Guest Post: Cyber Bullying

We don’t often tackle serious subjects here in the kingdom.  As a Jester, I find it difficult to do much more than be silly day in and day out.  However, bullying is a topic that I will not shy away from and when Hayley asked me if she could do a guest post about Cyber Bullying I readily agreed.  Take a minute and read what she has to say.  Perhaps we can hash out a solution in the comments:

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Firstly, I would like to say anyone who regularly visits this blog has extremely good taste. Matt is a wonderful person, and an awesome blogger, and I am glad to have found a fantastic blogger friend- when there are so many web trolls out there.

Matt wrote an awesome post for me, which included a poem. I had tried my hand at poetry thanks to another awesome blogger Bob, and Matt did the same in his post. I love poetry but it’s not something that comes natural to me. Anyway, I have been wanting to return the favour for a long time now, and I never ever wanted this to be the subject. I even had a totally different topic in mind, a much more positive topic. Sadly I feel that I need to say this as I have become a victim of cyber abuse. I have been using WordPress for well over a year now and in that time I have made many friends but I have also somehow become a victim. I personally hate that word, because it makes me sound weak and I believe underneath all the hurt and sadness I am a strong person.

Definitions of Cyberbullying: The use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidation or threatening nature. Children may be reluctant to admit to being the victims of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is the use of the internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner.

Cyberbullying is something that is happening more and more. Something that is sadly much more common than most people realise. Blogging and the use of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Flixster and YouTube has put more and more people in the line of target with these sick individuals. What each of us have to remember that this is not our fault. This is something I know deep down but when you are constantly receiving messages putting you down after a while the sad reality is you do start to doubt yourself. I have drove my family and my best friend crazy worrying about things my abuser has said. For me, my friends and family who know about this have been so supportive. Thanks to Matt I am here blogging again…I have really enjoyed writing reviews and just generally chatting to other bloggers, but thanks to my tormenter I am just too scared, even when I haven’t blogged I still receive nasty messages commenting on my appearance or in response to something I have tweeted. I used to love getting comments to my posts now I dread reading them.

Blogging is supposed to be fun but when you are in tears from the harmful things that have been said how can you go back?. I am a big kid at heart and I have regularly posted reviews and musings on Disney films. Do I deserve to be slated for that? Having an imagination doesn’t make you stupid or childish. I see it as mere escapism and what’s wrong with that???

14-year-old Hannah Smith from Leicester is the latest child to take her life having suffered at the hands of cyber bullies. This is what really makes me sad. Hannah used a website called Ask.fm and her abusers where able to post anonymously. Her family are now trying to make sure that anonymous posting is banned. I believe this would be a good thing. As I have had abuse from people who are not bloggers, and let’s face it on the internet any of us can have any name, location and picture.

Here’s another piece I wrote in the early stages of my WordPress life.

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Make sure you click on the link above, it is another great post on the subject, and then come back here and let’s see what we can solve together.  Have you or anyone you know ever been bullied?  Have you found any solutions to bullying in your life?  Let’s figure this one out for the betterment of our world.

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61 thoughts on “Guest Post: Cyber Bullying

  1. Bullying, cyber bullying, schnyber bullying. They’re all the same vicious, malicious maleficent shameful acts that depraved insecure myopic narcissistic people preoccupy themselves with to eke out little moments of self adulation at the expense of other people. “I will viciously tear you apart so I can feel better about myself for a fleeting moment.”

    Wrote about the bloody sport here: http://wp.me/pYeWf-1z3

  2. I mentioned the Hannah bullying case on my blog a little while back. But of course she is just one of thousands of people that are victims to cyber bullying, both kids and adults alike. Whilst I think that not being able to post anonymously should be the norm anyway ( and I believe ask fm are looking to change their site) I don’t thinks that will stop it. People will hide their tracks via other methods.

    I must admit I am unable to get into the mindset of a victim of cyber bullying. If someone mailed me a s****y comment, I would probably ignore it and block that person from my blog. Never respond to it, as if you do then you are giving that person more ammunition. This would be difficult for me as my first reaction would want to hurl a bucket of obscenities at them.

    If I was on last.fm for example I would close the account and open another, I would report it to last.fm, and the police as they say that they treat these things very seriously.

    It has been explained to me before about the “why” people don’t tell others about the abuse, and all those responses made sense (I am on an iPad so don’t know how to link the post) but even so I still think that as long as your know exactly what these people are doing then fuck em (pardon my French). “Stick and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”

    Of course people are affected, and my method, or train of thought isn’t (obviously) good for everyone. But what can be done? Would an “alarm” button on Facebook work? Would a lack of anonymity work? I am not sure that it would.

    Perhaps all these sites need a option where the only people that can contact you are people that you know, a bit like a firewall has an exclude all list. Of course in this day and age of sharing every minute detail of your life with everyone’s in the world that is counterproductive, but lets say my blog for example, I would have an explicit list, those people can comment etc at will.

    If anyone outside of that list contacts you it is filtered for keywords that detect cyber bully negative language for example, if it does the person never sees it and the sites in question has a copy sent to an abuse team for investigation. If it seems ok, then the person can read an excerpt of it and then decide if its ok, if so they add that email to the explicit list.

    These options for explicit lists can be turned on or off, but the default is on.

    • The filtering seems complicated… but could be a good idea, and certainly should be within the realm of possibilities.
      As for why we let the words of others affect us… well, when you write something you are proud of and you get a lot of praise on it, don’t you let that positivity affect you? If you are letting in all those good comments it can be difficult to not let in the bad comments to. Once you open yourself up it can be hard to pick and choose which responses you want to have an emotional response to. Even your desire to fling obscenities is an example of emotional response – that’s how you would react, others don’t have that within them… we can get too sucked into the “trying to be a good person,” “trying not to rock the boat,” “trying to get along with everyone” roles, and so we stay silent and absorb the abuse, when we shouldn’t, and we know we shouldn’t. Over time that absorbed abuse builds up and makes it harder and harder to stand against it.

      • I get that portion of it; so I understand that people would get hurt by negative comments. By posting online you are opening yourself up to people, people you know and stranger alike. I think in many ways the scourge of social media has a lot to answer for.

        What I don’t understand (even though people have commented on the whys, and I understand those opinions) is peoples reaction to them, and yes I read about peer pressure and all that oter stuff and of course it is there and people react in different ways, I think my train of thought is because I have not been a victim of cyber bullying, if I am then I may well react in a completely different way to how I think I would react. We hear about the suicides, self harming etc. it is done every day sadly and of course it shouldn’t but what realistically can you do?

        There are a number of questions that have to be asked.

        Can you stop these trolls/cyber bullies/low lifes? Yes or no

        I believe that the answer is no, you will not stop them, not completely anyway, you may make it harder but these idiots do this for giggles and where there is a will there is a way.

        If you cannot stop them but can make it harder for them to do then how do you achieve that? To me you have to make your social media less accessible to every Joe in the world? After all if you leave your front door open for all to see then soon a bad person will walk into your house. So how can you make is still social, but restricted enough to stop people who mean to do harm?

        Well you have to have some kind of filter, being your site you won’t want some stranger dictating who or what gets through to you but these cyber bullies must have something that gives them away, their words, so if you can filter those words before they get to you then that again reduces exposure.. maybe.

        The only real alternative to that is don’t use social media…

        Say for example when I first commented on your site on you on mine and it was a torrent of abuse, what would you do? Block me, report me, you certainly wouldn’t engage in conversation. Although it is horrible and shouldn’t happen, you will always get these people cropping up, part of the defence is to have the mindset that these people are nothing, they are pond life and should be treated with the contempt that they deserve. Because if a solution does come into play and these people bypass that, what next?

        Sorry about the novel 😀

      • Novels never need to be apologized for. 😉

        I understand what you are saying. And, at the same time, I hate to think that the good people need to curb their behavior for fear of the bad people. Why should we have to shut our doors if want to leave it open to get a breeze going through our house? Why should we have to chain up our bikes in our own garage? Why should I potentially miss out on meeting good people because I’ve made my privacy settings so strict that no one can find me anymore? Sure, I’ve kept out the bad people but I’ve kept out the good as well…

        It’s not that simple. Agreed.

        And there won’t be a simple solution to this growing problem. But, just by raising awareness, but rallying the good people together we can be on the look out for each other. We can stand together, give each other strength to carry on. Perhaps that is the best “solution” we will have for now.

      • Indeed and that is why you have the option to turn off that filter. or add to it, for example I know no one personally that is following my blog.

        They would be on my explicit allow list, they would post and id get it.

        someone out side of that list would be filtered, I would get to read what they write but it wouldnt be “live” on my blog or facebook, or ask.fm etc.

        If its abusive I have a block option, that blocks that username and ip address (although they can be masked), i also have the option the add to the explicit yes list.

        This way you can still expand your list, and keep out the bad, sure you can still get to read that stuff, but it filtered from the rest of your social media, you still need to have the mindset to to recognise it for what it is and try and ignore what it is trying to achieve.

      • And what if they started out nice, friendly, relateable? What if their comments were engaging and happy, and then over time turned sour? Sure you could block them. Sure you could trash their comments and not worry about responding to their filth. But… the damage has already been done, right? Because you thought they were a friend, you thought they could be trusted, and then over time the started to demean you, started to make you second guess yourself, etc… There is no filter than can protect you from a situation like that.

        There is no way to know how you will react, how that situation will affect you, until you’ve been in it either.

        I haven’t been cyber bullied, but I was bullied a lot in school. And I kept putting myself in situations that made it easier to be bullied because occasionally those kids were nice to me, occasionally they’d let me into their circle, and since they were the “cool kids” I felt I was supposed to want to hang out with them. So, I understand very well about staying in a situation that opens myself up for abuse.

        Which brings me back to we shouldn’t have to change our behavior because of the actions of others. We need to continue to raise awareness. We need to continue to look out for each other and hopefully, in time, we can bring down the number of people engaging in bullying activities.

      • I wouldn’t know how to counter that situation, that is worse than them starting off that way because they have gained your trust then abused it. But still, and indeed we shouldn’t have the change our behaviour in an ideal world, but this isn’t an ideal world. Awareness can, and indeed should be raised but will it make any difference.

        If these people at the extreme end of the scale commit suicide over it will awareness stop that? they don’t speak to their friends or parents now so how would raising awareness help? at the lower end (and I don’t mean to demean it by saying lower end) you get people that feel bad about themselves, second guessing themselves, am I worthy type stuff, would raising awareness stop that person feeling that way? I am assuming Hayley is aware of cyber bullying, she had heard of it, and recently had experienced it and yet she still felt bad and negative thoughts about herself would more awareness make her feel better?

        I dealt with bullying at school too, although not on an extreme level, when you get involved in something that involves other humans that you don’t know you need to be prepared that there will be some that will be nasty people (awareness does that to a degree but it won’t stop it happening) so when it happens you have to recognise it for what it is and how you deal with that is up to you because if you cannot deal with it, then it will get worse and worse, especially if you don’t talk to others that do care, and even if you do do that will their words of comfort make you feel better or will the words of the bully be stronger and stay will you?

      • Sorry missed a bit, about being on the look out for eachother… one of the main issues is that people dont speak about this, they take it to heart, they let it eat at them and they dont discuss it with those around them, so we will never know, we would not be able to stand together because we have let the words of the bullies affect us.

      • Which is why we are talking about it now. We are letting others now that it is okay to speak up. They are right to feel like the comments are unwarranted. They will not be alone.

      • There you go that is an example in point. You needed time to sort your thoughts, feelings etc before you felt ready to talk about it.

  3. Hayley, I haven’t had the pleasure, but I’d like to say I’m sorry for the things that happened to you. There are some people who have nothing better to do than ruin other people. Try to ignore it the best you can and know that there are still good people out there.

  4. Wow, this subject takes my breath away because it is one that is near and dear to my heart. Long story, but it is definitely something that causes deep damage. My 14 year old niece has been a target of cyber bullying for approx. 2 years. It started when she was 12 in Grade 7, not just by a couple of kids, a large number of them, they seem to rally in faceless mobs. Facebook, text, ask.fm. all of these platforms were used in her case. All of this has lead to cutting, depression/anxiety, suicide attempts and hospitalization. She is now medicated and has missed her whole first year of junior high school.In this particular case when parents of the bullies were notified most chose to not believe that their children could ever be so terrible. As a parent I believe we MUST educate our kids about all this social media about the limits and how just one text or message can ruin someones reputation. In the hands of the anonymous Cowards who bully, this technology can be likened to holding a loaded weapon. It will be a long road of recovery for my family, my parents and my sisters kids and husband too, as it not only hurts individuals it can hurt a whole family. My great hope is that she can find strength, rise above and learn and hopefully educate other targets and bully’s one day. Thank you for raising awareness! 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing about your niece. The more stories we hear, the more we see how pervasive the problem is, the faster we can spread the word, the faster we can get to those who are being bullied and need to know that it’s okay to stand up, people will help them through it.

    • Woah. I am touched by your comment and I hope your niece is on the road to well being. It’s horrible when I was bullied at school it made me dread going and I’d always liked school, learning and friends. I started blogging since studying journalism I never expected me as a person to be judged and picked on. My tormentor commented on my profile pic where I am clearly messing around on holiday, stating that i have a posture issue I cannot remember the technical name they used. This one comment had me paranoid and in tears and I even ended up having a semi row with a best friend because of this.

      • I am sorry you ever had to go through this in your life. The good news is you are educating and spreading awareness that this is a big problem that sadly exists and just the fact that you are speaking out and still blogging sends a stronger message that no tormenting troll will ever have the power over you. My niece however is still in the thick of it, she is a little broken bird that has lost her wings to fly.

  5. Well done Hayley! You are not the weak one in this situation. It’s the person that is sending you abuse. They must be very insecure and disturbed if all they have to do is put someone down all the time. I’d hate it if you were put off future blogging because of them, I always enjoy reading your posts.

  6. Thanks for sharing a serious post … sometimes a little seriousness in The Kingdom isn’t such a bad thing.

    I don’t know that there’s a quick-fix to cyber bullying — or to bullying in general. We can talk about it more, condemn it more, but there will always be bullies. (or am I just being overly pessimistic?)

    I’m encouraged that many sites are no longer offering anonymous comments, and, are in fact requiring people to log-in with their Facebook page (yes, one can create a fake FB page), but when we start having to identify ourselves by name, and the comments we leave elsewhere can be seen more publicly by people we know (like, on our FB pages), perhaps this is a good thing. I was reading that social shaming is actually an effective way to end someone’s ignorance. Let’s say you left a bullying comment for me, and that comment showed up on your FB page, saying “The King commented on the following post:”, and then left the text of your bullying message, everyone on your FB page would see the mean thing you said, and be able to respond.

    Being able to hide anonymously once seemed a good idea, but, it tends to bring out the worst of us, rather than the best of us. Each little step we take to ensure that people can’t hide behind walls of anonymity can only be a step in the right direction. I feel like it’s that step you take when you’re a kid, finally getting to sit at the big kids table, or even the adult table, at Thanksgiving… If you want to sit at the adult table, you have to act like an adult. (This of course leads to an entirely new discussion on just how bullying adults can be).

    I’m glad you posted this. Each time someone shares a story of being bullied, I think it’s a good thing. I wrote mine (one of them, anyway) over on my poetry blog, and, I think as we begin to learn that bullying is not just small, isolated incidents, that when we see all the stories, we begin to understand just how widespread, and how devastating, these incidents can be.

  7. too often there are so many awards shared.. the one that i loved the most was the wordpress family award.. and this is indeed the true award.. the TRUE WORDPRESS FAMILY.. ur bully must be sitting in one corner of the room and will be ashamed at the power of the community… his own words will torment him one day… there is PAYBACK always.. he will have to bite his own words and this post and comments and interaction is a proof that no matter how bully bullies are, love shines and wins 🙂 🙂

  8. Having been stalked slightly in R/L, one thing I did was block that person on FB. I’ve since found out that while I can’t see his activity on FB, he can see when I post on the comment of someone who has both of us as friends. This, to me, is wrong. If I’ve blocked that person, I don’t want them to be able to see me. If all websites were able to offer something like this, then that would perhaps make things a bit easier for those who are being abused.

    And I think one of the reasons people don’t get all up in arms about bullying is because we call it bullying. It makes it sound like it’s a childish problem that we should just ignore, when actually it would be more accurate to call it abuse, because that’s what it is. If we said that Child X is abusing Chid Y at school, then people would have to do something about it. But saying that Child X is bullying Child Y at school, then everyone just seems to accept that it’s part of school life and is somehow acceptable.

    So there are two thoughts of mine that may help us to help ourselves and others.

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