15 Sep Bonus YSS: Are you a cyber-bully?
Seriously, are you a cyber-bully?
We’d like to think you’d say “NO!” to this question. To make sure you are a cyber-friend, and not a person who bullies online, take a quick quiz below. How many of the following can you honestly admit to doing: (Hey, be real with yourself, or no one else will be.)
• used someone else’s password in a harmful way, or without their knowledge/permission
• posted pictures or comments on someone’s site without their consent
• sent an email from someone else’s account pretending to be that person
• changed a message and then forwarded it to embarrass someone or get them into trouble
• forwarded a private email
• forwarded an email that you knew could make someone upset
• created an Internet poll about someone without their consent
• sent scary messages (even if you think it’s funny, the other person may not)
• sent rude or mean messages (same rule applies, you may not think it’s rude or mean, but can you honestly say the other person felt the same?)
• pretended to be someone else
• insulted someone in an interactive game room
• hacked into someone else’s computer
• taken an Internet poll that could hurt someone’s feelings
For every one that you could check off (and thanks for the honesty, btw), answer the simple (but, oh-so-very-complicated) question:
Understanding why is a both a monumental and simple task: monumental because there are so many different reasons that may cause a person to cyberbully: jealous, a misinterpreted look, a social slight, a bump in the hallway, revenge, boredom… you name it. So many different things can trigger it. That’s the monumental part.
The simple part is that no matter what the trigger, no matter what the situational cause, cyberbullying or any type of mean behavior in general all stems from a lack of emotion awareness and management.
The above actions have something in common – you are going out of your way to cause hurt to another person. The post, “Reasons Why People Cyber-bully” provides explanations, but at the bottom of all of these reasons is the mishandling of emotions – emotions that you may not even be aware of! So hey, you can cut yourself some slack on that part. But, no matter what, being intentionally mean to another person is just not okay.
Think about this situation: Rob is angry that the kid he can’t stand in school, for whatever reason, made the basketball team over Rob. So Rob decides to cyber-bully this kid in order to get back at him.
The break down of this is:
Rob is angry that he didn’t make the team.
Rob isn’t aware of why he doesn’t like this kid originally.
Combined, that leads Rob to choose a course of action that is mean-spirited.
This means Rob is not connecting his emotions with his actions.
Rob is not feeling empathy for what this kid is about to experience and feel once Rob begins to cyber-bully him.
Our emotions drive our behaviors. Rob feels slighted which makes him feel angry and so he is directing his anger at this kid. But if Rob were more aware of his emotions he might be capable of saying, “I’m angry. I wanted to make that team. And because I am angry, I am thinking of doing something that is mean to a kid who, even though I don’t like him, it’s not his fault that I didn’t make the team. He didn’t intentionally hurt me. He just tried out for the team just like I did.”
If Rob were capable of saying all that, his response might be to manage his emotions in some other way – like shooting some baskets! LOL. But because his thoughts are accusing and mean (I hate that kid. He doesn’t deserve to be on that team, I do!), Rob is going to choose a behavior that is not ethically okay. Because Rob’s thoughts are accusing and mean, and because he’s not aware of his feelings, Rob is choosing to bully. Remember, thoughts and feelings interact and they drive behaviors. When you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, you can choose what to do with them, and hopefully you will choose to manage them well, rather than take them out on other people like Rob did!