Cyberbullies

Bullying has gone high-tech, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Hiding under screen names, kids use web sites, instant messaging, chat rooms, text messaging and e-mail to spread nasty rumors or make threats. One boy circulated his ex-girlfriend’s picture, photoshopped onto a pornographic photo. Cyberbullying has some advice on how to fight back.

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Comments

  1. Is this really bullying, or is it just being malicious gossip?
    IMO, bullying uses physical intimidation. The potential for that via the internet is limited.

  2. PJ/Maryland says:

    I agree with Geoff, this doesn’t sound like something I would call bullying. Then again, I don’t work for “the Project on Teasing and Bullying at Wellesley College”, so what do I know?

    The pressure for kids to be always online means bullies can extend their harassment into their victims’ homes.

    Always online? Well, if they have to be online, they could spend it reading news or sports or playing games or a million other things.

    I think the CSM is too quick to conflate IM (and maybe email) harassment with website gossip. If it’s a website, you don’t have to go there, whereas IM and email is more in-your-face and harder to avoid.

  3. Maybe it’s changed in the few years since I went to high school, but the photochopping of the picture onto the pornography sounds more like a “Revenge of the Nerds” type of thing more than bullying. Of course, it’s still majorly wrong, and stupid, but bullying? I say we save that word for violent and threatening actions, whether online or not.

  4. Did he ‘photoshop’ his girlfriend’s head on to a body or vice versa ??? Just wondering …

  5. I think the deal is, only people who had done enough real-world intimidating would be able to spread damaging rumors. If Binky the nerd sends something around, who cares? If Binky the nerd spoofs mail or an instant message thread so it seems to be from Biff the jock, then Binky and all his nerd friends are pummeled for messing with Biff’s online identity.

    If Biff the jock sends around a malicious mail, everyone will go along with it because, you know, it’s Biff. (This holds even if Biff had help from Binky, who will get none of the promised credit or respite from bullying for his troubles.)

  6. It sounds a lot like the old Smack Books that girls used to keep. They were standard spiral notebooks filled with gossip and smack about other people in school. In Middle School, you couldn’t go anywhere in the halls or the cafeteria without running into a cluster of girls giggling as they read a Smack Book.

  7. Mark Odell says:

    j.c wrote: If Binky the nerd spoofs mail or an instant message thread so it seems to be from Biff the jock,

    You’re presuming that Biff the jock is:
    1) tech-savvy enough to trace back said spoofing specifically to Binky the nerd;
    2) sufficiently astute in general to put two and two together.

    then Binky and all his nerd friends are pummeled for messing with Biff’s online identity.

    And that’s different from the normal level of pummeling Binky and all his nerd friends receive, how?

    This is actually old news.

  8. Mark – did you read my first line – “only people who had done enough real-world intimidating would be able to spread damaging rumors.”

    And if I was presuming that “Biff the jock is:
    1) tech-savvy enough to trace back said spoofing specifically to Binky the nerd;” – why would I suggested that all the nerds would be pummeled?

  9. Welcome to last year.

    Imagine. Kids using the internet to gossip and harass each other like they do at school, in notes, and by phone.

    Duh.

    The solutions the same as it has always been. You ignore it.