Cyberbullying

The past few days I have been riveted to a saga on this micro blogging site I signed up for. I am not sure if it is popular in other parts of the world, most of the bloggers there seem to be from Southeast Asia.

What happened was that one of the more popular bloggers, let’s call him A,  went on a trip a reasonably faraway place with his wife, toddler, infant and parents and blogged about how difficult it was travel with young children/infants. One of the other bloggers, let’s call her B,  with children similar ages as that blogger and who does not live in this continent commented  that it was not too difficult, especially since in Asia you had access to help (parents, live-in helpers etc) which she apparently didn’t have.

This happened early in the month of July I guess. Then sometime in the middle of the month, the blogger’s wife, let’s call her C, apparently a popular blogger herself (apparently since I had not heard of her before joining this site) and one who makes a living blogging herself wrote a post on her blog, calling out B out in her blog in a very passive aggressive way – not naming names, but with enough details that her followers, many of whom also are on the micro blogging site, recognized who B was.

Then it started – a lot of the bloggers started calling out B and it degenerated to a lot of name calling, which was awful to read. People who supported B also were called names, which given that quite a few of the name callers are supposedly respected bloggers who make a living through blogging and have a lot clients whom they blog about. The irony was that A to whom the original comment was intended to has kept silent completely. C responded once and I understand from B’s posts that she reached out to C through email to apologise.

This whole incident has left a bad taste in my mouth. This is simply a case of Cyberbullying. According to Wikipedia , Cyberbullying is the harming or harassing via information technology networks in a repeated and deliberate manner. According to U.S. Legal Definitions, “cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them”

What was a non-incident has been blown up unnecessarily and made people take camps. While I have not yet commented on this in the micro blogging site, I decided to post here, mostly because this is something many of us may have experienced.  So if a person posts comments which may not be to your liking (maybe showing a hint of crack in the perfect life you potray on social media), does that mean, you and maybe your friends start bullying the person who posted the comment? Most of the people who commented negatively against B were those who were not involved – just friends of A & C. Where does the line end?

I am now seriously worried for my kids as teens are supposed to be experts at Cyberbullying. I need to educate them over the school holidays on the perils of posting online, especially since they now move out the secure primary school environs and more to a more socially aware and social media dominated environment that is secondary school.

More information on Cyberbullying, escpecially in relation to children and teen cyberbullying can be found here, here and here.

The internet never forgets, what you post anywhere will stay on forever – even if you delete it….

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