What is cyberbullying? [ABW2013] Watch

Milostar
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As part of Anti-Bullying Week, we're doing a series of threads about bullying.

Judging by the sadly all-too-common news stories, cyberbullying is on the increase. As well as being upsetting and undermining self-confidence, it can have tragic consequences when victims of cyberbullying are driven to suicide.

You can read about the measures that we take to keep TSR safe here, and if you have any thoughts about other measures we can take to keep TSR bullying-free, you can post them on the thread "What more can TSR do to fight cyber-bullying?"

What are your thoughts and experiences of cyberbullying - have you or anyone you know been cyberbullied? What is cyber-bullying, and what's just light-hearted banter? How common is it? What should you do if you're being harassed and picked on online?

Remember, you can post anonymously if you like
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Treeroy
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I think "cyber-bullying" is not really an issue. Yes, people get themselves worked up over things people say to them on the Internet, but it's their choice if they want to block said person. On the Web, you can just close the browser, or log out, or block someone.

I'm a big believer in free speech and feel that you should be able to write whatever you want on the Internet, and if someone takes great offense then it is their problem, not yours.
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Viva Emptiness
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(Original post by Treeroy)
I think "cyber-bullying" is not really an issue. Yes, people get themselves worked up over things people say to them on the Internet, but it's their choice if they want to block said person. On the Web, you can just close the browser, or log out, or block someone.

I'm a big believer in free speech and feel that you should be able to write whatever you want on the Internet, and if someone takes great offense then it is their problem, not yours.
I kind of agree with this. Having been on the other end of abusive comments from strangers on the internet (can't for the life of me think why) I can confirm that it's not nice, it does make you feel a bit weird, but it's also fairly easy to brush off and log out/block the users. More needs to be done to teach people to deal with the effects, rather than trying to stop it.

Having said that, it becomes more of an issue when in conjunction with bullying IRL where the victim is subjected to harassment night and day.
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Rock Fan
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Cyber Bullying is a real problem and it hurts a lot if you get abuse online, I think more needs to be done to combat it. Obviously some people deal with it better than others.
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Lotus_Eater
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(Original post by Treeroy)
I think "cyber-bullying" is not really an issue. Yes, people get themselves worked up over things people say to them on the Internet, but it's their choice if they want to block said person. On the Web, you can just close the browser, or log out, or block someone.

I'm a big believer in free speech and feel that you should be able to write whatever you want on the Internet, and if someone takes great offense then it is their problem, not yours.
There's a difference between voicing disagreement and out-and-out-abusiveness. The right to be online peacefully is also important and where that conflicts with freedom of speech, I think society has a duty to protect the vulnerable. Nobody needs to post racist, sexist, homophobic (etc.) abuse. In real life they would rightfully risk prosecution and we need to be just as tough, if not tougher, on what occurs online.
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Tiger Rag
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I have been in this situation. To make it worse, I was followed around by someone and on this particular forum, we had no such thing as a block / ignore list and the admin were pretty much non-existent.

The forum I was originally bullied on, the mod team were rather ****. Unlike on here, you couldn't approach a mod and say "look, I am being bullied. Please can I have some advice / help?" They didn't care. There appeared to be this clique (I think that's the right word?) which also included the mods. The people in this clique could do no wrong and were allowed to do what they liked. The argument was that the forum was too big; so they couldn't do anything. The forum is about the same size as this one. So why can the mods here actually do something; yet, the mods on that other place couldn't?

It was rather pathetic in all honesty. I was followed around and called a liar.

One of these people came on to another forum I was a member of. She appeared to have issues with many members and would insult us for no reason. In the end, the admin publicly told her to either behave or she'll be banned.

There's a huge difference between disagreeing with someone and bullying. There are many peoples opinions on here I disagree with and vice versa. Me just saying I disagree isn't bullying in the slightest. Different if I was go around calling them names though.
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Can you be arrested for trolling, or abusing someone on TSR, out of interest?

I think most people on here, and other forums, have all said stuff similar to cyber bullies, even if just once in their lives, even if they consider themselves nice people, just saying.
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xDave-
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(Original post by Treeroy)
I think "cyber-bullying" is not really an issue. Yes, people get themselves worked up over things people say to them on the Internet, but it's their choice if they want to block said person. On the Web, you can just close the browser, or log out, or block someone.

I'm a big believer in free speech and feel that you should be able to write whatever you want on the Internet, and if someone takes great offense then it is their problem, not yours.
You can't block people making fake profiles of yourself, or stop them posting horrible comments or images publicly. You can report things like this, but there's lots that you can do within the rules to make someone's life hell, and it's a bit naive of you to think turning off your computer will solve that. Actually, stupid, not naive.
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Clone93
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(Original post by xDave-)
You can't block people making fake profiles of yourself, or stop them posting horrible comments or images publicly. You can report things like this, but there's lots that you can do within the rules to make someone's life hell, and it's a bit naive of you to think turning off your computer will solve that. Actually, stupid, not naive.
Okay, I tried direct and slightly offensive and it got me modded, so I'll try reasonable and less offensive. (because on this thread, much like real life everybody is nice to each other and everyone is reasonable all the time)

What does it matter if people are posting unkind comments? Does it physically injure you? No. Do you have to take them to heart? No. Do you even have to read them or acknowledge their existence? No. Being offended is a choice, no one can force anyone to be upset, it's their choice to be bothered by things. Personally I've always found attempts to upset me online to be humorous and I relish the opportunity to illustrate how little the people "cyberbullying" me mean to me by continuing with my life with only the briefest time spent to appreciate how funny it is that people think they can upset me with words on a screen.

While I admit not everyone can take everything in their stride as I do, the ability to simply ignore "abuse" online leaves no excuse for being a "victim" of cyberbullying.
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by Clone93)
Okay, I tried direct and slightly offensive and it got me modded, so I'll try reasonable and less offensive. (because on this thread, much like real life everybody is nice to each other and everyone is reasonable all the time)

What does it matter if people are posting unkind comments? Does it physically injure you? No. Do you have to take them to heart? No. Do you even have to read them or acknowledge their existence? No. Being offended is a choice, no one can force anyone to be upset, it's their choice to be bothered by things. Personally I've always found attempts to upset me online to be humorous and I relish the opportunity to illustrate how little the people "cyberbullying" me mean to me by continuing with my life with only the briefest time spent to appreciate how funny it is that people think they can upset me with words on a screen.

While I admit not everyone can take everything in their stride as I do, the ability to simply ignore "abuse" online leaves no excuse for being a "victim" of cyberbullying.
The comments aren't just unkind though. It's not nice to be told to go and kill / harm yourself. Been there, unfortunately.
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Clone93
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(Original post by OU Student)
The comments aren't just unkind though. It's not nice to be told to go and kill / harm yourself. Been there, unfortunately.
You don't have to actually go and do it you know, you don't even have to read it. I've been told to kill myself repeatedly, it doesn't bother me, because who are they to me? and why should I care about what they have to say. Next time it happens just say something along the lines of "you first" Something that shows you don't give a flying monkey's bottom about what they have to say. Or don't say anything at all. A mute target isn't any fun.
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Spring24
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Cyber bullying might seem a minor form of bullying as compared to physical, however this type of bullying is just as major as physical. It affects one's thoughts, It's a mental form of bullying which can also give same results just like physical. The person feels alienated online and does not feel like they can be themselves, this type of bullying should be eliminated.
This is a proven fact when young teenagers using websites e.g. Ask.fm or other social networking websites feel like they are being targeted or discouraged or even told to take their own lives by a stranger etc. This may at first trigger discomfort, unsafety or depression, but in long term it can contribute to one's major factors such as death e.g. suicide at a young age or even possibly later on in life as well.

Bruises can vanish in time, but nothing changes what was experienced or the words that came out, as these sadly will always remain.
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Clone93
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(Original post by Spring24)
Cyber bullying might seem a minor form of bullying as compared to physical, however this type of bullying is just as major as physical. It affects one's thoughts, It's a mental form of bullying which can also give same results just like physical. The person feels alienated online and does not feel like they can be themselves, this type of bullying should be eliminated.
This is a proven fact when young teenagers using websites e.g. Ask.fm or other social networking websites feel like they are being targeted or discouraged or even told to take their own lives by a stranger etc. This may at first trigger discomfort, unsafety or depression, but in long term it can contribute to one's major factors such as death e.g. suicide at a young age or even possibly later on in life as well.
Then they shouldn't be on those websites. People can be cruel, if you surround yourself with cruel people some of that cruelty will be targeted at you and if you don't think you can handle it, don't put yourself in the situation where it can happen.
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Spring24
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(Original post by Clone93)
Then they shouldn't be on those websites. People can be cruel, if you surround yourself with cruel people some of that cruelty will be targeted at you and if you don't think you can handle it, don't put yourself in the situation where it can happen.
I agree, but for some they join these websites out of peer pressure or constantly wanting to follow the new trend without being unaware of the consequences, it's just after they join they perhaps realise the effects. Also at such age they always need the reassurance of being approved by others e.g. posting things and expect people to notice their posts by liking or commenting on them. They need that constant reassurance, especially if they are missing the attention they need in real life e.g. by friends, parents, even teachers motivating them at school. It's sad , but it's a reality for most whereby they feel more at home online than in real life.
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Machop
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Wow, is ''cyberbullying'' really even a big issue? Well if it is it has a fairly straightforward solution: block the users who are bothering you or better still don't sign up to any social networks in the first place and also begin to cut down the amount of time you spend on non-productive activities on the internet.
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xDave-
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(Original post by Clone93)
Okay, I tried direct and slightly offensive and it got me modded, so I'll try reasonable and less offensive. (because on this thread, much like real life everybody is nice to each other and everyone is reasonable all the time)

What does it matter if people are posting unkind comments? Does it physically injure you? No. Do you have to take them to heart? No. Do you even have to read them or acknowledge their existence? No. Being offended is a choice, no one can force anyone to be upset, it's their choice to be bothered by things. Personally I've always found attempts to upset me online to be humorous and I relish the opportunity to illustrate how little the people "cyberbullying" me mean to me by continuing with my life with only the briefest time spent to appreciate how funny it is that people think they can upset me with words on a screen.

While I admit not everyone can take everything in their stride as I do, the ability to simply ignore "abuse" online leaves no excuse for being a "victim" of cyberbullying.
Lol. It seems you can't understand. It's not restricted solely to being online, they'll bully you at school and then they'll bully you later online. You'll have no friends, no one to talk to about it; you'll be miserable. On top of that, these people are most likely going to be young. Lots of youngsters are allowed on the internet these days. You're going to tell a what, 10, 11, 12 year old to man up? Really? You're only seeing this from your point of view, you're not appreciating that people are individuals and affected by things in different ways for many different reasons. I bet if your little boy told you people had been posting horrible pictures of him on the internet, you wouldn't tell him to man up. That's laughable, but that attitude is also part of the problem.
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by Machop)
Wow, is ''cyberbullying'' really even a big issue? Well if it is it has a fairly straightforward solution: block the users who are bothering you or better still don't sign up to any social networks in the first place and also begin to cut down the amount of time you spend on non-productive activities on the internet.
Some forums don't allow you to block people.

I really don't think some of you understand. Some of us have joined social networking sites to keep in contact with friends. You also really can't stop people following you around online, etc. Regardless of whether you use a different username on each forum. (as I do)
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Machop
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(Original post by OU Student)
Some forums don't allow you to block people.

I really don't think some of you understand. Some of us have joined social networking sites to keep in contact with friends. You also really can't stop people following you around online, etc. Regardless of whether you use a different username on each forum. (as I do)
I don't think you understand how simple the solution is. The substantial majority of social network sites allow you to block people or keep your profile private. Anyone who causes you trouble, you block them, it's hardly rocket science.

If forums don't allow you to block people, just create a different username. How exactly are people going to follow you around on forums if you are using a different username each time. How the hell would they even know that it's you?

If none of these solutions work (I can't conceive of how or why they woudn't) and it's making your life so miserable, just stop using these websites all together.
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Machop
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(Original post by xDave-)
Lol. It seems you can't understand. It's not restricted solely to being online, they'll bully you at school and then they'll bully you later online. You'll have no friends, no one to talk to about it; you'll be miserable. On top of that, these people are most likely going to be young. Lots of youngsters are allowed on the internet these days. You're going to tell a what, 10, 11, 12 year old to man up? Really? You're only seeing this from your point of view, you're not appreciating that people are individuals and affected by things in different ways for many different reasons. I bet if your little boy told you people had been posting horrible pictures of him on the internet, you wouldn't tell him to man up. That's laughable, but that attitude is also part of the problem.
This thread is strictly about ''cyberbullying'', physical real life bullying is a completely different ball game altogether.
Like that other poster said, it is completely your own choice as to whether you even sign up to these social network sites in the first place and read peoples comments about you etc. If you don't have any friends, then why the hell would even be be on such sites. In the case of cyber-bullying, the victim has the ability to take full responsibility for their own well-being and by joining these websites they are voluntarily providing the medium through which they are subsequently being bullied.
They also have the option of ignoring and blocking users, logging out etc.
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xDave-
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(Original post by Machop)
This thread is strictly about ''cyberbullying'', physical real life bullying is a completely different ball game altogether.
Like that other poster said, it is completely your own choice as to whether you even sign up to these social network sites in the first place and read peoples comments about you etc. If you don't have any friends, then why the hell would even be be on such sites. In the case of cyber-bullying, the victim has the ability to take full responsibility for their own well-being and by joining these websites they are voluntarily providing the medium through which they are subsequently being bullied.
They also have the option of ignoring and blocking users, logging out etc.
It's not "a different ball game"; one rarely occurs without the other. And you've taken my example painfully literally, most kids have a few friends. Why should they be exiled from a site because people are making fun of them on there? Just because they've blocked the bullies, doesn't mean that the information can't still be relayed to them. Someone could inform them that "x said y about you". It's not hard. Should we not tackle the people on the sites who are causing the issues, rather than tell the ones who are suffering because of it that they should get lost? Well, that's rhetorical, obviously we should.
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