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June 28, 2015

KVR Gaming Feature: Why Do Cyberbullies...Cyberbully?

Hello again everyone. I've decided to take a bit of a different approach from last time, instead asking a very difficult yet important question: Why do Cyberbullies do what they do?

Definition:

There are many different ways people describe bullies. One of the most surprising facts is that, according to Merriam-Webster, "bully" was actually an informal term for a "sweetheart" or a "fine chap".

The current definition is "someone who uses strength and force to intimidate others, especially those weaker than them". Remember this definition. A bully is not someone who hurts your pride, who embarrasses you, or someone who once sent you a hurtful remark and doesn't do it again.

No, a bully is someone who purposefully tries to control and dominate you through hurtful remarks, demands, manipulation, and so on. Bullying is about control, plain and simple. For now, we'll focus on Cyberbullying specifically.

The definition of Cyberbullying is "the use of cellphones and electronic media to bully a person, typically by sending intimidating or threatening messages".

Factors:

It's a well-known fact bullying often comes from kids from broken homes, and are often victims of bullying/abuse themselves. With Cyberbullying, things are a little more complicated.

If you've been around the internet enough, you may have noticed how easily people hurl nasty remarks at others, especially when it's something the person in question would never say in real-life without significant provocation, especially due to fear of embarrassment or social alienation.

This is often the case with Cyberbullying, as the person in question may not come from a broken home at all, but will still send threatening and demeaning remarks to a person regardless. 

This is where the scariest aspect of Cyberbullying comes in: Anyone can become one if given the right circumstances. Now, before you run off and have a mental breakdown, or scoff at my wild claim, please note that if you have a sensitivity towards hurting people and see the other people online as equal human beings, you probably won't end up being a Cyberbully.

Nevertheless, always be vigilant and aware of your own words online, and be sure to phrase things in a clear way to avoid confusion and unintentionally hurting someone else...who may decide to make you their target for Cyberbullying.

Which leads directly into one of the factors for Cyberbullying in my own research: Revenge. Cyberbullies may aim their hatred towards targets they think "deserve" to be bullied, such as a person who hurt their friends or even themselves. 

Another factor for Cyberbullying is the same as regular bullying: Power. Cyberbullies love feeling like they are in charge and want to express their dominance over "inferiors" like their victims.

The third factor is discrimination. Sadly, racism and homophobia abound on the internet, so cyberbullies may feel like they have a right to express their hatred towards such groups of people. On the other hand, Cyberbullying could also be directed towards such people in return, such as a supporter of gay rights choosing to consistently attack someone who opposes their ideals.

The fourth factor is humour. Believe it or not, some cyberbullies may find it funny to cause other people distress. Victims are often chosen for their outlandish reactions, supposedly hilarious outbursts, and overall sense of desperation in the face of hurtful remarks. 

The fifth and final factor is religion. Cyberbullies may harass, control, and attempt to forcibly convert other people online through their actions. Cyberbullies may also give incredibly hurtful lectures on how "sinful" a person is, unknowingly causing a lot of harm to one's psyche.

Solutions: The solution to any of these problems is to take a step back and analyse your own behaviour before you comment, message or communicate with a person. Is it what you're trying to say really necessary? Is trying to get someone back going to solve anything? Do you have subdue others with words in order to feel powerful or in control? Would the person find your seemingly innocent joke really funny, or would the joke trigger negative memories for them?

Lastly, would Christ really approve of you trying to dominate someone else with your beliefs? Using the Bible to control and bully others? To attack people for having opposing ideals from you, when the Bible clearly says to "love thine enemies"?

I'll leave the answer to any of these questions up to you.

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