Facebook, Myspace, Youtube and other popular social networking sites are being targeted, and frequented by a new type of predator – the “cyber bully”
While I have been aware of the alleged existence of “cyber bullying” since the term was coined, it’s only recently that it has come to my attention that, now, grown adults are seemingly becoming victims of online meany-faces.
Somehow, though, I think the whole thing is a bunch of hog-wash…At least, that’s my opinion.
By classic definition, “cyber bullying” is a form of teen violence which refers to real or perceived attacks, perpetrated over the internet, by teens and against teens. While I would agree that using teens as a qualifier is a very convenient limiter, for the purposes of definition, I would also argue that only teens could possibly be effected by such a thing because, in theory, grown-ass adults are a little too smart to fall for something like this.
If I’m honest, teens should be as well.
Let’s turn the time machine back to the days before the internet and have a look at what bullying was back then. Kids who were bullied would show up at school or the arcade or the park or the theater and someone would bully them. This bullying took the form of everything from pantsing to wedgies to the dreaded swirly or, sometimes, even an ass-kicking. The cycle would repeat itself every time the victim would show up at one of these places until the victim either stood up for themselves and kicked the crap out of the perpetrator or stopped going to those places.
If the victim continued going to those places, despite the bullying, they would eventually start being referred to as a “drama queen” because it became clear they were either subjecting themself to the bullying for the sake of making people feel bad for them or it was just because they were just stupid.
And this is why I have such a hard time with this whole “cyber bullying” thing. On the internet, nobody can pull your pants down in front of people or flush your head down the toilet and they certainly can’t toss you a beating over TCP/IP (Believe me – I wish it was possible, sometimes.).
Doesn’t that kinda take the “bullying” part out of it?
Let’s look at a set of proposed forms “cyber bullying” can take, according to bullyingstatistics.org
- Sending mean messages or threats to a person’s email account or cell phone
- Spreading rumors online or through texts
- Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or web pages
- Stealing a person’s account information to break into their account and send damaging messages
- Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person
- Taking unflattering pictures of a person and spreading them through cell phones or the Internet
- Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person
And lets have a look at a few of those :
- Threats to email accounts and cell phones? How is that any different from threatening someone in the restroom or behind the gym except to say that the person making the threat is too much of a pussy to do it to your face?
- Spreading rumors? Been going on since the invention of language.
- Posting hurtful messages on social networking sites? Been going on since the invention of bathroom stalls and magic markers.
- Stealing a person’s account info? That’s not bullying, that’s cracking. The rest of that is just making rumors.
- Pretending to be someone else? That’s what we call “social engineering”. Shouldn’t be too hard to identify.
- Taking unflattering pictures? That’s called “yearbook”
- Sexting / circulating suggestive pictures? That’s called “you were a dumbass and gave someone nudie pics”
So it could be argued that “cyber bullying” isn’t so much different from some of the types of bullying people have been dealing with since the dawn of man, except that when you’re on the internet, you can – get this – LOG THE FUCK OFF!
That’s right! Nobody ever told you that you had to get on the internet, nobody ever said Facebook or Myspace were mandatory hang-outs or that you had to make videos wherein you rant about this and that and post them on Youtube. Nobody said you had to send nudie pictures to people and, for god’s sake, nobody ever said you had to keep going back after they start fucking with you.
So I want to be clear here. I don’t believe in “cyber bullying”. I don’t believe in all of the crying and whining and drama it causes and I don’t believe in it having any tangible impact on anyone. “Cyber bullying” is the new-fangled equivalent of prank calling someone. If they don’t like it, all they have to do is hang up the phone. If they keep answering, it’s because they enjoy the attention they get from the people they cry to.