Cyber Bullying by Hannah (updated)

Ever since the social media storm hit us with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and hundreds of other popular networking sites, cyber bullying has become an epidemic. It’s an unfortunate fact that anyone with access to the internet, whatever device it may be, also has access to the extreme, hurtful slander and abuse available online. You could be the nicest, kindest and the most innocent person on the planet, but there will still be someone in the world who doesn’t like that and given the easy accessibility the internet provides to connect with anyone over the world, it’s not hard for someone to voice their opinion of you.
Now with over 1 billion users online, Facebook is king of the social network. A near runner up is Twitter. Twitter does have a messaging service available, but generally people choose to voice their opinions out loud for all their followers to see, whether it’s a broad view or targeting someone in particular. Facebook is generally more direct with the use of private messaging, allowing each participant to twist the story their way when telling others about it through gossip, often making the situation worse for everyone involved.
Worse by far are the anonymous sites, where people have the ability to say whatever hurtful (or harmless) comments they wish without the risk of getting caught. When writing anonymously, people tend to let their words fly out of their mouths with no concern of how the person on the receiving end, but in some cases people who don’t even know the person they’re writing about will send extremely hurtful comments to them just to get a reaction for entertainment. In my personal experience of all these websites I’ve had more than my fair share of abusive comments, mostly through anonymous websites.
Sometimes it is best to try to disregard, however hard that can sometimes be, but at other times you might need to try and decode who is responsible. My personal advice is to look hard at the idiolect used – we all have a very distinctive individual voice even when typing online and this analysis can often give you a good idea of who’s behind the keyboard. This knowledge, if it someone known to you, is so valuable as it allows you often to put things in proportion and to plan an appropriate strategy for coping, and taking action or choosing not to. It puts you back in control at some level. Unfortunately, unless these sites become fully monitored 24/7, (a potential breach itself on people’s privacy), this won’t stop for good, but there are many ways to help soften the blow from cyber bullies. Peer support will always be one of the best ways to overcome hurtful comments, being reminded of how loved you actually are and the kindness most people express will not only make you feel better about yourself, but often changes your perspective and helps you to view these comments for what they actually are, – petty jealousy and entertainment seeking from those who need to ‘get a life’.
Following Hannah’s article we were sent a link to a blog written by David Cook, a cyber-crime expert, who has written an article on cyber-bullying and asks how can we protect children from cyber bullying? He looks into some statistics relating to cyber bullying and then goes on to look at the law and cyber-bullying, as well as providing some tips for parents. Please do take a look at:


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