Nearly one in three teenagers who use the Internet say they have been harassed online by “cyberbullies” who spread rumors, post embarrassing pictures, make private conversations public and even send threatening messages.
“Bullying has entered the digital age,” the Pew Internet & American Life Project stated this week
I always love stories like this. I remember this story being reported year after year after year. Nary a year doesn’t go by since the average person discovered the internet that ridiculous stories like this aren’t repeated. Ridiculous because they’re false? No ridiculous because they’re cliches. Blatant, stupid and silly cliches.
Bullying exists wherever kids are. If kids hang out at the mall, there will be bullying there. If they hang out online, there will be bullying there. Bullying is what kids do to each other. Where kids go bullying follows. It didn’t happen last week or last year. This was the way it always was.
Now what this story additionally suffers from the usual misapplied terminology. Simply calling anyone who says nasty things to you online a bully is stupid, ignorant and wrong. It’s like describing every finger raised in traffic as road rage. The reality is your average kids will say nasty things to each other. Does that make them cyberbullies?
If we’re to make up the phony term, cyberbully, then we can actually limit it to the same meaning as a real world bully, namely it’s a pattern of behavior rather than just kids being kids.