Bullies Take the Fight Online

Dennis Faas's picture

You can make the case that bullying never really ends. You just move from elementary to high school and onto that job where a boss demands this of you while blaming you for that. Bitter as that outlook may be, not even technology seems to be stopping bullies from carrying out their abusive behavior.

In a recent report, Reuters took a close look at technology, a sphere it deems to be the new frontier in bullying. According to U.S. researchers, nasty tykes are now leaving angry text messages, hateful emails, and conducting cyber gossip about all of their peers.

What's the big deal?

Most of us were bullied in school at some point, sure. However, it was generally a threat that began with the morning bell and ended as we stepped off the big yellow bus after a long day. However, with this new bullying style the threat has now become very mobile. It means bullies don't have to wait until Monday to intimidate kids, and it could mean that victims struggle more than ever with escaping the stress of pre-pubescent life.

As expected, these same researchers are encouraging parents and schools to work together in order to find solutions for this ever-expanding problem. "Internet bullying has emerged as a new and growing form of social cruelty," say Kirk Williams and Nancy Guerra, researchers from the University of California at Riverside. Their report was one of a series published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, collectively drawing much attention to the issue. (Source: afp.google.com)

The reports together show that there's been almost a 50 per cent growth in the number of children aged ten to seventeen who admit they've been harassed online. The total increase rocketed from 6 per cent in 2000 to 9 per cent in 2005.

Exploration of the topic has become mainstream debate with the untimely death of 13 year old Megan Meier, the American girl who took her own life after being bullied on popular social networking site MySpace. (Source: foxnews.com)

At this point, it's tough to tell what qualifies as "bullying", but judging from the reports it is any behavior that leaves kids feeling uncomfortable in their immediate surroundings.  In this case, it's made its way into their own homes.

Maybe that's what is so scary.

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