We are in the twenty-first-century. And whether we like it or not; admit it or not, we now exist in a world that largely depends on technologies and the Internet. And happiness nowadays can be defined in “bits” and bytes. The sad part of it however, it comes with a price–as there are risks involved in being online. Moreover, none of us is safe in this cyber world. Worse, justice could be elusive—damages could be so punitive—and that compensation might be next thing to impossible. Extra caution is a must!
What Constitute Cyber bullying?
According to the well-known Canadian (from Alberta) educator, Bill Besley: ‘Cyber bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell-phone, pager and text-messaging, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal Websites (such as blogs), and defamatory polling Websites–to support deliberate, repeated hostile behavior(s) by an individual or a group, and with the intention of harming others,’ (Keith et Al 2005).
And although ‘cyber bullying’ is similar in its intent to hurt others–through power and control–it is different due to the use of technologies,’ (Keith et Al 2005).
Take for example, in the very recent hacking of Sony’s databases, and allegedly by North Korea: Apparently, the root is the comedy film, the Interview (now showing in theaters in selective cinemas due to threats by the latter). As the movie humorously depicts the assassination plot of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (in such hilarious ways)—which the latter consider as an act of war.
The pricey consequence has caused Sony violated copyrights, and looming legal battles not only from its employees (whose information are all stolen), but also from Hollywood stars as well. This prompts U.S. President Barack Obama to denounce the act and confirms North Korea as the culprit (as per Federal Bureau of Investigation). And that the Chief Executive assures sanctions against North Korea (but refuses to give specific due to tactical and security reasons).
Regardless, I can’t believe that up to now, the perpetrators continue to harass theater owners here. It’s frustrating because we are in America. Democracy is our religion. North Korea can ban the film, but to continue harassing Sony and the theater owners–just because someone don’t know what humor means—or could not take a joke —that does not sound right at all. With such attitude, is Mr. Un fit to be a leader? I don’t think so. Yes, he can act like a god in his own dungeon, but please, not in the United States. Because this is a civilized country, united by the truest essence of liberty. Free speech is not a privilege, but our rights.
Blogging since 2006, I experienced stalking once; I was bullied several times; I encountered countless of con artists; but I survived. At some point, I was affected. However, overtime I learned to adapt and embrace the invaluable lessons:
(1) To keep in mind cyber bullies are but virtual.
(2) To stay away from any “vexations” to the spirit (thanks to Desiderata);
(3) To write what matters, and what matters to me—are all that should matters to me and my blogs.
Bottom line, cyber bullies are as distorted as their thoughts. They’re desperate for attention—and the dose, is simply to ignore.
In the real world though, if someone does us harm, we can easily go to the authorities and assert our legal rights to stop any offensive act; and/or, to file claim and compensation for the damages we endured. Sadly, via the World Wide Web—such rule does not easily nor readily applies. This is because there is no common law that governs and binds all countries (neither of course, us, their citizens), nor a common ground (such as court) that can bring a cyber bullying case into justice. If ever there is any, or there would be any, litigation could be expensive; extensive and exhausting.
Finally, recent surveys are showing cyber bullying is a pervasive problem in the society. In fact, reports on its prevalence and victimization results to cyber bullying increasing yearly. Moreover, its grim impact–personally–to victims may include physical injuries, and self-inflicted harms (such as suicide, caused by depression and low self-esteem), drug addiction and an increased use of alcohol.
Bullying is hostility. Cyber bullying is real and it’s happening. It’s insidious. It’s violence. It can happen to anyone of us. Worse, the bullies can act anonymously, even innocently. Some bullies online are dysfunctional groups of people acting and misbehaving as a group—beware! Some cyber bullies even have mental and psychological conditions–be vigilant! There is a very thin border line between being analytical, critical and purely psychotic–it is best to know the difference. Most importantly, it is empirical to learn how to protect ourselves, and how to respond (or not to respond) if we encounter one. Please blog safe, and be wise!
1.Dılmaç, B. (2009). Psychological Needs as a Predictor of Cyber bullying: a Preliminary Report On College Students. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 9(3), 1307-1325.
2.Keith, S., & Martin, M. E. (2005). Cyber-Bullying: Creating a Culture of Respect in a Cyber World. Reclaiming Children & Youth, 13(4), 224-228.
3.West, B. R. Rhemy (2013, October 31). Bullies Who Hide Behind a Screen. Newcastle Herald, The (includes the Central Coast Herald). p. 38.