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Cyberbullying Gains Momentum in US 241

Posted by Zonk
from the water-off-of-a-duck's-back dept.
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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Cyberbullying Gains Momentum in US

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  • by jshriverWVU (810740) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:00PM (#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.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:02PM (#19680435) Homepage Journal

      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.

      • by endianx (1006895) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:07PM (#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.
        • by jshriverWVU (810740) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:12PM (#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.".

          • by linguizic (806996) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:36PM (#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: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Mockylock (1087585)
            Take it back or I'll kick your ass.

            ;)
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Speaking of kids that need some realism injected into their lives:

            A child's tantrum onboard a Delta commuter flight forced a pilot to make an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport. The forced landing was caused by a fight over apple juice. A 4-year-old wanted apple juice and when the stewardess didn't get it quick enough, the child threw a tantrum, NBC 10 reported.http://www.nbc10.com/news/13575254/detail .html?dl=headlineclick [nbc10.com]

            While bullying and insulting frequently go to far, that is

          • by The Monster (227884) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:41PM (#19684449) Homepage

            But mom some kid in my class posted on MySpace that I'm a moron, sue him mommy
            The most pernicious aspect of this is that the people with the thinnest skins get to define "bullying", while they may do objectively worse things to the "bullies".

            Maybe that explains this curious wording:

            Tactics cited include being 'the victim of an aggressive email, IM or text message' and 'having a rumor spread about them online'.
            I've seen people complain in an online forum that someone's objections to an ideology constituted a personal attack against its adherents, then turn around and declare "open season" on those who espouse the alleged bully's competing ideology.

            Then they pat each other on the back for being so much more civil than the 'troll' they've just dispatched.

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:38PM (#19680971) Homepage Journal

          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: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jshriverWVU (810740)
            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: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by drinkypoo (153816)

              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

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by endianx (1006895)

            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".
          • 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 ..... 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.

            In some ways groups of humans work the same as packs of wolves or hyaenas. You get picked on and if you don't defend your self eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth you will get trampled. I was bullied in school, there was a bigger kid a year older than me who, whenever he saw me, would punch me square in the face to amuse his friends. For a while I did what my parents told me to do and tried to stay out of his way.... unsurprisingly that did not work. I suppose I could have tried to impress him and his crowd

        • by jedidiah (1196)
          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".
        • 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.

          One thing we've learned since Columbine, is that while it's an extreme example, it was not unique. I suppose, if we're willing to accept a school massacre every few years and dozens of individual killings, and thousands of student suicides, I suppose we don't really have to make an effort to teach our children that bullying

  • Nothing new (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vigmeister (1112659)
    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!
    • "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 i

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by vigmeister (1112659)
        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!
        • 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 p

          • by Vancorps (746090)
            That should be the lawsuit material then. If you can demonstrate a loss of credibility or lose a job over this stuff then you have a case for a lawsuit. If there is demonstrable harm done whether physical or otherwise then there is recourse in a lawsuit. Sounds reasonable to me. That said, how many people are cyberbullied once they are out of high school?
    • by westlake (615356)
      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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by vigmeister (1112659) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:23PM (#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!
        • by westlake (615356)
          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.

          Of course it is scary. It is meant to be scary. For precisely the same reason the same reason that laws against defamation, harassment, in any setting, are meant to be scary.

    • by vux984 (928602)
      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 cl
  • Riiight... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by morari (1080535)
    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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by giorgiofr (887762)
      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!
  • by scenestar (828656) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:05PM (#19680503) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:06PM (#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.
    • by GeckoX (259575)
      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.

      • What is the origin of bullying in a young, growing human being? I can think of four reasons:

        1. Parental lack of confrontation (as in fearful parents creating no boundaries for the child - anything goes).
        2. Parental neglect (again, no boundaries for the child, but there's abandonment issues here).
        3. Parental or fraternal abuse.
        4. Schoolyard or neighborhood abuse of third parties by victims of the first three.

        Please notice how 2, 3 and 4 are expressions of redirected anger. Also notice how 1, 2 and 3 come f
    • 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 big

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by moeinvt (851793)
      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 tha
    • by fredNonesuch (927976) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:58PM (#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.

    • by zCyl (14362)
      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 ma
  • ANother step (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:07PM (#19680537) Homepage Journal
    Eventually, nobody will believe anything about anybody on the interwebtubetruck

    Then it will hole no emotional effect on the people of that generation.

  • Apparently... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ajenteks (943860)

    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.
    • All teenagers are easy targets, unfortunately, but dealing with the assholes is part of what being a teenager is about. Some people are cruel. Some people are cruel beyond bounds...It happened to me, it happened to a lot of people. Hopefully you learned something from it, and stood up for someone else.

      Or maybe not. In the end, that's what you need: other people who care enough to stand up for you. Not the law, not the official authority figures; they don't matter really.
  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:09PM (#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.
    • by westlake (615356)
      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?

      • by TheWoozle (984500)
        I don't know that geeks make a selective argument about the nature of the Internet. Most of the intelligent discussions I've seen center around legitimate differences between the Internet and other arenas - and there are real, discernable differences. I don't think anybody's arguing that behavior "on the Internet" should enjoy special protection. But it may not be as simple as you suggest. Because the bullying is occuring over the Internet, civil and criminal penalties might not apply if the bully is is
      • by cdrguru (88047)
        Because the Internet means immunity to lots of people.

        Let's see what it would take to actually prosecute someone for "cyberbullying", shall we... The forum or IM server has a log with an IP address of where this came from. The can look up in about 10 seconds what ISP or other provider owns the IP address. The ISP has logs (for dynamic addresses) and customer records. The account holder (with the ISP) has an agreement that pretty much says whatever is going through that connection they are responsible fo
        • by westlake (615356)
          Layers and layers of people are protecting illegal acts on the Internet.

          and layer by layer that protection is being stripped away.

    • I would say it is fundamentally different than "offline" bullying, in that it's actually less serious since there's no credible threat of violence.
  • Why in my day... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peter Trepan (572016) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:12PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)
      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.

      • by bky1701 (979071)
        So you are seriously telling me you'd rather be physically assaulted than anonymously insulted? You need a reality check.
        • by westlake (615356)
          So you are seriously telling me you'd rather be physically assaulted than anonymously insulted? You need a reality check.

          Bullying is not insults. Bullying is harassment. Bullying is the systematic degradation of the victim. Bullying is fear and shame and terror. Bullying is the anonymous phone call at 3 AM.

          • by bky1701 (979071)

            Bullying is not insults. Bullying is harassment. Bullying is the systematic degradation of the victim. Bullying is fear and shame and terror. Bullying is the anonymous phone call at 3 AM.
            You'd take that over physical assault? Daily? You ever been physically assaulted, daily? It's worth saying phone calls have nothing to do with the internet, ether...
    • Tell that to the Dancing Jedi Knight Boy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by R2.0 (532027)
      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
      • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by R2.0 (532027)
          "Cyberbullying is only dangerous insofar as it leads to physical assault."

          I don't know. To use my previous example, if some teen girl blogs about how she saw my daughter in a liplock with another girl at the mall, and my girl was home at the time, why is that not libel? Or if my son starts getting "anonymous" emails about how he's going to get his ass kicked Wed. after school, is that not assault (the threat, as opposed to battery, which is the act)? Even aside from the fact that it probably won't happen
  • by Short Circuit (52384) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:17PM (#19680661) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:20PM (#19680709)
    All things considered, I'd rather have a nasty text message or two...
    than a punch in the face!
  • 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

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:37PM (#19680955)

    In other news, pseudo-sociotechnical words (PSTW) are gaining momentum.

  • I get misty... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by catdevnull (531283) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:39PM (#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]

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      just ask kieth, the creator of subeta.org.

      then again that was more internet terrorism than it was cyber bullying
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 (410832)
      "It didn't kill me but it made me stronger."

      Since when did "increased physical pain tolerance" equate with "stronger?"

      "I can't imagine being intimidated by some other dork's IM, e-mail, or MySpace post."

      Simple: after your daily beating, stills and movies of your beating taken from cell phones ends up in said medium. Think of it as a pleasant little reminder while enabling exponentially more people to laugh at the way you start to cry.

      "I miss the days before we had to have cops patrolling the hallways as i
  • Talk about the pussification of /...
    In the old days the subject would have been posted at least 50 times by now.
  • MMORPGs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aceticon (140883) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:45PM (#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 ...
    • 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.
      • This "age ain't nothing but a number" saying, when used in this context, is a load of crap. Do you hang out with ten year olds outside of work? Why not? After all, "age ain't nothing but a number." It makes practically no difference that there happens to be a couple of kids who are reasonably mature and a couple of adults that are complete jackasses. The reality is that the vast majority of people mature significantly and change their interests as they get older. You're far more likely to find reasona
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:50PM (#19681165)
    Given the large audience of Slashdot, this gives me the change to become the biggest cyberbully on the continent:

    you're all morons!!
  • 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 pett
  • No respect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @03:55PM (#19681297) Homepage Journal
    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?
    • by cdrguru (88047)
      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 s
      • On the one hand, I see stupidity every single day, in all kinds of people. My life experience is that the only respect your elders automatically earn is respect for outliving you. If they want me to respect their decisions, they need to show me their reasoning and not act stupidly and thoughtlessly. On the other hand, I got picked on a lot in school. Y'know, bowl cut, goofy glasses, dimples, kid in the back of the class who everybody picked on because they could get some kind of sadistic joy from it. I did
  • How dare you post this silly piece of trash article. I'm gonna use my e-thuggery to beat the living snot out of you Mr. Slashdot you cry baby pansy. Why don't you go back into your room and listen to The Killers new album you Grand Emo Queen of Sandy-Vaj from Tearland. You disgust me.
  • There is no such thing as cyberbullying. Guess what assholes, people are mean. They've always been mean. Which would you rather have? Some asshole chick or tude dude whacking off with one hand while s/he types some shit about you with the other or would you rather have that person in your face in person?

    Because if it were me if its online I don't care and if its in person I will whip the living shit out of them and stomp on them until they can't type anymore.

    If people talk shit about you online then just ac
  • the fucking internet is the only place where these shitting teenagers can use cunting naughty words without their bitch parents hearing, (please, note the sarcasm)

    the LOUDER and more frequently they say these words, the more adult-like they feel.
  • Crap, we're falling behind Japan in _everything_. There kids have already killed themselves over cyberbullying and the national government is finalizing anti-cyberbullying laws.

    We just can't compete with the Asian Tigers :/

  • Sure... "cyber-bullying" is a faceless, cowardly act of passive-agressive asshats with too much time on their hands, but where does the definition of it end where the definition of "cyber-terrorism" begins? At the rate things are going, the act of being a jerk toward those who piss you off will become a felony offense that could land you in a PMITA prison for a few decades while convicted killers still end up walking free after serving sentences that are only a fraction of that.

    (Of course, that's assuming y
  • Clearly someone's never had it happen to them.

    Let me tell you, you have not lived until you've had some nutjob with nothing but time on his hands and an internet connection devote himself to making your life miserable. It truly amazing what someone with no life, shame, or scruples is capable of doing to you.

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