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Don't Let The Cyber-Bullies Grind You Down
The issue of internet bullying is a live one in both schools and colleges. Not doing it is your first obligation. But what if it happens to you?
Emma O'Brien, 13 Sep 2012
Now more than ever, social media is an everyday part of people’s lives, particularly teens and young adults. We live in an age where it is possible to keep in touch with anyone and everyone via the internet, with family and friends, colleagues and connections being constantly, almost immediately accessible.
Wonderful and all as this communications revolution has been in so many ways, this ongoing accessibility leaves individuals vulnerable to a specific breed of less appealing internet users who, it frequently seems, are interested only in harassment and ‘trolling’ – which, for the uninitiated, means posting inflammatory, insulting or degrading comments about someone online, often entirely irrespective of whether they are true or not.
Just as in secondary school, bullying is rife within third-level education. It may or may not be as utterly blatant as a scrap behind the school shed at 4pm. Nonetheless, it’s there, particularly online. As we become more dependent on social media sites for our ‘human’ interaction, we come into contact with people who we know personally, people we’re acquainted with and people we don’t know at all. In this environment, a lot of us ignore jibes or insults via social media sites, or we shrug it off, thinking it’s not something that should taken too seriously. Unfortunately, however, this is exactly the attitude that can lead to thiings getting out of hand.
My personal experience of internet bullying occurred when a classmate, who had received some criticism for a flaky, ill-informed article he had written, decided – without any foundation whatsoever – that I was the person behind an online ‘trolling’ incident regarding the article.
It wasn’t the worst kind of bullying, by any stretch of the imagination, but in a way it was a textbook example of what the anonymous nature of a lot of comment on the internet, and the freedom to abuse others – whether under aliases or not – that people assume in the virtual world, can