15 Sep Reasons people cyber-bully
What motivates people to cyber-bully? 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 many sources, below are varied reasons why people bully online. Each one is followed by questions to think about if you are the person doing the cyber-bullying or the person affected by it – the victim.
1. Revenge. In this case, people who cyber-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 cyber 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.
2. Power. In this case, people who cyber 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.
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 cyber bullying others entertaining. They think embarrassing others is funny. Usually these people cyber-bully in groups, like a group of “mean girls”, or on a sports team outing. Having an audience is part of what makes this type of cyber-bullying fun. The tough part about a group mentality is that no one feel comfortable standing up to the “leader” of the group. As such, the bullying can get taken waaayyy too far. When someone truly wants to do the right thing and stand up against cuber-bullying, doing so in a group setting is harder, but someone needs to do it.
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? Would you do the same if you weren’t in a group? What does that say about your moral code? Consider the target: What if the group was doing this to you, a sibling of yours or a close friend?
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. Ignorance. Ignorance means being unaware of something, in this case it would be your actions. Being unaware of how your actions might affect someone is not an excuse. Bullies who are ignorant just respond to emails and postings without thinking, and often inadvertently (meaning unintentionally) 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 do stuff out of ignorance. After all, you are on this site because you are aware, right? 😉
If you are being ignorant: Another word for this would be “careless.” These “careless” online 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 (meaning to make known) and then make sure your writing conveys it. If not, then don’t click. Pick up the phone and call!
If you are the victim: First, is the message that upset you from someone who otherwise is not considered a bully? Was there a miscommunication? Nip it in the bud. Pick up the phone and talk. Why add drama to your life?
Second, if this message is from someone you think is just being ignorant and careless, then don’t take it personally. Don’t let someone else’s ignorance affect your beliefs about yourself or your mood.
Did you see yourself in any of the questions listed above? What did you discover?