a presentation for some social workers, school teachers, and other community groups that basically scares the crap out of them regarding facebook and social media and then explains that kids (especially teenagers) do not worry about it and learn how to control and manage disputes better than even they could as teenagers. Also it delves into why pre-existing mental health issues are problematic when dealing with so called 'cyber' harassment.

    Bullying strangely is a necessary part of growing up, and learning how to deal with it effectively and to understand it, and to accept that EVERYONE does it and has had it done to them sometime in their life as kids gives them the skills to manage it as an Adult.

    High-end harassment on the other hand that has its intention to inflict damage on the victim is NOT bullying and needs to be dealt with whether it is via a computer, face to face, or using carrier pigeon, in the same way. Their is NO distinction and to try to differentiate them actually dispossesses victims of non-cyber high end harassment.

    Sadly humans, especially those with ego complexes need to label everything so they can blame something else for the worlds ills.

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