What Do We Do About Cyberbullying?Damien Moye
So yesterday, I got a response from a Geek Choice blog follower. She included an article in which she wrote about one of the biggest ills facing this young generation (Gen-Z). That ill is cyberbullying. The article asks: What do we do about cyberbullying?
First, she talks the differences between older people and young people today. Because back in our day, bullying was more in your face: playgrounds, classrooms, buses, playing in the neighborhood. I myself experienced this in my younger days. But today, with smartphones and social media, there is no escape. Because now, a child or teen can experience bullying, harassment, and stalking literally all day every day, all night every night. They don’t have a safe space like older generations once did.
She then goes on to talk about the types of cyberbullying. They include, but don’t limit: intimidation, humiliation, isolation, gossiping, sexual harassment. It also includes harassment based on race, gender, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, etc. According to many statistics, 70% of teens at least witnessed or experienced this kind of cyberbullying. I don’t have to tell you how bad this can affect people. We all see news articles about suicides and/or mass shootings that are the product of bullying. Other effects include mental illnesses like PTSD, lack of sleep, low self-worth, poor performance at school. Being bullied can lead to high risk behaviors later on in life: drug addiction, alcoholism, overeating, sexual promiscuity.
There’s an age old saying: “When you treat people like animals, then they become animals”. So the Golden Rule is true. Treat others like you want them to treat you. This includes social media and the cyber world. This includes adults too, because in many cases, we’re worse than these teen bullies are. I saw footage of a baseball game in Colorado that made me sick.
But there’s a side effect here. Let’s not be too over-sensitive. Because what I’m also seeing is political correctness on steroids. It’s getting to the point where we’re afraid to even interact with each other because, “What if we say, do, or act the wrong way? What if we offend somebody?” This kind of mentality can have just as bad of effect as being bullied can. You see it in today’s politics, media and pop culture. We can’t even agree to disagree today without being perceived as a bully. I posted something on my Facebook page: “Just because I disagree with you don’t mean I hate you. We need to relearn that in our society”. That is so true. So how do we balance these things in the IT support world and real world? What do we do about cyberbullying?