Cyberbullying and its many unsavory aspects – 4/17/2010

Bullying is a problem that impacts every institution of learning. It’s common for one strong individual to torment a weaker person for entertainment. It is also a problem that has been long ignored by schools.

Sure, schools claim to have a zero-tolerance policy against bullying while embracing programs to reduce the problem. In reality, most of it has been talk only, while some anti-bullying campaigns have made it easier to identify the easy targets (like the “beat bullying” wristbands).

Bullying is a problem that can only be solved with action. All a victim has to do is confront his or her tormentor and engage the bully in a manner that will ensure the individual now has a reputation of being aggressive. However, this only works against bullies at school. There is still the problem of cyber bullying.

Traditional school bullying brings physical and emotional harm to an individual; cyber bulling causes harm to one’s reputation. As stated by Robert Greene in “The 48 Laws of Power,” a reputation defines an individual’s power, and so one must protect it at all costs.

On rare occasions have cyber bullies manipulated the emotions of an individual, which resulted in someone having an emotional breakdown. The most well known was Megan Meier, who committed suicide after being emotionally tormented online by Lori Drew, the mother of Meier’s friend.

Cyber bullying not only causes great harm but it’s also an issue that is difficult for an individual to deal with. The problem with cyber bullying is that one can’t show force or act aggressively because of the social stigma associated with fighting online. By doing so, one has dug himself or herself into a deeper hole of embarrassment. Also, most bullying is done anonymously so it is difficult to hunt down the bully in person.

Like the issue of traditional bullying, this is a problem that school districts have failed to properly handle. Too often the solutions are a pep talk to the entire school by a counselor or a teacher telling students to “be nice.”

This is a problem that only teachers can solve. It should be the responsibility of the instructor to identify students who could be the victims of cyber bullying and to work with counselors to help the student, while taking disciplinary action against students who participate in the harassment.

Or the victim could take action against those who are rumored to be tormenting him or her. The culprit may never be revealed after breaking the faces of a few individuals. This will send a message to other students that you are not a person to mess with.

Written for La Voz Weekly
4/17/2010
Original Article: Cyberbullying and its many unsavory aspects

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About Stan Rezaee
I'm a writer from San Jose who has contributed to several online and print publications.

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