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Cyberbullying Gains Momentum in US

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the water-off-of-a-duck's-back dept.

Privacy 241

interglossa writes "Findings from the Pew Internet Project are being reported on the BBC news web site, indicating a rising incidence of cyberbullying among teenagers in the United States. The study showed a slightly higher incidence among those visiting social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Tactics cited include being 'the victim of an aggressive email, IM or text message' and 'having a rumor spread about them online'. While the concept of cyberbully has been around in the US for a while, most coverage of the issue has focused on more extreme examples abroad. It would seem young people in the US are fully adapting to the anonymity of online interactions."

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241 comments

Lines need to br drawn. (3, Insightful)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680411)

I'm in favor of trying to keep people from bullying of emotionally/physically abusing another person. But the same time there needs to be a strong long drawn; otherwise we'll end up with a generation of people emotionally/psychologically weak.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680435)

But the same time there needs to be a strong long drawn; otherwise we'll end up with a generation of people emotionally/psychologically weak.

Violence begets violence.

By the same token, bullying begets bullying.

Surely, if you want to make men of boys, there must be better ways than bullying, which mostly teaches the lesson that you don't need to think for yourself if you join a pack of dumbfucks.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (3, Interesting)

endianx (1006895) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680529)

By the same token, bullying begets bullying.
No it really does not, except in extreme examples like Columbine. Most people who are bullied get over it and become productive members of society, as do the people who formerly bullied. My own personal experience with being bullied in school didn't make me want to do it to other people, but rather taught me why I should not. It also made me much tougher and better equipped to deal with the real world, where you can't be emotionally shielded all the time.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (5, Interesting)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680601)

My point exactly. Take a kid in rural china living on 1/2 cup of rice a day, bare foot, diseased what he considers a bad day. I see kids now who will throw a complete fit because someone looked at them funny, they couldn't stay 5 minutes somewhere, couldn't get that game 2 hours earlier, couldn't see the exact movie they wanted.

It's already starting unfortunately. There has to be a healthy way for kids to grow up and have a thicker skin. There's a big difference between someone physically beating you down and "But mom some kid in my class posted on MySpace that I'm a moron, sue him mommy so I can get a PS3 else I'm going to scream my head off for hours.".

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (4, Interesting)

linguizic (806996) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680943)

"But mom some kid in my class posted on MySpace that I'm a moron, sue him mommy so I can get a PS3 else I'm going to scream my head off for hours.".
I have two children of my own, and I know many children in my community and none of them would say something like that. From what I've found, my children's generation is more sensitive than mine, but they are not whiny little brats. In fact, they are more sensitive to the feelings of others and have more respect for each other as a result. Sure there are some really mean SOB's here and there, but not like when I was a child. It might just be the difference of where I'm living now vs. where I grew up, but I am looking forward to my children's generation coming of age and taking over.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681245)

NEWS FLASH

Some groups of kids will be mean to other groups of kids. Apparently this has been going on since the dawn of time, the methods are the only things that change.

--News at 11--

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680625)

Nevada-tan may get over the cyberbullying incident that turned her into Girl-A.

I somehow doubt that Satomi Mitarai will get over it, though.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (1)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680825)

I'd just like to concur, but also add that bullying should always be sought to be eliminated by those in authority; allowing it to go unchecked would see bullies running riot, having an effect much more unpleasant than character-building.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (1)

endianx (1006895) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681065)

You are right. It shouldn't just go unchecked. In most cases it should be the parents who solve the problem. They should be able to get together and work out a reasonable solution. I think the schools should only get involved if things are being posted online from school computers. In that case, the "bully" should probably lose computer privileges or something. The government should never get involved unless there are threats.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (2, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681685)

Except that the parents of bullies were probably bullies themselves and see no problem with it.

I don't think so (4, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681351)

Why would authority really want to eliminate bullying? Generally speaking, that is the class that most all future business and political leaders come from! Example with the same age group, look at the number one top team sport in the US, football. The bullies win, and the conniving and more clever bullies win easier. It's the biggest deal in the public high schools,certainly not the chess club for a counter example, and your team has to physically and with much aggression "beat" the other team, and the team stars are the heroes, pushed by the same authority system that says they are anti bully.

Don't believe what they say, look to what they and society *do* and who gets rewarded or not for successful early childhood indoctrination. Look at the top class of Cxxs and political leaders, what do you see mostly? Aggressive alpha male and female bullies for the most part. They have to "win" all the time, the biz leaders have to "effin kill" the competition, their team (political party) has to win no matter what. The stockholders *demand* it, nore, more, MORE profits no matter what it takes, the grassroots political activist shock troops *demand* it, they have to destroy the competition,swift boat them for example, and exalt their own pack leaders, even to the point of ignoring or excusing blatant illegal or unethical behavior. Bullies get rewarded in our society if they adjust their bullying to the approved methods of the older adult bullies, so I don't believe they are really anti bully, although they make make noises about it.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680971)

My own personal experience with being bullied in school didn't make me want to do it to other people, but rather taught me why I should not.

My own personal experience with being bullied in school made me bitter and hateful, with a tendency to lash out both physically and emotionally.

During this time period I did basically two things which gained the respect of my peers - for a moment, anyway. The first time was the first time I got into a real fight with someone determined to beat me up. He was another unpopular kid. He ended up with two black eyes and a bloody dot on his forehead. I ended up with an expulsion.

The second time, a bunch of people had been fucking with me on the city bus, going to school. One kid added one last straw, and I got up and popped him one upside the head. (Then the bus driver hit the brakes and I bounced off a pole, but wasn't damaged - just dazed. But that made two of us.)

Sure, I'm only one individual. But what I'm trying to say is that being bullied might have given me some perspective on some things, but it also made me unpredictable and dangerous. It did not make me a "real man" - I was still a pussy until I was maybe 23, 24. It wasn't until just the last few years that I grew sufficient cojones to stand up for myself in a work situation, and stopped being taken advantage of there.

Bullying is not a good thing. And the failure of most people (including yourself) to imagine that there might be a superior alternative is frankly pathetic. You are helping to maintain the culture of violence, and that is simply a bad thing.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (2, Insightful)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681085)

I agree physical or emotional violence is not good. What I'm concerned about is a law that lets people sue for "mental anguish" because someone on MySpace called another person an idiot. I wasn't trying to condone bullying to "make men out of boys" as much as saying there needs to be a line in between what is really offensive and what a normal healthy individual would shrug off.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681249)

I wasn't trying to condone bullying to "make men out of boys" as much as saying there needs to be a line in between what is really offensive and what a normal healthy individual would shrug off.

Well, I suggest you don't hold your breath. Remember, we already changed the requirement for sexual harassment from what a reasonable person would find offensive compared to whatever the offended party finds offensive! (Not to mention that it's considered sexual harassment for a man to loom over a woman, but not for a woman to loom over a man. Why, because they have tits?)

I do think that we should be free to call another person an idiot, though. Especially when they are.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (2, Insightful)

endianx (1006895) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681099)

Bullying is not a good thing. And the failure of most people (including yourself) to imagine that there might be a superior alternative is frankly pathetic. You are helping to maintain the culture of violence, and that is simply a bad thing.
I never said bullying was a good thing.

Please post your "superior alternative".

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681415)

No, you are just ASSUMING that most people get over it. Columbine only represents the most extreme reaction to bullying. The fact that most people don't go postal can't be used to assume anything else regarding whether or not people "get over it".

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680555)

Well, one theory might be that cyberbullying prepares the next generation for the psychological warfare that will no doubt be conducted by those with less scruples than the US government.

Another theory might be that digital records of cyberbullying will exist, and the nerds will eventually data mine and perform massive psychological vengeance, perhaps including some widespread use of covert sterilization techniques.

Its a nasty world. Most of those chasing security and 'protecting the children' end up doing more harm than good.

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680505)

I'm in favor of trying to keep people from bullying of emotionally/physically abusing another person. But the same time there needs to be a strong long drawn; otherwise we'll end up with a generation of people emotionally/psychologically weak.
Get out of my fucking forum or I will meet you at the bike racks after school, freshman! >:-{

Re:Lines need to br drawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680939)

Already there my friend. Already there.

What REALLY needs to happen is that the yungn's need to learn that people lie, its not all Unicorns and Rainbows, the world can be a cruel place, and the very little in life is probably what it seems. If any PARENT, has issue with that, I suggest you unplug there computer and tell them to read a book or go outside and play with the Johnson's kid down the street.

Now, if your kid is the one doing the bullying, you probably need to put down your beer or spritzer, and give them a little bit more attention than they've been getting. Most kids act like a**holes and brats because their homelife is pretty shi**y to begin with.

/The More You Know

M$ UR DAYZ R NUMBURD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680419)

ubuntoo iz gud enuff 4 ppl lyke me

first (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680429)

post

Nothing new (2, Insightful)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680431)

Cyberbullying has been the norm in usenet ngs for the longest time. It's time the 'poor little college kid' on facebook got hazed as well...
  Cheers!

Re:Nothing new (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680587)

"Cyberbullying has been the norm in usenet ngs for the longest time. It's time the 'poor little college kid' on facebook got hazed as well..."

A lot of the people on Facebook are younger than college, and Facebook is indexed by the major search engines. Regardless of age, once a rumor gets out there, there's no way to "fix it." At least in print media, they're supposed to print a retraction (which they usually bury on page 19) ... but if it will make you feel any better, why not post your slashdot login info, and we'll all help you get your cyber-bitch-slap freak on.

Seriously, saying its okay is like saying that everyone should cut people off in traffic because road rage has been going on for years ...

Of course, if you're sending someone sms messages to bug them, you're already a candidate for the special olympics.

Re:Nothing new (2, Interesting)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680731)

Voluntary exposure of intimate details is not very smart if you are worried about certain pictures/facts leaking. Rumors are just that and if they affect you in any way, you can always sue. The legal system kicks in when it gets serious, but before that, it is just a friendly reminder of the ways of the internet. What would you rather have? Some kid getting 'aggressive emails' or regulation of expression on the internet?

If it is serious, go to the authorities. If it is not, don't whine.

Cheers!

Re:Nothing new (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680941)

Unfortunately, nasty rumors can have serious consequences - like lost credibility, lost jobs, etc. Don't forget that we live in a society where many people can't qualify for jury duty because they have a bias to believe anything nasty - they figure that "if someone is arrested, they must be guilty of SOMETHING!"

Its the whole "where there's smoke, there MUST be fire" problem. There are people who can and will be assholes when they think they can get away with it, to make up for their own inadequacies. I prefer a "name it and shame it" approach to the less serious bullying, but once it crosses certain boundaries, sanctions should be imposed. Being forced to help clean up spam by training spam filters would be a good start.

Re:Nothing new (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680671)

Cyberbullying has been the norm in usenet ngs for the longest time.

which is why Usenet dies and more protected environments thrive.

Re:Nothing new (4, Insightful)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680759)

Protected environment is where it is HARD for someone to bully you. A regulated environment is where it is illegal to say something that could be construed as bullying you. I do not mind the former. The latter is scary.
Cheers!

Re:Nothing new (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680807)

Cyberbullying has been the norm in usenet ngs for the longest time. It's time the 'poor little college kid' on facebook got hazed as well...

usenet ngs had near zero penetration of the average class room. Really if some 12 year old posted I was a 'retarded dickless faggot' on usenet, who would even see it? Who would even care? He might as well have just written it on a post-it note and stuck it to his bed frame for all it mattered.

But now, the internet is mainstream, highly indexed, and if someone in your class posts your a 'retarded dickless faggot' on myspace or whatever, everyone sees it. He may as well have written it on the blackboard in class, in indelible ink.

Its a huge difference in visibility and impact.

Riiight... (2, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680483)

Maybe these kids need some real bullying to toughen them up if some juvenile words on der intraweb makes them and their parents cry.

Re:Riiight... (2, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680525)

Yeah really... being the victim of "aggressive emails" warrants a tailor-made law now? Are they crazy or what? Oh right. Elections are coming... must be seen doing something!

The World's Biggest Bully: (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680489)


, who defies the legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. Federal Government, lives at
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. [whitehouse.org]

Revenge of the nerds! (2, Funny)

scenestar (828656) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680503)

Sure, jocks may be bigger and stronger.

But little do they know that those whimpy geeks can use their hack-foo to expose his dirty secrets online.

Re:Revenge of the nerds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680985)

Heh, when I was in HS, my friends and I "hacked" (see: installed key loggers) access to the grading programs. We were all good enough pupils we didn't mess with our own marks, but if someone had been really pissing us off, we'd go in and mark them absent for the last two weeks or so. Their marks looked fine until the end of the semester, when the excessive absences would push them down a level or two.

Re:Revenge of the nerds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19681197)

And are also smart enough to choose not to.

Re:Revenge of the nerds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19681397)

I'm a former jock, turned computer science nut...

(I.E./E.G.-> I played for the United States NCAA Division II National Champions LeMoyne Dolphins in the sport of Lacrosse, lettering 2x @ 2 diff. positions in my time there, scoring 11 times). ... & I had to very, VERY recently deal with someone(s) doing it to me, & I took YEARS of crap from they... examples are below:

(It was a Mr. Jeremy Reimer (whose 'articles' are featured here from arstechnica no less) & his pal, Mr. Jay Little, (& a 3rd person posts here @ slashdot, & has stopped bugging me, so he will remain nameless)!

They were trying to pull what you said, with his friends (colleagues in crime actually):

I was their "11th Commandment": THOU SHALT NOT GET AWAY WITH IT.

Here was how it was done, & why - Each was found guilty of one or more of the following, over years time, for the following:

1.) Email harassing myself, & their ISP/BSP's took care of them

2.) Having their websites removed from their hosting providers 2-3x & kept it up no less (unbelievable, some people NEVER learn) even after that

3.) Each (that tried to stay on topic, instead of starting trouble, Jay Little & the unnamed fellow) lost BADLY on technical points about computers several times (BSOD stopcodes, ramdisk usages, & memory related debates & more)

4.) Cyberstalking me to many sites for many years, libelling myself (making edited photos of myself, singing libellous songs about myself, & more))...

Recently, I had Mr. Reimer reported to the police for Aggravated Harassment (& the police filed the report & are forwarding it to his nation in Canada, so the RCMP (royal canadian mounted police) take care of the rest)... for good reasons - threats to my family & yes, myself, were issued by Mr. Reimer & his pals.

Mr. Reimer & Mr. Little only brought it on themselves, each time, because I never ONCE went to they to their websites bothering they (I was @ arstechnica in 2000/2001, but left there AND NEVER WENT BACK, as I generally do not stay where I am not wanted)...

However, Mr. Reimer impersonated or edited my posts on arstechnica (or one of his mod friends did) & Mr. Reimer impersonated ME on his website, & that caused me to write him nicely mind you, to remove it... He would not, & the cyberstalking ensued (they doing it to myself across many sites online for years).

Today, this date?

An "APK MUST BE PUT TO DEATH" petition was removed by petitiononline.com (Mr. Little) & Mr. Reimer got a nice note from his hosting provider siteground.com, to remove all content that was libelling myself on his website.

The Aggravated Harassment went thru with the police as well, & next, it's a libel & defamation of character lawsuit coming their way... ... & after that? I am going after arstechnica.com for the same thing...

(&? I'll win... I've beaten city governments in lawsuits, & this is easy by way of comparison)...

APK

P.S.=> I guess what I am trying to say here, is this:

I can deal with a lot of childish stupidity, but when Mr. Reimer grew so bold as to post my families' home address on his website, & his friends started saying things like "Let me know where he is I will take care of him" etc. et al?

That crossed my line of acceptability/threshold of pain, & they had to be dealt with...

Best part is, from this whole confrontation??

I got the arstechnicans to say I was correct on a number of points I made, & to get their websites removed or parts removed as I saw fit...

Making them "bend the knee", but it's not over yet - people that think they are bigger than the law? ARE IN FOR A HUGE MISTAKE...

I only hope this (where this all happened & went on for 4 years running almost):

http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/index.cfm?art icleid=41095&cpage=211#feedbackAnchor [windowsitpro.com]

Serves as an example to others (the good folks of the planet online, & how to get idiots like that & put them in their place (jail or shame)), but moreso, especially to the "trollers/harassers/cyberstalkers" online that pester & harass others!

So they do NOT do this to anyone, ever again... apk

Why the hell is this such a big deal? (4, Insightful)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680521)

Yes it's an argument from ignorance, mostly because the people who are so concerned about "cyberbullying" (dumb term imo) have yet to make any rational arguments for why its so bad that I can attempt to refute. All you ever hear about are how badly emotionally scarred people are getting from email and IMs that say mean things about them. It seems like a bunch of panicky fluff designed to garner sympathy so people can push through legislation that criminalizes being mean.

Sure, stalking and death threats ARE bad, but last time I checked there were already laws in place to deal with those. If you ask me, this is just the next front for the politically correct clownshoes to work in their feel good laws that accomplish nothing and ultimately end up turning your average jackass into a criminal, you know, "for the greater good."

Everyone needs thicker skin, as the whole uproar about this is more a symptom of our continued pussification than any problem endemic to the internet.

Re:Why the hell is this such a big deal? (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680875)

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you...unless you choose to let them.

Yet again, falls down to good parenting, and has absolutely nothing to do with the internet itself, other than being yet another medium that some parents choose to use to babysit and teach their children.

When _I_ was a child, the bullies used sticks and stones more oft than not. Count yourselves lucky chillins.

Re:Why the hell is this such a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19681313)

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you...unless you choose to let them.

In the real world, words can inflict serious economic harm. Careers are derailed through rumor-mongering all the time.

Re:Why the hell is this such a big deal? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681103)

Sure, stalking and death threats ARE bad, but last time I checked there were already laws in place to deal with those.
[...]
Everyone needs thicker skin, as the whole uproar about this is more a symptom of our continued pussification
You have no insight, you only offer ignorance and dismissal.
People who go to the police to get the law enforced are often met with "just tough it out".
Cops can't be bothered, unless there's a "real" crime that's been committed, they'll wait until the stalker actually causes physical harm before they act. And then it's too late.

Why don't you apply your "thicker skin" logic to all crimes? Someone stabbed you? You should have fought back harder, pussy! Gang beats you up? You should have more friends, with bigger muscles, pussy!

Re:Why the hell is this such a big deal? (0, Troll)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681215)

Yes it's an argument from ignorance, mostly because the people who are so concerned about "cyberbullying" (dumb term imo) have yet to make any rational arguments for why its so bad that I can attempt to refute.

Probably because you're so fucking stupid that you couldn't identify a rational argument even if it kicked you in the face.

Everyone needs thicker skin, as the whole uproar about this is more a symptom of our continued pussification than any problem endemic to the internet.

Bullying can and often does lead to a lifetime of psychological problems, or even suicide. But hey, who the fuck cares? People just need to grow thicker skin! Instead of doing something about bullies, we should just tell people to have less psychological problems. What an ingenious solution.

I can't believe this shit got modded +4.

Re:Why the hell is this such a big deal? (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681341)

That might have been the most ironic reply anyone has ever attached to a post of mine.

Re:Why the hell is this such a big deal? (2, Informative)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681265)

If it's just people calling each other names online from long distances, you're right, what's the big deal? I'd suggest that it gets "BAD" when we're talking about KIDS, and when the "cyber bullying" is combined with ritualistic verbal and physical abuse. Check out this link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_Patrick_Halligan [wikipedia.org]

There may be "laws" in place to deal with "death threats", but I think that bullying is a serious problem that has been largely ignored in the nation's schools. Would you suggest that a 11-year old is a "pussy" and needs to grow some "thick skin" because a bunch of much older kids decide to bully him/her systematically over months or years? In a case like that, the cyber aspect of it is just "piling on" to an existing problem, and it could be the thing that pushes someone over the edge.

Re:Why the hell is this such a big deal? (5, Interesting)

fredNonesuch (927976) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681361)

Read the wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber-bullying/ [wikipedia.org] for some answers as to why this is a big deal. The "cyber" part is a tool that offers a great deal of leverage with the ability to automate bullying and propagate media that has far more emotional impact than words alone.

Spreading rumors with freely available picture editing software is especially pernicious. On top of that, there's the automation - making the spreading of the material so much more effective. Instead of just a handful of people personally contacted, an audience of hundreds on up end up seeing it. That also heavily increases the emotional impact.

Consider a similar scenario -collateral damage due to spamming. Some of you have seen your outgoing emails banned because of spammers falsely using your address or even simply using the same ISP. The same sort of knee-jerk reactions happen as a result of cyber-bullying.

Finally, there are a lot of ADULT idiots out there that act based solely on unconfirmed information. Lynchings in the US still happen - just more often in court and in job losses. The impact can be in the form of real losses, not just emotional hurt. Now imagine how kids can respond.

Re:Why the hell is this such a big deal? (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681499)

It also includes targeted denial of service attacks. Kids decide they don't like someone at school, and then they go out on the internet and get a few dozen people to "attack" this person by smearing graffiti all over blog or myspace pages, spamming thousands of emails to a person's email account, flooding a person's IM account with hundreds of pop-up messages rendering the account unusable, and getting a bunch of people to repeatedly call a person's cell phone. Often this is done with the intention of making someone's accounts unusable, and sometimes such things are done with the intent of causing a person excessive financial expense (which the young usually do not have to spare).

This can also include significant violations of privacy which could easily lead to later occupational damage. Imagine you're 16 or so, and someone takes a few unflattering photos of you with the pervasive cameras that are now carried into schools on cell phones, and then uses these to create a thread or web page entirely about you which perhaps pretends to be written by you and contains lies about you and the things you like to do to sheep. Now what if this is the first google hit for your name a few years later when you try to get a job?

Yes, there are laws in most countries on the internet to handle such things, but there are countless places where enforcement is minimal to non-existant. Being mean is one thing, but targeted harassment is a completely different thing. When it starts affecting people's finances, lives, and careers, it'd be hard to argue that it doesn't matter or that people should just grow thicker skin.

It's everywhere (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680545)

You could make a study of cyberbulling on /. alone.

Re:It's everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680699)

I'm going to fuck you up you whiny, wimpy, little cocksucker....

Apparently... (2, Insightful)

ajenteks (943860) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680557)

It would seem young people in the US are fully adapting to the anonymity of online interactions.
...a sizable number of young people aren't adapting enough. Bullies like easy targets, don't make yourself one. Problem solved.

Why do people think the Internet is different? (4, Insightful)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680565)

We see this same tired series of events played out again and again... someone does something that is part of everyday life, but this time they do it "on the Internet", and the media play it up into this big thing. Because, you know, somehow if you do something "on the Internet" it's *different*.

Please, stop the madness.

Just because one or more computers communicating over the Internet is involved, it does not magically change the nature of what's going on. "Cyberbullying" is just like a bullshit marketing term: somebody made it up to make something old sound new.

If you can help a kid deal with school-yard bullies and the high-school rumor mill, they should be able to cope with this.

Re:Why do people think the Internet is different? (1)

OverlordsShadow (1034748) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680877)

Hell here they have anti-bullying bylaws. Kids can get fined and such for bullying kids. They are even passing one for bullying in the workplace and all of society in general. This is Regina, Sask, Canada by the way. I think its just retarted. I got bugged in school and some of the retards I went to school with are still smug but you get over it or do it right back to them. Screw their shit up and/or give them a beat down. Always loved cream the carrier, we all just picked the side we wanted to beat on and that way everyone got their frustration out on the others. Although this doesn't quite work if you site inside 24/7 have not muscles and still suck on mommy's tit.

Re:Why do people think the Internet is different? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681455)

"Always loved cream the carrier, we all just picked the side we wanted to beat on and that way everyone got their frustration out on the others."

Is that the Canadian version of "Kill the man with the ball"?

*Sigh* in the US, with them banning dodgeball, I'm guessing kill the man with the ball is pretty much something of history only.

When did we start pussyfying our kids? Can't play outside, the pervs will get you. Can't call Jenny a name, will get sued. Can't play physical contact sports, you'll REALLY get sued, and lose that all important "self-image".

You know...I don't think you can know what a winner is unless you know what it is like to lose. I'm afraid for so many of the sheltered great self image kids coming out today. They're gonna get into the real world, expecting to be treated right, and everyone cooperate, and get a raise (gold star for the day) just for trying.

They're gonna get their clocks cleaned by the ones out that that know it is a jungle and have to work and fight for what they want...by people out to win.

Re:Why do people think the Internet is different? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681043)

Because, you know, somehow if you do something "on the Internet" it's *different*.

It's an interesting argument. But one the Geek uses selectively.

If harassment exposes you to civil and criminal penalties when your are off-line, why should your on-line conduct be immune from prosecution?

You don't understand.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19681285)

Many many many many children (people under the age of 18) don't consider the internet 'real life' see this article for reference.. IRL [encycloped...matica.com]..

So cyberbullying basically is unchecked because the anonymity of the internet. Some 13 year old kid can basically act however he wants behind his screenname. This same individual can also act completely normal IRL society. I kind of think of it as a brain disorder myself.

actually... (1)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680571)

..where's ist this news?

more and more folks go online. more and more folks use the internet to meet friends. and make friends. even make enemies, what a surprise.

as more things get done online, the negative sides of human interactions tend not to let anybody wait, after all it's humans doing human things. duh! in other news: in the early 1900 the number of carcrashes increased surprisingly...

Why in my day... (4, Insightful)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680599)

We used to be physically bullied. I would gladly have accepted a MySpace page full of personal attacks in place of a schoolyard full of actual ones.

Re:Why in my day... (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680821)

We used to be physically bullied. I would gladly have accepted a MySpace page full of personal attacks in place of a schoolyard full of actual ones.

It remains a corrosive experience, all the more so because the assault is anonymous.

Re:Why in my day... (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680863)

So you're saying the "bullies" described in the article aren't bullies at all?

Suppose you didn't have a thick skin from all them beatings?

Re:Why in my day... (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681123)

Sure about that? Cause the black eye I got in grade school went away in a couple of weeks. If instead I had been labeled as homosexual on the Web, replete with photoshopped pictures and "testimonials" from others, I might still be living with the consequences.

And to head off the PC "Being gay isn't wrong" responses, Catholic school in the 70's was NOT the place to be labelled a fag, true sexual orientation notwithstanding.

And to head off the other side of teh house, no, I do not think new laws need to be made. We just need to apply the old ones in an aggressive manner. Bullying shouldn't be tolerated, period. It is assault and/or battery, or stalking and harrassment. Just because it's kids doesn't mean it isn't wrong AND illegal.

Amen, sort of. (1)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681505)

Cyberbullying is only dangerous insofar as it leads to physical assault. It doesn't help that it isn't considered "real" assault when one kid kicks the **** out of another. I fully agree, we should aggressively enforce the laws we already have.

And none of that mess about both the aggressor and the victim getting expelled if they're caught fighting in school.

Re:Why in my day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19681703)

I would gladly have accepted a MySpace page full of personal attacks in place of a schoolyard full of actual ones.
I wouldn't. It's way too easy to smear someone over the Internet in a way that causes them problems for the rest of their life. Practically, every place of employment does Internet searches on potential employees and if too many negative things are directly attributable to you, regardless if they're true or not, you're not getting the job. If you're reasonably smart, it's easy to game the search engines and have the first dozen or so pages of search results for a particular persons name or email address return terribly misleading information

I'm not saying that we need new laws to police this (I didn't bother reading the article), I'm just making the point that it's not exactly as clear cut as you make it out to be in terms of which one is easier to get over.

The Pussification of Humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680619)

Tactics cited include being 'the victim of an aggressive email, IM or text message'


I'll kick your ass!

There, now everybody reading this thread can say that they've been cyber-bullied at least once in their life. No doubt you'll all need years of therapy to recover from such a horrifying ordeal.

How low does your self esteem go? (0, Redundant)

Ub3rT3Rr0R1St (920830) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680647)

I ask myself...To be the victim of a cyberbully: Does that even constitute as being victimized? Who in their right mind would even consider that as a cause for any reaction whatsoever, other than a hearty laugh at the expense of the loser who thinks picking on people over the internet puts him up on some sort of proverbial pedestal?

Now, don't get me wrong, I know there are very extreme cases where these issues can turn into cyberstalking, in which a person's actual, physical being is in jeopardy from actual, physical harm, but a few nasty e-mails, or a few comments in your myspace box? Come on! How much of a low self esteem do you have to let such anonymous and distant remarks get to you on some level?

Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you. Does that saying have any more meaning?! Doesn't anyone apply it anymore? Hell, if words can't hurt you, I doubt text can do any more. Atleast when someone is spewing insults at your face, you might feel inclined to cry or whatnot, but text? You don't even have to read it if you don't want to. People can be blocked from contacting you through many mediums. People can be banned.

This is just another way of showing us how we've declined as emotional entities. To show us just how damn sensitive people are when they're being taunted from someone they probably don't even know, and will probably NEVER meet. Those people need help. A lot of help.

A side note: (1)

Ub3rT3Rr0R1St (920830) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681005)

Sorry to the mods who found this redundant, but while I'm writing this, about 20 other people are saying it before I am, and I find it difficult to maintain a train of thought, while checking up on whether or not someone has posted something along the lines of what I'm about to post.

Re:How low does your self esteem go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19681359)

but words can never hurt you. Does that saying have any more meaning?!

What about the girl who had her cellphone stolen, only to have the thief take pictures of the thief's (underaged) crotch and messaged it to everyone on the girl's phonebook? Totally not damaging, right? The examples in the article are tame compared to the crap that goes on out there in the real world, but I wonder if you're not up there with the principals and teachers who can't even comprehend the worst that children can do, and therefore just ignore the kids who complain about getting assaulted in bathrooms by older students, just brushing it off with "boys will be boys".

Aside from that, it's just the people becoming "pussies", it's the employers who are looking harder and harder for any excuse to fire anyone for any reason. You have to be on your guard 24x7 because you might end up having a life, and having a life includes things that might be embarrassing or unwise like going to a party in a public space where someone might take your picture. Consider the "Drunken Pirate" case from a week or two ago. Someone else takes a picture, adds the caption "drunken pirate" and posts it on the internet. I guess words never hurt the teacher who lost her job.

Normally, I wouldn't care. (4, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680661)

I learned how to ignore bullies back in high school. But that's in meatspace, where everything is ephemeral. In online forums, comments and rumors about me are all but permanent, and available for any potential employer (or private investigator) to see.

I wonder if/when libel laws will be applied to moronic posts made to Myspace, Facebook and the plethora of phpBB boards out there.

Re:Normally, I wouldn't care. (1)

MXPS (1091249) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680737)

if some one cries over a vicious myspace message or an im, they need serious help and probably should be dealing with the serious issues before they worry about cyber-bullying. what happened to taking a kids lunch money on the playground, man those were the days...

Re:Normally, I wouldn't care. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680793)

Yes, we'd love to hire you Mr. Circuit, but it says here on "CoolMan"'s blog that you're a fairy and you wet your pants. I'm afraid we don't want any pants wetters in our company, so we can't hire you. Good luck on your job search, though.

this is new how? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19680723)

The only real difference I can see between "cyberbullying" and traditional childish behavior is that now we can have a persistent record of how much of a jerk your precious little child can be when you aren't looking.

I was sort of a victim of this; (0)

Doddman (953998) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680757)

http://stealthfries.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] to see what I did

Re:I was sort of a victim of this; (1)

Ub3rT3Rr0R1St (920830) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680961)

Not to offend, but man, it's painfully obvious that he's very very young. Anyone in their right mind would've told you to buzz off, and block you. ;p You just came off as a "cyberbully" there, along with your friend. XD Again, I mean no disrespect.

Re:I was sort of a victim of this; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19681329)

http://stealthfries.blogspot.com/ to see what I did
In response: RETARDED! Nya nya nya nya, kay eye ess ess eye in gee

We need a war (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680805)

This is ridiculous. People are becoming such neurotic queens (no relation to sexual orientation, thx) that they can't be offended, are afraid of conflict, and won't stick their necks out because someone might disagree. As a result, we can't make decisions, and we get weak.

"Saigon, shit. I'm still only in Saigon. Every time I think I'm going to wake up back in the jungle. When I was home after my first tour, it was worse. I'd wake up and there'd be nothing... I hardly said a word to my wife until I said yes to a divorce. When I was here I wanted to be there. When I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I've been here a week now. Waiting for a mission, getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room I get weaker. And every minute Charlie squats in the bush he gets stronger."

Transcript [corky.net]

Re:We need a war (1)

doombringerltx (1109389) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681001)

We need a war besides the one we already have?

Re:We need a war (1)

HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681435)

Yes. Not some war in a distant place, but right here. In our cities, disrupting our lives, truly threatening our freedoms. Let people wonder if they can get food today rather than whether or not someone at school posted a photoshopped picture of them pleasuring someone, called them a fag, or any other useless inanities.

I agree we need a war.

That's it ... (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680871)

That's it, the final straw. We have to shut down the internet RIGHT NOW. Won't someone please think of the children?!?

The difference (1)

Dusty00 (1106595) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680889)

It really seems absurd to me to separate bullying out into different categories based on the medium through which it takes place. Spreading rumors, someone repeating what you'd told them in confidence to humiliate them, it's all been around probably since the beginning of time. The secret to doing it is that you can't get caught. Do whatever you want just don't let the teacher see you do it. The difference with Cyberbullying is that it's being hid through anonymity rather than stealth. It's for a teacher to ignore a he-said-she-said not having seen it happen, but if it takes place on the net, there's on denying that it took place, you just might not know who did it. I for one am glad it's getting some attention. I just hope those addressing the issue will realize the problem does not lie in the internet. Just my two bits...

anonymity and its dangers (1)

interglossa (1110251) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680951)

I and a couple of other people at my site regularly get odd IM messages from a co-worker here at Harvard who we know as very gifted but mentally unstable. The details are quite disturbing but I am not inclined to share them publicly. I absolutely put this in a different folder from cyberbullying among young people. It has more to do with the aberrant behavior rampant among the gifted.

I get misty... (4, Insightful)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 6 years ago | (#19680999)

[RANT MODE ON]

Kids these days are such pussies.

I get a little misty when I recall the times when getting my ass kicked at school for being a dork was just a way of life. It didn't kill me but it made me stronger. I can't imagine being intimidated by some other dork's IM, e-mail, or MySpace post.

I miss the days before we had to have cops patrolling the hallways as if the kids were in prison. I miss the days when kids just got into a little fight and that was that. Now, parents sue each other or even go to jail.

Sure, we could blame it on violence on TV or video games but they are a reflection of our culture--art immitating life. No kids even dreamed of pulling off a school bombing/shooting like Columbine in the 70s or 80s.

What's happened over the last 25-30 years? Maybe kids just need attention because their parents are addicted to the internet, drugs, work, TV, porn, or themselves? Or maybe they just need to get their ass whipped now and then in small doses (vice mass murder)? Maybe we should just pay more attention to them?

Seriously though--cyberbullying? puh-leez!

We keep putting up all these little rules to keep terrorists from blowing us up; or to keep kids from shooting up their schools; or to keep other bad random things from happening again. How about we look at the root cause for all the violence? I suppose the government (local, state, or federal) will magnanamously step in and declare cyberbullying a terroristic threat but that won't deal with the real issue: people in this country, including our kids, feel angry, frustrated, and violent about something.

When I was a kid, we felt scared all the time because of the Cold War--the Russians were going to bomb us any damn day. Today, we live in constant fear of everything--getting blown up by terrorist, shot by a crack head car jacker, mowed down by a drunk driver, run off the road by a road-raged commuter, crazy-ass snipers firing from the trunk of the car, drive-by shootings, attacked by stalkers, etc., etc., etc....

Now we have to fear intimitading electronic communications? Seriously--WTF?

I am at a total loss for what is wrong with us--as a society. Maybe we need to legalize marijuana--at least for a couple of weeks, and get everyone to just chill the f**k out and quit preying upon each other? I've never smoked but my friends who do/have are the least likely people to do ANYTHING much less commit an act of violence--unless you consider fighting over a bag of Cheetos "violent."

OK, maybe declaring a national Green Day (redefining "Green Peace") isn't a solution, but our whole country is edgy and willing to kill. Something is wrong.

Cyberbullying is the LEAST of our freaking problems.

[/RANT MODE OFF]

IF I EVER MEET YOU I WILL KICK YOUR ASS!!! (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681057)

Talk about the pussification of /...
In the old days the subject would have been posted at least 50 times by now.

MMORPGs (2, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681083)

I would say that any mature adult that has frequented any kind of MMORPG is more than keenly aware of the hordes (no WoW pun intended) of emotionally unbalanced, immature, socially irresponsible teenagers running around the place, many of which that, protected under the cover of anonimity, find pleasure and boost their egos by trying to ruin other people's games.

The anonimity of the Internet removes some of the greatest shackels on action (retribution, public shaming, public shunning) for those which feel empowered and have their egos boosted by harassing others (typically, but not exclusively, the above mentioned immature teenagers).

This has been going on ever since the Internet has been opened to people beyond the confines of academia (probably even before).

Personally i would like adults only servers for most MMORPGs to avoid wasting any of my precious 3h/day of playing because of some griefing kid, but that's a different story ...

Age ain't nothing but a number (2, Insightful)

Nilych (959204) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681339)

What makes you think only kids behave that way? I know a few grandparents who get their kicks being asses in online games.

The problem is people behave that way under the veil of anonymity (see the Penny-Arcade raving internet fuckwad theory). It isn't limited to any age group, nationality, race, etc. There must be a limiting factor, maybe sense of humor or intelligence, that prevents everyone on the internet from behaving that way. Or so I hope.

"the victim of an aggressive email, IM, SMS" (2, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681165)

Given the large audience of Slashdot, this gives me the change to become the biggest cyberbully on the continent:

you're all morons!!

Get a thicker skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19681171)

Really, sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never, ever , ever, harm you.

On the other hand, releasing private confidential information should be a privacy violation.

bullying vs libel, not really new anyway. (1)

Grendol (583881) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681247)

Where the threshold is, is best answered by the legal authorities. Illegal libel does happen on a common basis, but is not always legally answered. Usually a publicized conviction and a good explanation to users of things is a good first step to getting a point across, but the liability of the host networking sight might also be in question for some level of aiding the publishing of the libel. The tangled web of criminal liability for the creation and publishing of illegal libel that is often viewed as petty in most scales of the real world makes this a potentially pointless legal quagmire that probably will never by neatly solved.

Hence, realities such as described below are always going to be with us.

Dick libels Jane by posting on a Social Networking Site (S.N.S.) that she has cooties.

Jane's parents call Dick's parents.

Dick's parents say that they will look into it, question Dick who lies, and take his words as true. Being ignorant of the reality of how "this whole S.N.S./internet thing works" Dick's parents pretty much ignore the issue.

Jane's parents are upset by the inaction and call the law enforcement.

The D.A.'s office says it is too busy prosecuting real criminals.

Jane's parents lawyer is happy to oblige at $150/hr fee to notify the said social networking site to cease and desist.

The S.N.S.'s team of $250/hr lawyers respond with a user agreement copy highlighted to show limitations of liability, and make no promises other than to defend the S.N.S from any further legal pursuits by Jane in this matter.

Jane's parents weigh the cost of pursuing the issue with the cost of a family vacation or a car down payment, and decide not to pursue the matter.

Jane tells her boyfriend John about Dick's posting.

Jane's boyfriend John alleges that he will use physical force to make Dick pay for his actions.

Dick posts that John has cooties now because he caught them from Jane.

The vicious cycle continues, Dick, Jane, et.all have increasing dislike for each other, they complete school and enter the real world with all the neurosis they nurtured, just like everyone else.

After we see all of this, and have seen it happen like this for several generations. Why do we expect there to be a new solution to this 'new problem' which is actually quite old, just because there is a computer involved?

No respect (4, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681297)

There is a general problem with people in North America today (I'll use Canada as example, that's where I live.) People are considered to be helpless children until the age of 12. They are grown to believe that they are completely untrustworthy and helpless before that age. You can't leave them alone anywhere for a minute, someone will call social services. You can't send them to go to a local store to pick up some food and maybe a bottle of Rum, I don't know why it's against the law here. By 6 y.o. I would already go to a food store to buy a few things, among other things a bottle of vodka and a pack of siggarettes too. Not a big deal, I brought that stuff back home, I was happy to help and didn't take any of the remaining change either. But that was Ukraine in the early eighties. Also I knew what the expectations were and I understood the consequences for misbehaviour. So I mostly didn't. If not everything was respect, then some of it was a dose of fear not to get into trouble, since the consequences were real.

Today in Canada on the on the hand, noone will send their kids anywhere until they are 12 (Canada is not the rest of the world, but they do believe here that they've got it right.) There is no chance in hell a kid could buy a bottle of alcohol and a pack of sigarrettes for his father. What the hell, why the hell not? Well, because the kids cannot be trusted here. Why is that? Well because they have no real consequences, no fear and no respect at all. Is it the kids' problem or the parents'? You can decide on your own about this one. But when you have kids with no respect for anyone, you'll have kids who will not understand reason and will be extremely selfish and will cause unnecessary difficulties and harm to others because they have no respect. Obviously the parents don't know what to do at all with kids like that, even worse, the parents will do everything in their powers to prevent their kids from facing any kind of consequences. When was the last time that a parent punished a kid for misbehaving at school, how about punishing the kid when they are rude to their teachers? The parents will prefer to side with the kid and even will attack the teacher and the school, maybe even will threaten with legal actions.

Why are parents afraid and unwilling to teach their kids good manners and respect to others? Maybe they are afraid of the kids themselves, scared of being accused by the legal system that they are abusing the kids? Proably this is part of the problem. Whatever it is, the conclusion is this: parents are not teaching their kids good behaviour, kids are not picking up any kind of good behaviour anywhere else either, kids become spoiled and even dangerous, since they don't have respect for others.

The truth is that children will be mean when they can be, they are basically mean animals until they become human (if it ever happens.) Thus there is bullying. But as someone else said, bullying always existed but it used to be real, not cyber. Maybe the answer to everything will be a completely disconnected cybersociety where people don't have to communicate with each other in reality?

Re:No respect (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681675)

What has been hammered into children over the past 40 years or so is that their parents, school authorities, police and government do not deserve respect because of their position. Any respect they are to be given must be earned.

This opens the door to all sorts of nonsense, such as the parent backing the child when the child is rude to or even physically assaults a teacher.

Of course the parents are afraid of their children turning them in to the police for abuse. Why do you think "child abuse" is such a significant crime today when it is clear that parents were as a rule far more abusive towards their children 50-100 years ago. This is clearly separate from the parents that lock their kid in a cage until age 12 or some nonsense like that. Ordinary "discipline" of 1930 would get a parent thrown in jail today.

Copyright is mostly a matter of respect and practicality. In 1960 it may not have been practical to copy a book or a record for an individual but there was also an underlying understanding that it was just somehow "wrong" to do so. Today any semblance of respect is gone and it is extremely practical to copy and redistribute everything digital. Wrong? I don't know anyone that actually believes downloading music via P2P services is wrong. If they aren't doing it they would like to but have only a dial-up Internet connection at home.

Consequences? There are no consequences on the Internet. Unless you really, really motivate someone you will be protected by layers of agents and businesses that have decided it is their job to protect their customers and users. This of course leads to getting away with just about anything until someone keeps pushing the limit too far.

Dude (0, Flamebait)

malkir (1031750) | more than 6 years ago | (#19681299)

Why is there a 'Delete Cyber Bullying' ad on the side of /.? Nerds are the ultimate cyber bullies, I'd be more afraid of real-life people bullying than on the internet. What a bunch of tools.
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