Why Cyber Bullying Flourishes on the Web

by TessaSchlesinger

by Tessa Schlesinger. CyberBulling is alive and well. It’s protected by entrepreneurs and those who indulge in it have been responsible for more than a handful of suicides.

So why is this vile practice so prevalent? Why do website owners permit its continuance? And why are there now so many people who feel that they have a right to harm other people through their words? Why are there so few people who speak out as it is happening? And is there a way in which we can stop this trend from going any further?

Cyber Bullies Move in Packs

CyberBullies on the Internet

You could be talking to a cyber bully right now and not know it because cyber bullies only come alive on the web.

I know that since my advent to the web eighteen or nineteen years ago, I have met thousands. Say anything which, in some manner, counters what they are saying, and they will immediately begin to disparage your character. There is no way of countering this because, even if you provide evidence to the contrary, they will ignore the evidence, take it out of context, and immediately insult and belittle you in some way. More to the point, the pack of like-minded individuals who support this kind of bullying will join in and, in no time at all, you will be demolished. What is interesting is that very few will come to your defense. I suspect it is because they are too scared of being attacked as well.

So why is this kind of barbaric behavior so prevalent now.

I have some answers, none of which is flattering to the type of individuals who indulge in this kind of interaction.

Packers cheerleader fights bullying after thousands of Bears fans post nasty comments about her looks on Facebook Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/a
A brave Wisconsin cheerleader has taken a stand against bullying after a photo of her was posted on Facebook with a caption that made fun of her looks. Kaitlyn Collins, a cheerleader for the Green Bay Packers, says the picture was uploaded on the Chicago Bears Fan Facebook page on February 4 with the note, 'Like if You Agree The Packers Have The Worst Cheerleaders in The NFL!'

Teen who posted video about cyberbullying commits suicide
Amanda Todd, 15, of Canada, killed herself one month after she posted the heartbreaking YouTube video, which details her experience being bullied and tormented, after a topless photo she shared with someone in an Internet chatroom surfaced at school.

Erin Gallagher, Irish Teen, Commits Suicide After Battle With 'Vicious' Cyberbullying
A 13-year-old girl took her own life over the weekend after enduring "vicious online bullying," reports say. According to the Irish Independent, Erin Gallagher of Ballybofey was reportedly found dead by relatives on Saturday night. The teenager had allegedly "warned her tormentors" that she was intending to commit suicide only 24 hours before.

Stop cyberbullying
StopCyberbullying was the first cyberbullying prevention program in North America. Its specially-trained young volunteers design and deliver community programs to help their peers address cyberbullying. StopCyberbullying's founder, Parry Aftab, calls them her "cyberarmy" empowered to tackle this important issue. These teens and tweens staff their own text messaging support line for other young people, build apps to promote kindness, and provide student peer support in their schools.

Anatomy of a CyberBully

What makes someone a Cyber Bully?

Not every cyber bully has the exact same qualities but they will have several of the attributes below.

  1. They have no power in their own lives and there are authorities in their own lives against whom they do not have the power to stand. So rather than confront the people or person in their own lives who is belittling them and making them feel powerless, they use the same methodology against others in order to retrieve the power they lost elsewhere.
  2. They simply have bad genes and are mean-spirited people. Increasingly evidence (read the twin and triplet studies in National Geographic awhile ago) shows that character is as much formed by our genes, epigenetics, and brain chemistry as anything else. Personally, I think that our environment is more likely to reveal what we are made of than to actually form our character. That said, I think success is dependent on our environment. In other words, character is innate while what we achieve with that character is determined by our environment. In other words, these cyber bullies are simply revealing who they really are.
  3. Cyber bullies are, at their core, cowards. They only come out when they can do so in numbers and in safety. It is the root of pack behavior which is about the most vicious and barbaric behavior in human existence. When two or more people are there to support each other in their evil, they have permission to be who they are.
  4. The web environment where entrepreneurs put money above any form of civilized and/or ethical behavior provides a safe environment for these primitive life forms. And make no mistake, people who indulge in this kind of behavior are barbaric and primitive. You question that? Civilized behavior is the opposite of being barbaric. Being civilized means to take other peoples’ situations and feelings into consideration. Barbaric means that one has no concern for others and one even enjoys their suffering. So, yes, these people are barbaric, and their numbers are increasing, thanks to the entrepreneurs who own the websites and put profit above civilization. This web environment also allows these people to congregate with those of their kind.
  5. There is little censure from those who are quietly incensed by this type of behavior. Part of this is the same reason that so many Germans remained quiet during the holocaust. They were too scared for their own safety. In addition, Stanley Milgram conducted experiments in the 50s to determine why so many people remained quiet when they knew something very wrong was happening. It appears that 96% of the population are so scared of authority that they will do what authority tells them even when authority is blatantly wrong. In any event, so we have now arrived in a time and place where uncivilized behavior is rapidly becoming the norm.

Taking Action Against Cyber Bullies

How to Stop CyberBullies.

So are you a cyber bully? Do you have terrible things to say to other people because you are supported by like-minded people? If so, shame on you. I have nothing more to say to you. You’re not my type.

On the other hand, if you’d like to be part of the solution, then it’s time to confront all the web owners who permit this kind of behavior on their websites. They are far too many to name. 

Have You Been Guilty of Cyberbullying?

It's not so easy to stop cyber bullies without combined and sustained action by everybody

Is it Difficult to Stop Cyber Bullies?

So here’s the issue. Many of these website owners do not want to invest money in this. It requires a fair-minded individual to look at all incidents. If the websites are large enough, it will require quite a few people.

Most websites do one of two things. They automate the feature so that you can click it and report it. The second is that they appoint ‘moderators’ to check for it. Neither of these issues work because the kind of people who volunteer to become moderators are the type of people who are cyber bullies themselves. The other thing is that cyber bullies decide to eliminate an innocent person by, collectively, clicking on the ‘report’ button for innocent people. Thus innocent people get penalized.

First steps in stoppying cyber bullies

Together we can stop cyberbullying

By beginning to publicly speak against these people, we can begin to make our disapproval felt. We can’t do it alone. We need each other. The attack by cyber bullies against people who take a stand is too vicious for any one person to endure it. We need to point it out whenever someone attacks the character (as opposed to pointing flaws in someone’s reasoning) and then we need to never speak to those people again. They need public censure. It is the only way it will stop. This includes removing ourselves en masse from websites where it is permitted - even if it means losing friends and money. That is the price of civilization! We sometimes have to sacrifice what we have in order to sustain what we want and need.

Updated: 02/09/2013, TessaSchlesinger
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TessaSchlesinger on 05/23/2013

katie, yes, it is, isn't it.

katiem2 on 05/23/2013

It's so cowardly to hide behind the net.

TessaSchlesinger on 02/11/2013

georgettejohn, the article was actually about adult cyber bullies. It's just that the youngsters get into the papers...

georgettejohn on 02/11/2013

There are just as many adult cyber bullies as there are teens and younger and to me, it is absolutely sickening.

TessaSchlesinger on 02/10/2013

teddletonmr,not sure if you've quite expressed what you mean to say. Do you mean that the absense of them enables people to do it more? If so, yes, I do think that.

teddletonmr on 02/10/2013

Hey Tess, I wonder if there is any correlation, political correctness, fears of lawsuits, and embolden cyber bullies.

TessaSchlesinger on 02/09/2013

Brenda, yup. Pack behaviour.... :)

BrendaReeves on 02/09/2013

It's behind the scenes mob behavior.

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