Cyberbullying and cyber victims
Here is the second blog in the three blog series on cyber bullying by Lucie Corcoran.
In many ways it is easier to bully someone in cyberspace than it is to bully someone face-to-face. It’s likely that in many cases people who bully online have different personalities to face-to-face bullies. The type of people who abuse someone else using the Internet or mobile phone may never attempt to bully someone face-to-face.
There are a number of reasons for this.
1. It takes a lot less energy and courage to say something nasty in an email or text message or to post something cruel on a webpage than it does to say something nasty to someone’s face.
2. When a person knows that they can use a fake name online they may feel they can get away with bad behaviour.
3. When a cyber bully says something nasty via text or email they usually cannot see their victim’s reaction. Therefore he/she may not feel guilty or sad for their victim because they do not realize the upset they have caused.
4. There is very little supervision in cyberspace. The Internet is so vast that it would be impossible to censor all of the material that people post online.
5. Some cyber bullies may not feel responsible for their actions because they blame their bad behaviour on their cyber persona!!
There are numerous reasons why people bully. An American study in 2007 by Raskauskas and Stoltz revealed that cyber bullies behave this way because:
- They think it’s fun
- They did it to get back at somebody they were mad at
- They feel bad about themselves
Although we should be free to use the Internet however we wish without fear of abuse, there are certain online behaviours that can make people more vulnerable to cyber bullying.
A study by Pew Internet and American Life Project in 2007 found that young people who used social networking sites such as Bebo or MySpace were more likely to:
Suffer harassment online
Have rumours spread about them online
Have private messages forwarded to others or posted online
Have embarrassing photos posted without their permission
Those who upload material eg photos, artwork, or helping others build websites, tend to be victims of cyber bullying more often
However, that is not to say that young people shouldn’t enjoy all of the activities that the Internet provides. Everyone is entitled to have a facebook profile or to create blogs, or to communicate with friends online and nobody deserves to be punished for this. However, there are certain actions everyone can take to make them feel safe online. Part 3 of the cyberbullying blog will talk about protecting ourselves online and responding to cyber bullying.