Do You Know An OnLine Bully?
Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 5, 2007
Posted by Patrick Moore
on Mon, Sep 25, 2006, 2:00 am PDT
In England, there is much discussion of the phenomenon of bullying. In fact, the Brits have gone so far as to create a website, Bully OnLine, that details strategies for dealing with bullies at work, at home, on the playground, and even on-line. Looking at the site, I wondered why we so seldom discuss this behavior here in the United States. After all, the U.S. is often accused of acting like a bully on the world stage so perhaps we need to consider that criticism and see if it provides an insight into American culture. As Bully OnLine states, “…bullying is the single most important social issue of today, for the study of bullying provides an opportunity to understand the behaviours which underlie almost all conflict.”
Most of us who spend a significant amount of time in cyberspace are well aware of bullying. Whether in email or on blogs, the anonymity of the Internet can allow us to act on a kind of primal rage that we keep bottled-up in the “real” world. But the anonymity of cyberspace has a positive side as well, especially relating to The Principles. The Principles is not focused on addicts and alcoholics but is based upon the universal ideas behind 12-step programs. In 12-step programs, anonymity can be a powerful tool for allowing people to connect, share information, and dispel isolation. And this can be true online as well.
So I’m of two minds about the venting that takes place on-line. On the one hand, I’m a firm believer that it is always better to be honest and express your feelings. On the other hand, unfocused rage can be very harmful to others if we don’t take responsibility for our actions.
Bully OnLine provides some advice on how to deal with bully postings that I thought might be helpful to those of you who are affected by bullying in cyberspace:
“Many serial bullies are also serial attention-seekers. More than anything else they want attention. It doesn’t matter what type of attention they get, positive or negative, as long as they can provoke someone into paying them attention. It’s like a 2-year-old child throwing a tantrum to get attention from a parent. The best way to treat bullies is to refuse to respond and to refuse to engage them – which they really hate. In other words, do not reply to their postings, and on forums carry on posting without reference to their postings as if they didn’t exist.”
I think we all need to take responsibility for what we say. I acknowledge that I often write provocative pieces and people have every right to respond with all the force of their conviction. But what if we all tried an experiment? When we want to say something provocative or extreme – be it on a blog, in a chat room, or via email – let’s add our real name and where we live. I think we will all feel more responsible and be less likely to bully.
Patrick Moore – Los Angeles, CA
If you are feeling down because of an on-line BULLY , check out this post, it might help:
If you already are a BULLY, and you want change, maybe this post will help:
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