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Cyber bullying causes

4
GamerGirl
What causes people to become cyberbullies? Is it something which people just start doing or is it because something traumatic has happened in their life so they use the Internet to release anger towards others? It's strange because I have friends that are completely normal but these days I think to myself....."hmm you seem like the troll type" and that's not like me! I know there isn't a particular 'type' but I've had negative abuse posted about me in the past and that was from someone 'close' who knew my personal information. This has made me paranoid about everyone! Anyway, what do you think causes people to become cyberbullies?
2
Reflective_Joy
What a great post GAMERGIRL! I think many people are wondering this very question.

I personally think people become cyberbullies for a variety of reasons, including the ones you have just given. Traditional bullies, tend to be those that have been bullied themselves and have been through a traumatic or distressing home life. They view bullying as reclaiming a sense of power they feel they have lost.

Another type of bully, are those as you say, people you never would have imagined could be one. These individuals sometimes engage in trolling behavior because it's seen as a social status and the desire to be infamous. To them, even if its negative, they are receiving acceptance in some shape or form by either their own social group or one online that may find their posts as humorous or deserved.

I can completely understand your fear. It's hard to know who to trust. The anonymity of the internet, means those that may never have engaged in a type of behavior in person, may do so online. Your concern is valid and I think there are things we can do to minimize the chances of becoming a victim.

I find what works for me, is listening to what I call the "background noise" when engaging with friends in person or online. What I mean by that is that we should pay attention to how they talk about other people. If they can be cruel about others, then they can be cruel about you even if you are currently friends. That may not always be the case but it's good to be alert. If you do notice a negative pattern in how your friends talk about others but don't want to end those friendships, then limit how much personal information you share with these friends. I call this "customizing my boundaries." You choose what you share with whom. So it's not always about mistrusting or ending friendships but tweaking the relationship in a way that protects you.

I would also add, that people can change. So too can those boundaries. I was bullied in high school and those same bullies are now my friends. They outgrew their destructive and attention seeking behavior. So nothing has to be set in stone. As the "background noise" changes, so too can your boundaries. Remember, your gut feeling is powerful. If you feel uncomfortable sharing personal information, then don't.

You don't need to feel paranoid but view it as being cautious. Don't limit your trust but take baby steps in awarding it. The same thing applies online. Does that make sense at all?

Does anyone else have words of wisdom they can share with Gamergirl? What has worked best for you when you have felt overwhelmed by the fear you could become a victim of trolling and bullying?
1
SuperDad
I wish we knew the causes of cyberbullying because it's been the biggest problem in most parents lives for a few years now! I think it's a combination of everything that's been mentioned on this thread ranging from people being bullied themselves to maybe being the least likely people to be real world bullies and using the anonymity of the Internet to vent their frustrations. Great topic!
1
Jules92
Trolling is certainly a way for people who would not act this way in real life to become the aggressor. These people stick together and encourage each other in their quest for misery online. It is so sad and everyone needs to be aware. Caution in the keyword for staying clear of these types of people.
This is a very different type of causation than an argument or misunderstanding that spirals out of control into bullying and abusive comments. There is a real motive for trolls unlike an online tantrum with someone you know.
1
Adam
I agree with Jules, there are two very different types of behaviour. Someone who sets out to cause misery and someone who loses it, becomes abusive and possibly encourages others to join their side in bullying someone. Both are very different but it all adds up to stress and pain for the person being targeted.
The causes are complex and probably psychological, these people need all kinds of help!!
People who lash out in anger are in need of help to control their emotions and people who calmly seek out victims to target are in need of therapy!
1
TheJudge
Lack of education is a major contributor to cyberbullying. Parents need to do more as do schools. It's no longer ok for parents to assume their children will learn about cyber bullying while at school because it's shown to be untrue. Also, schools can't assume the children's parents will be teaching them either! We need more communication between schools and parents along with a desire to engage this problem rather than arguing who is responsible!