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Cyberbullying: An Expose

30 Sep


Cyberbullying is one of the hottest topics in our society right now. Teens all over the globe are taking their own lives because of it, laws are being introduced everywhere to try and halt it and society’s are being created to bring awareness to it’s existence. You can’t be on the internet without having at least heard of it. As adults we are supposed to be monitoring our children’s internet usage, keeping tabs on their buddy list, keep the computer in the open. We are supposed to teach them not to respond to threatening messages, never open messages from people you don’t know and we stress that if you wouldn’t say it in public to someone, don’t say it on the internet to them either.

Why am I writing about this?…Let’s back up.

About 7 months ago I wrote a very angry post about the way I was being treated by a particular group of women. It got a lot of attention and is still my most popular post to date. Apparently, it is still a hot button issue for a few. If you’re a twitter follower you may have noticed there was one particular ‘identity’ who felt there was still unfinished business there.

The conversation went like this:
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The first comment caught me off guard and I found myself wanting to explain and defend myself. So I clicked on this particular profile to see if there was a connection between us or why this particular person was so obviously upset with me. Once I opened that profile, I knew this was a hoax. This person had 4 tweets in their whole existence on twitter and they were all directed at me.

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This account was started solely for the purpose of communicating with me. There was one other tweet asking how they could put up a profile pic, but that was it. Innocent enough, right? Hold on. Back in June, there was another profile that was again only being used to tweet to myself. It was weird. They didn’t appear to have any connection with me yet it felt very personal. And they had no profile pic. They were obviously hiding and I didn’t have time for that. I immediately blocked them and thought nothing more of it. Perhaps the point of this new account wanting to put up a profile pic was in effort to seem less anonymous and less chance I would block them before they got a chance to say their bit this time.

I decided to go back and check on that first account that I have previously blocked and imagine my surprise when I saw a tweet there, again directed at me. I am assuming they realized they were blocked by me at that time. So, is it really coincidence that this new account pops up attacking me in a similar way? When I woke in the morning to go back in and take a screen shot of the first account and our conversation, it had mysteriously disappeared. A day after I had unblocked them, they pulled the account.

Another thing that I found very odd was that both of these accounts were not following me directly. They were taking the time to log in and search me out on a daily basis. They wanted to keep hidden and have the fact that they were following me unknown.

I decided to google cyberbullying and see if this fit the profile. A definition I got from Stopcyberbullying.org for “Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.” After further exploration, it was explained that cyberbullying can only be called that if it involves minors. Once it involves adults it is considered cyber harrassment or cyber stalking.

Some will argue that I basically did the same thing with that original post. The difference there is that I never sought out an individual to attack, I have my name publicly attached to all the words written in that post and I never named any one person in that post. I simply wrote what I was feeling at that time, on my own personal blog, from my perspective.

The disclaimer at the bottom of many of my post is “the ideas expressed here are my own and only my own“. Perhaps that post needed that disclaimer as well.

So while this particular case is not actually considered ‘cyberbullying’, had this exact situation happened to my daughter, and it easily could have, it would be. What it is considered is Cyber-harrassment. Creating anonymous accounts to say things to individuals that you wouldn’t say to their face or to them online without your real name attached is not OK whether you are 12 or 32.

If we truly want to make a change in society, we need to be the example. This can’t be one of the “do as I say, not as I do” situations.

Because when you harrass someone online everyone sees.

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One Response to “Cyberbullying: An Expose”

  1. El Guapo September 30, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    Doesn’t sound like a good situation at all.
    Have you tried athering them (singly, or all together) and asking what the problem is to try and clear the air?
    And if another twitter egg comes after you, not doing anything but tweeting at you, tell them how honored you are that you are the sole reason for their twitter existence.
    At least they’ll see that they’re being obvious.

    And maybe then for a better cover, they’ll participate in twitter and be distracted by the pantslessness of it all…

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