According to Wikipedia: “Cyberbullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner.”
“Teens are out of control,”
“How could they do that?”
“When will it stop?”
There is this confidence that possesses us when we get behind a computer screen. This anonymity and invincibility, that no matter what we do, we are untouchable. If someone does something that we don’t agree with, what do we do? We post it on Facebook, with screenshots, and or go to our blog and blast that person, rather than talking to them directly, privately. We let ALL of our friends know one side of the story our side, so they can judge and attack that person. Sometimes we “take the high ground” and don’t mention the name of the person, but we give enough of the story so it doesn’t matter, everyone will know who we are talking about. Just remember, there are three sides to every story, you side, their side, and the truth.
This behavior isn’t limited to teenagers, and in recent months I’ve witnessed too many instances where grown adults are cyber bullying others. If you target someone online, and maliciously attack them, that is cyber bullying. Unless they have done something to you personally, what ever happened between them and someone else is none of your business. Part of bully behavior is ganging up on someone. Blasting someone because they offended your friend is not only unnecessary but rude.
People make mistakes. Standing up for what is right is completely different than crucifying someone for errors. People will attack you for no reason, that doesn’t mean you have to gather all your friends and return the favor. I don’t know about you, but I want to teach my children to be kind, gracious, forgiving, and generous. How can we do that if we don’t lead by example. I’m not saying let people walk all over you, if you are being harassed, report and block the person. You will feel 100% better not seeing the negativity. It’s exhausting to be a miserable person. It sucks all of your energy. It’s so not worth it! I decided a long time ago, that I would not surround myself with negative, dishonest people. I’ve had to walk away from a lot of friendships that weren’t healthy for me. But I feel like a stronger positive person in doing so.
I’ve been composing this post in my head for close to a month now. If we continue to idly stand by and allow people in our industry, (writers, publicists, bloggers and publishers) an industry that I LOVE, to behave this way, we are condoning it. Over time, it’s not going to be the happy community it is now. This needs to be said and we need to stop ignoring it. It is an issue not just in high school.
This is going on in everyday life. It starts with you and me.