FOUR REASONS WHY PEOPLE CYBER-BULLY
What moves people to Cyber-bullying? The person who bullies probably doesn’t even know, right? Different people have different reasons. Sometimes knowing what motivates a person to do something helps bring about ways to stop them from doing it.
According to www.stopcyberbullying.org, below are the top four reasons people bully online. Each one is followed by questions to think about according to if you are the person doing the bullying or the person affected by it.
1. Revenge. In this case, people who bully feel they are righting wrongs or protecting other people. Usually these people do not see themselves as bullies. They can be trying to protect a friend or attempting to get back at someone who was mean to them.
Although protecting yourself is key, seeking revenge will only continue the negative cycle. Becoming a bully, even when you have been bullied is not the solution.
If you cyber-bully: What’s up? Why are you seeking revenge on another person? No matter what they may have done to “deserve it” in your mind, why would you want to act as badly as they did and be like them? List two reasons why you think seeking revenge is right. List two alternatives to the revenge instead.
If you are the victim: Being bullied feels terrible. How could you handle it differently in the future to create a different outcome? What can you do to change the situation going forward? Also, what will help you to recover from the whole thing? These questions are meant to elicit a sense of control when you may be feeling completely out of control. Regain control and prepare yourself so the person who bullies no longer targets you.
2. Power. In this case, people who bully are trying to show others how powerful they are. They want to make others do what they want and have control over them. They want others to be fearful of them. Often this is because in the off-line world, they have been bullied or victimized themselves. On-line, they can yield power that they don’t really have in the real world, such as if they feel smaller than someone or different in a way they can’t manage. These people sometimes tell others about what they have done in an effort to gain some kind of power status.
If you are the bully: Be real with yourself. Do you recognize yourself in the description above? Which part and why? How else in your life can you feel empowered without hurting others?
If you are the victim: Try to step out of the situation for a moment and see what is actually happening. Is this about a person who feels so powerless that he or she needs to control someone or something? If that is the case, see it for what it is: NOT ABOUT YOU. As such, don’t let it be about you or let it affect you. Seek the support of your friends and family and perhaps even brainstorm with them ways you can make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else.
3. Entertainment. Sadly, some people find bullying others entertaining. They think embarrassing others is funny. Usually these people Cyber-bully in groups, such as at a slumber party, or on a sports team outing. Having an audience is part of what makes this type of Cyber-bully fun. These bullies need to get a grip on what good entertainment is! (Perhaps they need to read “Outlets of Expression” in our books.)
If you are part of this bully group: Can you feel your emotions shift as you participate in the behavior? What are you getting out of it? An adrenaline rush that feels good and empowering? Would you do the same if you weren’t in a group? What does that say about your moral code? What about the intended target? What if that was you, a sibling of yours or a close friend? What about your level of empathy? Do you have any? Do you think it’s important to have any empathy? What is it? Define it.
If you are the victim: Having a group of people hurt you probably feels worse than just one person, but try to take comfort in the weakness factor – these people need each other to find confidence to, well,… be jerks, basically. That’s sad. And we know that saying “sad” is a judgment, so you come up with your own words for it. What words would you choose?
4. Stupidity. Did we really just write that? Stupidity in this case means being unaware of your actions. Bullies in this category just respond to emails and postings without thinking, and thus, often inadvertently hurt other people. They click before they think. Do you think before you hit send? Do you write emails while frustrated or angry? Make sure you don’t fall into this category. After all, you are on this site because you are smart and aware, right? 😉
If you are the stupid bully: Then we just called you a name, which is wrong, and we doubt there is anyone out there willing to raise their hand and shout, “Yeah, that’s me, I’m the stupid bully.” So, actually, we think a better word is “careless” and these “careless” mistakes can lead to bullying behavior, or maybe just feel like it to the other person. The intention may not have been there. When you email or text someone, make sure you know what you wish to convey and then make sure your writing conveys it. If not, then don’t click. Pick up the phone!
If you are on the side of the victim: First, is the message that upset you from someone who otherwise is not a bully? Was there a miscommunication? Nip it in the bud. Pick up the phone and deal. Why add drama to your life?
Second, if this message is from someone you think is just a stupid bully, then don’t take it personally, right? What about the message truly reflects who you are? Does the message reflect more on the person sending it? Can you see a difference?
Post Question: Did you see yourself in any of the questions listed above? What did you discover?